Here’s a picture of it:
As you can plainly see, it’s a very spiffy board. (As you can also plainly see, just as I was about to snap the pic, Benny noticed I was doing Something Interesting and had to investigate.) I have some recollection of receiving the board as a gift but am embarrassed to admit I’ve forgotten from whom. (Maybe I’ll find out when/if they read this.)
I learned to play cribbage as a child by watching my father play with relatives, friends, and the salesmen who visited our furniture store. I played Dad in practice games and he exhibited the same patience he did while fishing. In my opinion, it’s the best two-handed card game in the world.
An early, and fond memory is of whupping my Uncle Walter in a game or two when I was about seven years old. We were playing at my grandparent’s home during one of the regular family get-togethers.
I was pretty excited. We were playing for money -- a nickel a game, a dime a skunk. (To be skunked in cribbage is to lose by more than 30 points.) I’d never played for money before and was pretty nervous. Most likely because I didn’t have a nickel, let alone a whole dime.
It didn’t seem to matter however, as I could do no wrong. If, in one hand, I only had seven points, poor Uncle Walter would only have four. Occasionally, other relatives would pass by to watch and kibbitz.
More than once, Uncle Val would look at Uncle Walter’s cards and say something like, “Why the heck are you keeping those?”
Uncle Walter would shush him and say he knew what he was doing.
I was too focused on my own cards to pay much attention to his. All I knew was that a couple of games later, I was deliriously happy and 10 cents richer.
I had beaten an adult at cribbage!
It took a decade or two for me to come to the realization that Uncle Walter let me win. As the years passed, I would think about that day now and again. I realized that he taught me an extremely important life lesson - that you don’t have to win to be a winner.
Uncle Walter must be in his 80s now. He and Aunt Jan moved to Nova Scotia about 20 years ago and I haven’t seen them since. We email now and again though, and a while ago I reminded him of the story I just told. Finding that spiffy board prompted me to pass the story along.
Thanks Uncle Walter. You’re a good man. I hope to get out to see you some day soon. I’ll be a good sport and give you a chance to win your dime back.
Those of you who can’t get enough of Benny stories and pictures really should check out Hilary’s blog regularly. She posts more often than I do and often about things we’ve done together. Recently, she’s told of our trip to the cottage and other adventures, replete with pictures, videos and darn good commentary. Check it out at: http://thesmittenimage.blogspot.com/
Here’s a shot of Benny I took a couple of weeks ago at the cottage. After a full day of eating waves and gnawing sticks, he contemplates tomorrow’s mischief.