Games Children Play

by Bella Rum

A cold, driving rain arrived while we slept, and it continues with no sign of abatement. If we’re to believe the forecast, snow will be added to the mix this afternoon and continue into the night. I had to brave it this morning. We needed groceries, and (oh no!) I had to make another trip to Toys oR Bust! That place should come with a tutorial for grandparents.

A few minutes in, and my eyes glazed over. I’ve no doubt that a deep pain sensitivity test wouldn’t have made me flinch. Numb! That was me. I finally settled on something that doesn’t have bells or whistles or batteries. It doesn’t talk or chime or light up. The parts don’t move automatically, and it doesn’t walk or talk or sing or cry. It actually requires the child to participate. Imagine that.

I’m that grandmother and aunt who gives books and puzzles and games and toys that say figure me out. So far I’ve bought card games, blocks, beads to string into necklaces, or board games for all the children on my list. I’ve heard that the old-fashioned games – the ones from back in the day – have made a huge comeback this year.

I ventured out early this morning to beat the crowds. Toys R Us opened at 6. Can you believe it? I didn’t arrive until 9 o’clock, and that was after a stop at Starbucks. I’m such a slacker.

It was nasty and cold out there. I made a big pot of soup when I returned home, and now I’m sipping green tea with honey and lemon. It’s soothing and sweet and delicious. I’m finally warm, but the rain is still coming down. It has been relentless all through the fall, and I have a feeling winter will not receive any mercy.

We’re suppose to have dinner with friends tonight. They live on the other side of town. I hope the roads don’t get icy.

So I’m feeling pretty good about my accomplishments today, and with all my Christmas shopping choices in general. I didn’t want to go overboard this year. It’s more than the money. I’m tired of the sickening consumption that happens every year this time, and I don’t think I’m alone. It seems to me that people are looking for something else this year.

I know large numbers continue to wait in those long lines to get a deal on a flat screen television or super electronics, but I think there’s another, albeit less obvious, group out there. It’s the I’ve-had-enough-and-I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore group. They’ve always been there, but their numbers have grown this year. If there’s an up side to this sickening economy, this is it.

Maybe that’s why the board games are selling this year. Remember sitting around that table? A lot of stuff happened there. There was adding and subtracting and socializing and strategizing and compromising and learning what it takes to be a good sport or not. There was always a sore loser in the mix, and a trash-talking winner, but you can’t say we didn’t get to know each other.

Friends were visiting the other night, and we played games. The ages ranged from 6 to 62. The six year old had to add up his own score. After they left, H said, “Did you notice that the television was never turned on?”

Fun! Lots of fun. That’s what board games are.