Saturday, August 7, 2010

Games on Vacation

As I wrote on December 12 and 19, 2009, we started a family game night in our household, mostly centered around Yahtzee. So, of course, with some upcoming concentrated time in a hotel room together, Yahtzee seemed like the perfect vacation companion.

Before departing for vacation, I was already estimating the number of hours that we would be spending with Yahtzee, not so much for the sake of the game, but for the time that we would be spending together with plenty of laughs and popcorn!

Well, we got to our destination and .... guess who forgot to bring the Yahtzee game? Ouch! Yes, the hours that had been given to our favorite family bonding game were destroyed because of somebody's forgetfulness (the person's name is being withheld to protect the identity of this author!).

So, to fill the void, we headed to the local Wal-Mart to search for an inexpensive game to fill the void. I will leave out the title of the game that we bought, as it turned out to be the most ridiculous and useless game in history! The game involved a deck of cards with statements on it. After a statement was read, the rest of our crew had to determine if the statement was a fact or a piece of fiction.

Such  riveting and life-altering statements like, "The inventors of Corn Flakes, the Kellogg Brothers, ran a school for delinquent youth" and "The armadillo is the only animal to suffer from leprosy" filled the air. I mean, REALLY? Who could possibly know the true or false answers on these types of issues? As you might have guessed, we did not know many at all!

Within minutes of first playing the game, I was met with a barrage of statements that centered around words like, "dumb game", "ridiculous", "what were you thinking", and "can we play ANYTHING else"?

Trying to save the moment, as well as getting something out of our modest investment, I reminded our crew that it was not the quality of the game that mattered the most. What really mattered was that the five of us were together at a kitchen table - laughing, joking, and enjoying each other's company. That line of reasoning worked for a few rounds of the game. But, then, the pleas and complaints became too much. So, we retired the game (for the night) and my daughter dragged out some cards and proceeded to teach us a few card games.

I am not much of a cards player, but I went along for the ride because, after all, the point was to be together, irrespective of the quality of the game (of course, Yahtzee would have been nice right about now!). We continued to play card games for another hour or two before calling it a night.

On each night of the vacation, we kept trying to find some purpose in playing our new game, but we always ended up dragging out the cards to save the night! I think that we put away the new game for good right after the following statement was read: "Tycho Brahe the astronomer wore an artificial nose made of gold and silver". I mean, seriously, does anybody really know if that statement is true or false and does anybody care? Away went the new game and the cards become the permanent game of choice.

But, as I tried to sell on my whippersnappers, while the game was awful, the time spent together was great! They actually agreed with me .... both parts!

So, yes, as awful as the game was, I just have a feeling that IF we ever pull it out again, all of us will remember our time together on vacation; the good memories will rise to the surface; we'll play the game for old time's sake ............ and we'll put it away and get out the cards!!

So, how about you? Have you ever engaged in an activity with your kids that turned out to be a dud, but it was fun anyway because you were together? Let me know!

Paul W. Reeves

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