Moore: A Vacation Monopoly | Opinion
People used to cross the river and the woods to Grandma’s house every holiday season to thank, eat, visit, and play games.
Playing games with family members you rarely see outside of Christmas reminded you of why you only see them during the holidays.
A Monopoly game marathon with your half-deaf uncle and cousin who eats Cheetos and wants to be the banker reminds you of how good you have it. Even if you think you haven’t got it so well.
I don’t know where it says that after committing one of the seven deadly sins (gluttony) you should put together a puzzle with your great aunt, but it is obviously mandatory.
Because it was like that every year.
Maybe it was because we only had three channels to watch on TV. Of course, even if we had the endless number of things to watch that we have today, our grandfather would never have allowed to show anything other than football.
Coach Tom Landry stood on the sidelines in his crisp suit and sleek hat. More often than not, he calmly led the Cowboys to victory. Those of us who played a board game would glance at the game every now and then from the kitchen table.
This is where we played games most often. The Formica dinette set was perfect for this. The slick top allowed me to neatly stack my cash and deeds, only for that Cheeto-eating banker cousin to drive the token car over my stuff and mess it up.
An argument would ensue and the uncle would say, ‘What did you say? “
The small children were on the ground nearby playing Operation. As the Monopoly players tried to get into the poor house, the little kids practiced removing someone’s spleen and funny bone.
Over the years, I once suggested that we move on to the game called Risk. It was better to rule the world than to put people in misery, but I was rejected.
If I could have taken over the world, I would have banished bankers who eat Cheetos.
If you are tired of playing Monopoly, you can recruit a younger cousin to take your place. There was always a child who wanted to play with the grown-ups, but he had been refused. He was standing next to the Monopoly table, watching the whole time. I could usually apologize and whisper to him to take my place.
Before the others realized I wasn’t coming back, the kid had already taken Boardwalk and Park Place.
“Who let this kid play?” Said the uncle.
I slid through the puzzle, only to find that the Great Aunt had worked on the same puzzle for the three previous Christmases. The lid of the box with the photo was missing, as were an unidentified number of puzzle pieces.
Word was that Cheeto’s cousin-eating banker had put his mittens on it. According to unfounded information, the puzzle could be a picture of a church in a meadow or a basket full of cats. No one was sure.
As we got older, the more cerebral members of the family decided that we would play Scrabble.
“I know a lot of words,” the half-deaf uncle said.
“Me too,” another uncle said in front of the television.
I think we interrupted the game.
“I’m pretty sure ‘flipple’ isn’t a word,” someone said.
“Yes, it is,” replied a cousin.
“What does it mean?” was the answer.
From there, a challenge ensued. But the replacement child at the Monopoly table was sitting on the dictionary, so we accepted flipple and moved on.
The game of Scrabble went downhill from there, so I headed for the game.
Today, people travel hundreds of miles to visit their families and then put their heads in their phones.
Board games have been replaced by online games. On Christmas Day, I received a notification from Words With Friends (a Scrabble-type online game) that it was my 12th anniversary of participating in the game.
I thought about it.
My birthday with Words With Friends is longer than my time with the ex. Words With Friends has been a much closer relationship. The game lets me enter a word, gives me points for it, and sometimes even tells me I won.
This is not something that happened in the days of vacation board games with families. Monopoly never seemed to end up with a winner, the puzzle remained in piecesScrabble was filled with freaks, and the guy who had the surgery never got it.
The only winners seemed to be the people who made Cheetos.
– John Moore is a resident of Whitehouse. Email him at [email protected] To purchase his books, “Puns for Groan People” and “Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now Vol. 1 and Vol. 2”, or to listen to his weekly 5-minute podcast on John G. Moore, visit www .TheCountryWriter.com.