Sunday, August 17, 2008

Memories of my father ... (part two) ...

Today is my father's birth date. Actually, if he were still alive, this would be the first anniversary of his 100th birthday. I thought it might be kind of fun to share some tidbits about him.

Television ...

When we got our first television set, there were only one or two stations that we could get with any sort of clarity. The rest was 'snow' and a lot of noise. If you wanted to watch another channel, you had to walk over to the set and manually turn a knob.

Remote control gadgets came out while I was in college. Daddy thought those were the best things invented since Mom's cooking. One particular feature he just loved ... the mute button! He and Mom both hated commercials, so we always knew when one was on by the silence.

He was a football nut and followed the National Football Conference's Central Division voraciously. It didn't really matter which team was playing -- Bears, Lions, Packers, or Vikings -- if it was on TV, he was watching. And, he wasn't to be disturbed.

It was in the late fall of 1958, a Saturday morning. My boyfriend drove down from Michigan Tech to pick me up in Marquette, and then we had continued on to Munising. He had something very important he wanted to ask Dad.

However, Saturday had gone by without an opportunity presenting itself, and now it was Sunday. A football game was on. He knew the 'rules', but time was running out. We had to leave in less than two hours.

He said, "Sir?" No response. A little louder, after clearing his throat, "Sir?" Dad said, "Yes?" "I have something very important I want to talk to you about." Dad said, "Wait until the half."

[Where was the rest of the family? Well, Mom was in the kitchen making not the teeniest sound, ears straining to hear every word. I was sitting at the top of the stairs, ditto with the ears. Johnny was out playing with friends, and Peggy was in Spain.]

"Wait until the half!?!" Can you believe it? So anyway, there the two of them sat, watching the game and waiting for the half. Half-time FInally came, the mute button was applied, and boyfriend asked Dad for his permission to become part of the family.

Word games ...

I'd have to say, that of all the word games played in our family (and there were a bunch!), that anagrams was the all-time favorite.

Anagrams is probably one of the forerunners of Scrabble, the game with a board that has grey and pink squares authorizing 'double' and 'triple' letter and word scores and comes with 'x' number of tiles with numbers on them that are usually placed on a convenient little holder.

Mom and Dad had a set of letter tiles to be envied, I kid you not! They kept them in a large tin box. [After they were both 'gone', I tried very hard to locate and retrieve that magnificent set of wooden tiles. They were nowhere to be found.]

Anyway, the game begins with each player (minimum of two) drawing 'x' number of tiles from the box, sight unseen. I forget how many were in that initial draw, sorry. Probably seven, altho I'm not sure.

OK. Each player now has 'x' number of tiles. Who goes first? (Daddy always let everyone else go first. He was probably going to be the eventual winner, anyway, no es verdad?) Can a word be made? It had to be of at least three letters in length. (It could be of only two letters, but those words can so easily be changed and thereby 'stolen' that I think we changed the initial word length rule to three.)

If you held a 'q', 'x', 'v', or even 'w', you endeavored to incorporate those letters into one of your words as quickly as possible. Such words are often difficult to change (and thereby 'lose').

[You could only 'steal' a word from another player by creating another word entirely. Simply adding an 's' would not work. For example, you could 'steal' the word 'are' by adding a 'c', making either 'care' or 'acre'... 'race', even. The word 'care' could be stolen by adding an 's' to 'acres', or vice versa for 'acre' and 'race'. And then, of course, any of those words could be stolen by adding another 's' to make 'caress'. How about adding a 't' to produce the word 'cater' or 'react'? Two different letters could be added at the same time in the steal, making either 'care' or 'acre' 'career', for example, 'careen', or even 'crater'. Many, many, many other examples could be used, but I hope you get the idea. You could even steal two words at once, combining them with the addition of another letter to form a third. ALWAYS, a letter had to be added and the meaning changed.]

Our games usually ended when one player had accumulated seven unchangeable words.

Silly songs ...

I scream for ice cream, we all scream for ice cream, rah, rah, rah, sis, boom, bah!

I don't think I'll forget that little ditty as long as I live! That was one of Dad's favorites.

Knock knock jokes ...

Mom always hated these, and with good reason. Two of Dad's favorites were, "Knock, knock." "Who's there?" "Ida." "Ida who?"

Mother's name was "Idabelle", OK?

The two possible responses to "Ida who?" that Dad used were "I da know" and "I'd -- or I've -- a bellyache."

Both responses, actually, were terribly unthinking and unkind. I really don't think that my father realized how badly he was hurting my mother's feelings when he kept repeating that joke. He was thinking only of himself and how much he loved word games, I truly believe.

Actually, my daughter is named after my mother, which caused almost no end of consternation, as you might imagine. See this post, fourth paragraph, if you would, for just a touch more detail.

Card games ...

Now THERE was something that could be played while we ate (after the invention of card holders, that is!).

Dad never wanted to stop playing a game ... ANY game! He would always say, "One more for the championship!"

ANYhoo, wherever you are now, Dad, I hope that you are playing 'One more for the championship!' Happy birth date.


whalechaser said...

I cannot count the hours spent playing Scrabble..but your rules sound like they were modified...did you actually change the words after they were placed, by rearranging the letters (as in an anagram) Wow...that would jack the game up to untold challenge!

Goldenrod said...

Whale, I probably confused you, along with anyone else who might have read this post, with my 2nd paragraph under "Word games ...".

See my next post. I'm going to try and better define the word game of 'anagrams' (as we played it).

Tammy said...

What a nice post, Goldenrod, and especially what would have been his birthday.

I know we've had "pinochle" conversations between the two of us, but I am wondering if that was a game you were able to play with your dad.

Goldenrod said...

Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of games played with my dad, including pinochle!