"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

Days of cards and molding

By on July 26, 2021 in Columnist with 0 Comments

By Donna Cassidy

I’m a grandmother four times over, and most weekdays, I babysit my only granddaughter, who is a few months past her second birthday.

On a walk the other day, she was excitedly running ahead of me towards a park playground when she tripped and fell on her hands and knees.

“Are you OK?” I asked when I caught up to her, still sitting on the path.

I could see in her face that she was hurting, but also determined not to cry.

Instead, she held up her arms to be picked up. And once I had her, she wrapped those tiny arms around my neck and squeezed.

Later, as she played joyfully on the swings — the fall all forgotten — I watched from a park bench and started thinking  of my own grandmother and mother, of whom I have many fond memories.

My grandmother’s name was Adrienne but everyone called her “Grannie” and her daughter, my mom, was Martha that was first shortened to Mars and then later in life we called her Nan.

My mom had a kind of dyslexia with words.

We always knew what she meant but she always said the wrong words or she made up a word.

Example: we played a card game called Hand and Foot, she called it Hoof and Mouth.

She called hip huggers hub knockers, and ben fringes for fringe benefits.

When we got together, we were molding instead of bonding. Her arthritis was author. Caveen for ravine, you were a clutch for being uncoordinated. I wish we had written all her antics down because I can’t remember most of them.

I do remember one time my mom and I were peeling peaches in the kitchen sink together. I think I was around 16 at the time. Mom was raising five kids on her own.

She was angry about something and was yelling about how all of us kids were lazy. I said to her, “Mom you don’t have to yell I’m standing right here.”

Well this could have gone two ways. But, she laughed.

My mother always reminded me of Lucille Ball — like the time she bought a new sofa but couldn’t get the old sofa out the front door. So, she took an axe to it.

She was funny and fun to be around.

Grannie had rough patches in her early life, but likewise didn’t dwell on the negative.

I remember one time she was admitted to the hospital with stomach pain.

We all thought this was it for her. Before this, she was always healthy and had no health issues. The doctor asked her if she had thought about death and had thoughts about her last wishes. She said, “No.”

Her answer floored me. I thought this was so strange. She was 92! She was 92 and hadn’t thought about it? Grannie lived until she was 96.

Grannie birthed 12 babies and she had over 50 grandchildren. Most all of her grandkids including me learned to play cards at an early age.

We played pinochle and six twelve. Six twelve is kind of like a rummy game. A game has seven hands. Each hand has 11 cards. So why is it called six twelve?

One day Grannie, my mom and my mom’s twin sister and I were at my mom’s house playing cards. They all were complaining about not sleeping at night. When I had had enough I said, “Well you know what cures that?” No they all said.

I said, “Sex.”

My mother was the first to speak, under her breath she said, “Well I haven’t had sex in seven years.”

My aunt piped up and said, “I haven’t had sex in 13 years.”

Grannie shouted, “It’s been 50 years for me.”

They all sounded disgruntled. We all laughed but I had no words. And they did stop talking about not sleeping.

When Grannie’s arthritis in her hands was so bad she couldn’t hold cards anymore we played a board game called Sorry. By that time, my own daughter sometimes joined us, and we had four generations of women at the table.

Most of us hated that game but we played and played just to be with her.

It’s been 20 years since I played games with my mother and grandmother around a kitchen table — and I still miss those days of cards and “molding.”

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