Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Gone Fishing

My husband liked to fish.  He went on an annual trip when our boys were young.  I think he just wanted a week of peace and quiet...  Some years he drove south to fish for bass.  That's good eating!  Some years, though, he drove north in search of Muskie.  On those occasions, I lived the week fearing that he would actually catch one!  No way did I want a dead fish adorning my fireplace mantel!  Fortunately, he never caught a legal-sized one, so we didn't have to sell the house to lose the fireplace...

Grampa also took our sons fishing - when he wasn't in the mood to catch many fish.  Once, I remember, I was in charge of worms on hooks.  Wouldn't you know it, we ran into a herd of hungry and foolish crappies.  I'm not a fishing fanatic - that didn't help.  When I look back on it now, it is still not with fondness.  But it is with a smile, so that's good enough.  The fishing gear has found its way down the line to our sons now.   I think Colin and Court inherited their love of drowning worms from their father, and for the same reason.  It's an escape to silence in a peaceful setting.  Both of them have taken their sons fishing, so maybe it's more than just an escape.  What did the worms ever do to them?

The other day, Aidan wanted to show me his new game, which is actually multiple games in one:  checkers, bingo, tic-tac-toe, snap, war, old maid, and Go Fish.  At least, those were the ones I saw up close and personal - as in "Look, Granma, we have this, too!"  These are the times I'm glad I wear glasses - as personal eye protection if not for vision...

We tested out several games, but the one that seemed to catch the fancy of both Josiah and Aidan was Go Fish.  Elijah made himself useful by confiscating sets of 3 or 4 when laid down.  Score keeping was nonexistent.  Aidan made great strides in understanding the game's goal.  Josiah, being three years old, spent every turn asking for cards bearing his favorite number - 3.  It mattered not if he had a 3 in his hand, or even if all the 3's had been played and were now in Elijah's hands.  Quite often, I brokered a trade with Elijah in order to make the 3's available to his elder brother, not wanting Josiah to quit in frustration.  Playing Go Fish with two players lacks whatever element of surprise and strategy might otherwise enhance the game.

I could win convincingly every time with almost no effort.  But the art of the deal is to LOSE believably at least an equal number of times.  Grandboys shouldn't win every hand.  But they must have fun and win some, or they will have no interest in challenging elder cousin and game-master Bryce someday.

If, by chance you go fishing with my grandboys, remember, you may have the bass or muskie for YOUR mantel, but leave the threes to Josiah.  At least until April, when he turns four...

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