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The Great Card Party

A few years ago, I realized I was in danger of isolation.  I had moved away from Ypsilanti up to Wherever, which meant most of my friends were a long drive away.  My only social outlet was my kids and my writers group, in fact.  Wonderful as they were, the boys didn't meet all my social needs, and the writers group was (is) a professional group first and a social group second.  I needed more friends.  I needed new friends.

As it happens, one of the teachers at Nameless High had been asking me to come to the poker game she and her husband ran every month or so.  She'd been asking me for quite some time, but by bad luck, a conflict came up each time they had a game.  I finally told myself that I had a good chance here to make some new friends at an event tailor-made for a semi-introvert (the game gives you something to do and to talk about with strangers).  So I made sure to attend the next game.  There, I made some friends.  I became a regular at the games and we became better friends.  Later, the poker game was the first social event Darwin and I attended as a couple.

When Darwin and I bought our current house, we realized the place was made for entertaining, and we joined the rotation of poker game hosting.  This last Saturday was our turn, and off we went!

The morning was spent cleaning. The afternoon was spent at the store buying food.  We ultimately had enough people to start two tables, so we set up both the breakfast nook table and the dining room table as play area.  Four new packs of cards waited.  Michelle (my teacher friend) and her husband Steve brought their poker chip collection, and people started to arrive.

The poker group is a great mix of people from different ages and backgrounds. Our youngest is 20, and our oldest is . . . well, never mind the numbers.  Grandparent age, certainly.  The players' attitude is the right mix of competetiveness and jollity. We follow strict poker rules, but want to have fun, and we do.  Jokes fly as fast as the cards.  The losers always drop out gracefully, usually with a "Well, shoot," and "Well played" is a common remark.

The hosts always keep light drinks on hand, but no one indulges much--it would interfere with the game.  Caffeine (soda) is the ambrosia of choice.  The losers often hang about to socialize in the living room.  It's a pleasant way to spend an evening.

The big winner this time was Christian, a member of the writers group.  This was his first time at the game, as it happened, and we joked about letting him win so he'd keep coming back.

Around midnight, the last people wandered away.  Darwin and I tidied up.  It was an excellent evening with friends.


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