Tuesday December 10th 2019, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

Saturday was the annual December Club birthday party: a potluck brunch, then we sing Happy Birthday To Us and adjourn to the living room to open our presents we bought ourselves, taking a moment to say why we bought what we got and thus tell a little about what makes us tick.

And we copy each other’s gift ideas all the time. All the time. Every single year. Like the time the late Virginia brought a mirror that laughed when you picked it up: I went, Where did you GET that?! and then merrily sent one off to my folks for Christmas.

Not knowing that they were going to be throwing a party, where Dad, unbeknownst to Mom, put that mirror down on a side table off in the corner.

Fortunately the person who snuck a peak laughed, too.

So, Saturday: for once mine actually wasn’t something knitting related. I unwrapped my new Mel and Kris small square plates, gorgeous hand-thrown pottery and much admired as they were passed around the room.

Mona Jo, one of our founding members from 40 years ago, bought herself an old-time simple wooden box of a jacks game and challenged us all to a round as people were getting up to leave at the end.

I begged off because I needed to get the car back to Richard.

Sterling stayed. She would have to remind him how, if he’d ever learned–he wasn’t sure.

As he later put it, If an eighty-five-year-old woman challenges you to a game of jacks, prepare to be schooled.

When he added, She got tensies on the first round, it came back to me that yes, I do know how to play jacks, come to think of it. It had been so long since I’d even thought of them that I’m not sure my own kids ever played.

I was getting my hearing aids worked on this afternoon and I went by the bird center afterwards like I always do because they’re far away but close together, and next door to Los Gatos Birdwatcher, never much noticed by me, there was a small independent toy store.

I went in.

We did, she said, we had like ten of them forever and I know we did last week but I’m not seeing any! It’s been crazy!

She went in the back for several minutes and came back out triumphant. Found one!

They were not in the plain natural-wood box: it was wood, it had that sliding lid, but it was a bit larger and had a jacks motif kind of splatted on it that looked almost more like flowers. Flowers that were decaying on asphalt gray a few days after a heavy rain. And the brand name was one I associate with baby toys, although those were anything but classic baby colors and babyhood was the last thing I wanted my turning-nine-year-old grandson to associate with a birthday present from us.

What were they thinking?

But for $9.99 I was here, it was in stock, time was short, and I handed over my credit card.

Hand-eye coordination and quick reaction times, not to mention a game you could carry in a pocket and play anywhere you and your friends were: that’s what I was thinking about.

But that box keeps stopping me. It definitely stopped yonder Grampa.

Anyone have any ideas or experiences on boys playing jacks? Hey, I can tell him Sterling plays, and his kids are in college.

I think I’m going to go look for the version Mona Jo found. I’ve now looked up where that store was and it’s much closer to home.

Decaying flowers on asphalt is good enough for a grandmother’s purse, though, so it’s all good. I could even challenge Maddy to a round. She’s about to turn five, a little young, but what little kid doesn’t like to wildly grab for desirables with permission and then giggle like crazy.

But I’m not promising tensies on any round.

3 Comments so far
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Oh boy! I have a precious memory of my (now deceased) 16y/o son and a friend hi-jacking his sister’s jacks and uproariously entertaining us trying to play. It was one of those times that I laughed so hard my sides hurt.

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 12.11.19 @ 6:07 am

Never had enough coordination. And now? Sitting on the floor? I don’t think so!

Comment by Holly 12.11.19 @ 8:28 am

We always kept our jacks in a leather drawstring bag. I still remember skinning my knuckles playing on the sidewalk!

Comment by Nancy G 12.12.19 @ 11:27 pm

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