The Solitary Game (ms)

The old man’s fingers were pudgy though they had done their share of hard work in life. The index and middle fingers of his left hand were yellowed in the characteristic coloring of those who smoke cigarettes far too often. Overall though his hands were steady and held the deck of cards firmly, confidently. “Let’s go see if we can beat the devil”, the man said and riffled the deck of cards. Solitaire was his game and the evening had just begun; there was plenty of time to come out a winner.

My father played the game of solitaire forever, it was his favorite. I don’t know that he ever gambled as in a game of pitch at the annual beer garden clambake; his downfall in cards was the one-man game best played alone.

He worked the night shift and by the time he got home we were in bed. He would eat his evening meal and around about midnight, if I was still awake, I could hear the deck take its run through his fingers followed by the slap of the first card down on the table. This would go on for about an hour or so before he finally quit and went to bed. If asked the next morning who won the night before he would smile and say something like, “It was a draw.”

We have a few decks of cards here at the ranch but we never use them for our interest in card playing never really developed. We had friends who played bridge and some who played poker and pitch and though all offered to teach us the basics of the game we never took them up on their offer. When computers came along, well that was a different story altogether.

I discovered solitaire on the very first machine I bought and I’m still playing. I can add the sounds of the cards through the game if I want so it is something like the days of my kidhood listening to my father playing at the kitchen table.

Nearly every night I fire up a machine, click the icon for the game and deal a hand. My goal now is not to just win and beat the devil but to do it in record time. Truth be told I can become addicted to almost anything fairly quickly for I go by the old adage that if one is enough, two is twice is good but its really, really grand if you have a dozen. So it is with solitaire.

I don’t do a dozen games for by then I am too tired to see the cards straight but I go through a few. I can see how the Old Man got hooked on it for it soon becomes like playing with fifty-two old friends even if mine are of the electronic kind. I consider it something of a relaxing half-hour or so at a time of night too late for much more than the solitude found in solitaire, just me and the cards, fifty-two good friends and true.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, the contest always ends in a draw.

–Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on July 29, 2011.

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