Growing up, we played cards. Oh, Grandma Cronenberger didn’t – something about Grandpa and religion, but the other side of the family played cards constantly. I grew up sitting around the kitchen table with three (sometimes four!) generations playing ‘The Penny Game’, ‘Oh, Heck’ and Gin Rummy. There were family rituals that surrounded these games. Mom would curse the deck, and Grandma Wyman would often get up and walk around her chair after a string of bad luck.
My spouse comes from a card-playing family as well. ‘Oh, Heck’ was replaced by Setback – and Gin Rummy was supplanted by cribbage. Bill and I continue to play cribbage often – the board is on the dining room table and provides a sweet diversion after dinner when there’s time.
For all the card-playing in my own family, it was my husband’s family that helped me understand some of the truths that are taught by a deck of cards. The most essential is that you can only play the hand you’re dealt.
Let’s face it. More often that not we wish we were richer, thinner, smarter… did I say richer?… and we are presented with a choice. We can either dwell on it, OR we can play the hand we’re dealt. No amount of wishing is going to give you a different genetic code, or erase that terrible nickname you had as a kid, or make you more popular in your High School years. (Word to the wise: none of us escaped those years unscathed. Even the most popular kids have emotional scars to prove that deep down, we’re really all vulnerable).
We can’t change our past. We can only choose what we will do in the future.