The Games of Our Youth

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Long ago, but not so far away, there were no televisions, no computers and no cell phones. What did people do in their spare time? Well, a lot of them played games — face-to-face, up close and personal — no electronics needed. I learned to play twiddle winks, marbles, pick-up sticks and jacks from my mother. She grew up with six brothers and five sisters so believe you me, she knew how to play. I am still amazed how she could pick up all ten jacks on just one bounce!

Games that Stand the Test of Time

When I got a little older my daddy taught me to play checkers. We always had an old worn out board sitting out and of course I lost nearly all the time, but that didn’t matter. I was playing with my daddy. We laughed. We talked. We just enjoyed one another’s company.

When my kids were growing up, daddy kept a checker board on the front porch table. They loved playing checkers with him. When the great-grandkids came along, they also loved to play. There were a few fusses but they didn’t last long and they’d clear the board and start again with a new game.

When I was a teenager, my parents visited a lot with an older couple from church. They loved to play dominoes. They’d “shoot the moon” and laugh the whole time. Once in a while they’d let me play. We’d sit around Gracie and Floyd’s kitchen table and hope we were counting right. I can still smell the coffee maker going at full force and hear the dominoes clicking against the Formica table top.

Card Games are Lots of Fun!

My kids loved to play card games. We started out with “Go Fish” when they were small. Then it was “Old Maid” as they got older. And who hasn’t played “Slap Jack” and “Rummy”? Most older people still love to play card games. While I’ve never played Canasta or Bridge, many older people love to play those two favorites.

A Good Memory is Optional

Older people grew up playing games with each other. It’s no wonder why so many love to play bingo! While working at an assisted living in the memory care, bingo was the seniors’ favorite activity. It was a time to be together and have a good time. Some had a lot of trouble remembering to look down at their card. I’d just sit them next to me and help them a bit. No one really complained unless the one helped won the candy that round.

Let’s get Physical

It might be hard to play “kick the can” inside a house or assisted living, but when I’d bring out the beach ball, even the seniors who seldom joined enjoyed getting a turn to kick the big bright ball. Most of them had to sit and kick, but that didn’t matter. They had fun and they got a little exercise.

The Best Medicine

Smiles and laughter were always a part of every game I’ve ever played with my parents, my children and the seniors I worked with. Being together to talk and laugh is the best medicine you can hope for at any age. How long has it been since you played a game? Get out those cards and have some fun!

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