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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Real Life – Pastime


When I originally started playing Candy Land with our granddaughter, she barely knew her colors, much less how to match the card she had drawn to the path her playing piece should follow—or why it mattered.

Now she taunts me with her goal of leaving me in the dust.

I can see the progress she has made, at the ripe old age of four. She understands taking turns, the function of the discard pile, and how setbacks can be overcome. She is even quick to comfort me when I “fake cry” after my almost inevitable loss. It is only a game, she counsels, but when I ask her if it is playing she enjoys more, or is it beating me, she is quick to answer that she likes to win.

Looking back to the games I used to play with siblings and friends, I recall not understanding what was going on much of the time, but playing anyway. A perfect example of this situation was my exposure in third grade to The Game of Life.

The topographic board enhanced with wavy plastic roads and an embedded spinner was unique and exciting, allowing players to “drive” station wagons along the chosen roads. Little did we kids know that the conventional consumer-driven work and family choices offered at various intersections might influence our developing view of the world. 
My family encouraged playing old-time games. Cribbage, invented in the early 16th Century, was one of my father’s favorites, as was the stockpile card game Flinch, invented in 1901.

As it turns out, The Game of Life had been updated from an earlier iteration of the diversion designed in 1860: The Checkered Game of Life. This version featured what to modern sensibilities would be viewed as excessively rigid mores, touted from a bicolor game board. 

Intergenerational game-play, a format for silliness and conversations, presents opportunities to dig deeper, too.

Winter is coming. 

Time to play. (c)

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Patti Koltes
Patti Koltes
Real Life © by Patti Koltes. Contact her at pkoltes@gmail.com.