What’s Your Deal?

Is anyone up for a game of cards? Sure, count me in!

I never thought I’d be so eager to play cards. But lately, it seems like the thought of socializing while playing some kind of rummy, Uno, or other equally “silly” game, is quite appealing. I’m not sure why, but I really enjoy the lightheartedness of it all. Perhaps it’s a reprieve from the daily barrage of negativity in the news, some relief from the world’s gloom and doom. Maybe it is because the last couple of years have really changed how we socialize. Gone are the days when we’d sit for a few hours, share a meal, drink some wine (lots of wine!) and talk. Well, they’re not gone, but they seem to happen less often. In my opinion, at least. People are more selective with their spare time, and many are still hesitant to socialize indoors. And for a few months each year, the cold winter temperatures and wind make it difficult to socialize outside in Saskatchewan.

When I retired, my circle of friends changed considerably. I didn’t have as much in common with those who were still employed, and I met many new people while pursuing activities that I didn’t have time for while working. Making new friends gets more challenging as you get older. After all, we are all pretty set in our ways and have our own beliefs and opinions about things, so we aren’t really looking to change. We meet new people and don’t always share the same lived experiences or upbringing. When you’re running around a pickleball court or trying to keep up in a learning activity, it’s difficult to tell if you’ll get along with someone on a deeper level. As I get older, I’m more inclined to keep my innermost thoughts off limits to most people, other than family and a couple of special friends. And that suits me just fine. We need those friends to share a laugh with and just have fun. No obligation. But don’t forget, we still need those friends who, how does the saying go, know all about us but like us anyway? It’s figuring out who is who that can be difficult, albeit exciting. Playing cards is a great icebreaker and chances are the conversation won’t move too quickly to anything serious. That would just kill the buzz, right? There’s a time and place for everything and talking about the latest idiotic move by your provincial government isn’t a great subject to broach in the middle of a game of Uno. Instead, you can pretend to be a profiler and get to know a lot about a person by watching how they react when playing cards. It’s surprising to see the competitive spirit of some, the short tempers, the…oh, that’s just me. Right!

Card games, board games, and puzzles are making a comeback. Thanks to the pandemic, sales of family/adult games were up in 2020 by 20%. Stuck at home, people needed a way to detox from digital entertainment, so they turned to what they knew best. (I bought my Mahjong set right at the start of the pandemic, and it proved to be a great investment in just a few months.) Retro games were an overnight sensation. They provided quick relief to a bad situation and didn’t require a lot of thought. It’s like riding a bike, right? Furthermore, the rules are usually available online, so all you need are the basic game pieces and a deck of cards. In most cases, it doesn’t even matter how many people you have.

A good game of cards with friends has more going for it than you may think. Sure, we use our brain a lot more in some games, such as Mahjong, Chess, Backgammon, Bridge, Cribbage, etc., but other games also make you fire up that frontal cortex. Hahaha, even keeping score is a brain exercise, as I discovered the other night while playing Farmers Rummy with my husband. He finally told me to use the calculator on my phone. Oops. I forgot about that!

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt,

just how we play the game.” – Randy Pausch

Playing cards doesn’t just improve your math skills. A good game will improve patience and concentration. It will boost your memory skills and reduce stress. Heck, playing cards will even enhance your motor skills! Just try hanging on to a mittful of cards and trying to sort them. If you’ve chosen to participate in a regular game group, such as weekly Mahjong or Bridge, you’ll have a sense of purpose. It is a routine, a chance to meet with others, try a new dessert, or clean your house if you’re hosting. I remember my mom playing Bridge once a week and the flurry of excitement when it was her turn to host. And the treats! After all, there are several cookbooks that came out of playing Bridge!

So, what are you doing this weekend? Put down your phone, take your eyes off the screen. Deal.

PS. I love backstories. Have you ever heard of Farmers Rummy? It could be Farmer’s or Farmers’. My friend Laurie recently taught me how to play. There are thousands of different types of rummy, but what makes this one different is that everyone playing will get a different number of cards dealt to them, and the first card the dealer gets is the wild card. Anyway, Laurie’s aunt, who is now in her 80s, learned how to play this game years ago while volunteering in a hospital. She played many rounds with a man who was a patient and his wife. Since then, she has taught a lot of people how to play. What is your favourite card game? Do you have a story to share?

And another PS. My Nov. 30th, 2022 blog featured my conversation with Miki Mappin about finding your passion through dance. Miki just received the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for service to the arts in the province of Saskatchewan. Congratulations, Miki!

Interesting Reads & Things

Are Board Games Are Making A Comeback | Boooored.com

7 Surprising Mental Health Benefits of Playing Card Games (thetreatmentspecialist.com)

Top 7 Benefits of Playing Card Games – 2023 Guide – Poker Players Alliance

Things You Don’t Know About Playing Cards – YouTube

PLAYING CARDS: A Secret History – YouTube

game night 2018 – Search (bing.com)

3 thoughts on “What’s Your Deal?

  1. Look forward to more card playing !! Yorkton Rummy (what you’re calling farmer rummy) is one of my favourites !! I heard that it was named after where it is played … and perhaps in this case with who ?!? … a farmer? Hahaha
    Have a good winter Julie 🏖


  2. Howdy. I haven’t played cards in years and years. But when I was young I played Casino with my grandmother and Gin Rummy with my grandfather. That was so long ago, I don’t remember the rules to the games anymore!


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