My very first encounter with the board game Trivial Pursuit was during a gathering of cousins around Grandma Elizabeth’s kitchen table on the farm up in Kandiyohi County.
My older cousins Kelly and Chris were so smart, they knew the answers to just about every question written on those small, rectangular cards. At one point, the less gullible cousins went so far as to accuse them of memorizing all of the answers … after all, the board game did belong to them.
From that day on, I longed to have my own Trivial Pursuit game. How much fun it was to be quizzed on such things as, “Which famous actor married Nancy Davis?” and “What Major League Baseball player nicknamed his bat, ‘Black Betsy’?” (By the way, the answers are Ronald Reagan and Babe Ruth.)
A year ago, I found the “Best of Genus” edition on the clearance shelf of a local store. I couldn’t resist … I had to have it.
So on Saturday night, with my sister-in-law visiting the family farm with the kids, we pulled out Trivial Pursuit and faced off at the dining room table.
She warned me she wasn’t any good at trivia, and I said, “Don’t worry … it’ll be fun!”
Half an hour later, I had none of those colorful pieces in my little plastic pie. She had two.
While the boxes aren’t marked, I’d say she was asking questions from the “difficult” box and I was asking questions from the “less difficult” box. I’m not making excuses here, I’m just saying … well … I think she had the luck of the draw.
Eventually, we fudged the playing rules and stopped moving our pie plate around the board. We pulled out the cards, scanned for the easiest questions in the color categories still needed and managed to eventually crown a winner. It wasn’t me.
Actually, I’d dare to say neither one of us really “won” at Trivial Pursuit that night. We finished the game both feeling like a couple of stupid people! In our defense, the questions were really, really challenging.
Wallowing in self-pity after my loss, I brought out the deck of Old Maid cards. Now here’s a game I’m pretty good at … and don’t you dare think it’s because of my unmarried status … I am not old!
I’ll admit that my opponents were the 8-year-old and 9-year-old nephews, but does age really matter?
Old Maid has been a favorite card game in my family ever since my three brothers and I were little kids. Our deck of cards was so mangled from the hours spent passing around the ugly Old Maid card to unsuspecting opponents.
For those unfamiliar with the game, it features one Old Maid card and doubles of every other card in the deck. You get rid of your hand by making matches, and the one left holding the Old Maid loses the game.
It’s great entertainment playing with the nephews, who can’t help but giggle, fidget or make distorted facial expressions when they get their hands on the card featuring the old, gray-haired woman.
On Saturday night, Round 1 went something like this: The Old Maid card was dealt to me, but I sat quietly as nephews Zach and Blake each accused the other of having the Old Maid card. I put it in the center of my fanned out cards and within a couple of plays, the card was in Zach’s collection.
My exuberant reaction let Blake know that the Old Maid had been handed off, much to Zach’s dismay!
Zach took his cards under the table, shuffled them this way and that, and reappeared with a fanned-out display for Blake.
Wouldn’t you know, Blake plucked the Old Maid card and ended up losing the game.
In Round 2, Zach started out with Old Maid, passed it on to Blake, who then passed it on to me.
By then, I had just one card left so I took the cards under the table, gave them a studious glance and turned the Old Maid card upside down in my hand. The reason … over time, the kids have tried to alert themselves to the Old Maid card by bending the corners.
And, over the years, I’ve tried to counteract the cheating by bending the corners on every other card in the deck.
By flipping the Old Maid upside down, it appeared the corners were in fairly good shape compared to the corners on the other card I was holding.
Naturally, Zach took the bait and ended up with the Old Maid! And, obviously, I had to celebrate my cunning ability to win at a game of cards with a “woot woot!,” a clap of the hands and a “Na na na boo boo, I beat you!”
Yeah, I don’t act my age all of the time … so what! That’s why I’m their favorite auntie.