Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gaming memorial....

This past weekend my extended family on my mother's side got together for my grandmother's funeral. My mother has had a rough two years as my grandfather passed away last year as well at the ripe old age of 82. He was an ornery, stubborn old bastard who died the way he lived: on his own without the help of others.

One great memory I have of grandpa are evenings playing Rummoli at the table in is his lttle home in Riondel, B.C. If you haven't played Rummoli yet, don't. It is a bland, entirely luck-based mix of poker and rummy. It fails to excite and it lacks all control, HOWEVER it can be played with money. And this is why I remember it so fondly as a kid. The different pay pots would fill with cash and when you played the right card you would gather all the cash. When we played, grandpa would seed these pots with real money instead of just pennies. Loonies, toonies, and sometimes these disgusting licorice all-sorts that we'd trade with our mother for cash (she was the only one who liked them).

This past Saturday night, my sister organized a memorial game of Rummoli with us and the relatives. We didn't really get to say goodbye to grandpa so this worked just fine. She bought the licorice and brought the pennies and just to celebrate the old man, she seeded the pay pots with shots of Crown Royal - his favourite. Everytime someone went out first or collected a big pot they had to share a grandpa story before they downed the shot. Strange but somehow it seemed appropriate. It's funny how these classic games seem to tie families together, whether it be Yahtzee or Rummoli or even Ticket To Ride. The point, I suppose, is that despite him being gone, we still play on and the memories remain in the cards.

Then the next day we buried our grandmother beside her parents. Lovely woman who I remember having a fondness for jewellry and little plastic horse. May they both rest in peace.

That's all for now, I'm gonna go spend some quality time with my mother who is happy to have family around right now. We're gonna play Ticket to Ride, her favourite....


  1. I was sorry to read this, but I can relate. I've also found board gaming to be an uplifting time admist turmoil and I think my relatives were grateful for those experiences we did something enjoyable together as a group. I hope the grieving is made lighter because of your time together playing a game. All the best to you and your family.

  2. Thanks for the kind words. It has been tougher for my Mom than me. Like I said, the family around really helps. And when we played TTR last night, she was grinning like a cheshire cat so I guess the gaming helps, too...

  3. This is a wonderful post with a lot of heart! THank you for sharing this Eric. When I was a kid/woplet my italian family would play rounds of 21/31. I remember the delight in scooping the small change with my winning hands... I can relate as it being one of the happiest moments in my childhood. Thanking about your family, wish I was there xoxo

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