IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2007
Mefeedia Video Archive
KNOW WHEN TO FOLD 'EM
3 February 2007
"She's a nasty bitch!" I text messaged to Peach yesterday afternoon.
"Throw them at her," came her reply a few minutes later. Peach knew instantly what I meant, without any explanation whatsoever.
It had not been a good day. It was a rotten day, in fact.
It started out well enough. I woke at 4, cold, and needing to go to the bathroom. I took a second blanket from the guest bedroom and climbed into the recliner, building a nice coccoon for myself. It was so warm and cozy that I slept until 7:30, waking when my calf inconsiderately decided to cramp up.
It ain't easy getting out of a recliner mid-cramp, lemme tell you.
I got coffee started as my mother began stirring. She requested peach flavored oatmeal for breakfast and we both sat here eating, discussing world events. Then she started working the crossword puzzle (in ink) and I opened the computer and began playing Free Cell, my favorite computer solitaire game.
That was my first mistake.
Free Cell had gone great the day before, but not yesterday. I lost game after game after game.
"I don't think we should play cards today," I told her, knowing full well that winning was not in my stars.
That was all the incentive she needed. She had finished the crossword by this time and demanded the canasta deck, the score pad and a sharp pencil. With a gleam in her eye she began to shuffle. The game was on.
I don't know how many games we played. 10? 20? 50? It's all a blur of discard piles being gleefully snatched up, and full hands being laid down to go out, leaving me with a bazillion points in my own hand.
It wasn't so much the losing. That was bad enough.
It was the cackling. And the gleeful whoops.
She's a nasty bitch.
I threw the cards at her and I made her pick them up. Wheelchair be damned. It served her right.
You know, I have painted this beautiful portrait of my mother, the Mother Theresa of her community, the gentle woman who works tirelessly for others, who will help anyone, who provides snacks for funerals at her church, who is dedicated to Hospice of Marin, who will give you the shirt off her back.
Unless it has a deck of cards in it.
Ever see that Disney cartoon of Goofy getting into his car to get on the freeway? You know Goofy -- the tall, lanky sweetheart of a cartoon character, galumphing his way through life. But behind the wheel he becomes a madman, smoke pouring out his ears, swearing at other motorists, speeding down the freeway, zipping in and out between cars, cutting off other drivers. Then he parks the car, opens the door and loveable old Goofy gets out again.
Give my mother a deck of cards and she becomes Goofy behind the wheel of a car. She takes no prisoners. And she's so damn lucky. The deck seems to ask "What card would you like, Mildred" and then give it to her. She mesmerizes her opponents into giving her the exact card she needs to make yet another canasta. The Amazing Kreskin has nothing on her.
It was hell growing up with such a mother, I tell you. Hell. Poor little child trying to learn how to play Go Fish, bowled over by this big bully who earlier in the day baked you chocolate chip cookies, held you on her lap and read you stories. But give her a deck of cards and it didn't make a difference that her opponent was only 5 years old. This was cards...this was war.
Don't make me remember Monopoly. Please. The pain.
Over the time I have been here, many of her friends have come through the door, all checking on how she is doing. They all tell me what a wonderful person she is. The hospital called to get her assessment of her stay there and said they all missed her so much and they wish they could clone her because she was such a good patient.
Obviously none of them has ever played cards with her.
Today my horoscope read, "This is a make or break time for a relationship. So put your cards on the table. You've got nothing to hide and everything to gain by being upfront."
I took it as a good omen.
Oh, she beat me, all right. Don't be silly. But I figure if I can lose by only 100 points or so, that's a triumphant day for me!
There will be a "canasta" video when I get home, but I can't work with video while on this slow-as-molasses computer, and uploading would take a whole day. You'll just have to wait.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Canasta players will be able to appreciate how weird my opening hand was.
This is entry #2502