Growing up, and in the early years of my marriage, a card game was often "dessert" after a meal with friends, or a way to spend an evening with a neighbor. I have thought about how that seems to be a dying past time in today's life of computers, email, and electronic games. I see my mother enjoying going to the clubhouse at her 55+ community, and enjoying catching up with her friends over games of bridge, gin, or pinochle.
I think in days past, the wife was home all day caring for home and children, so when the husband came home from work, the house was clean, fresh cookies or brownies had been baked, and the homemaker was eager for adult conversation. After dinner was done and kitchen cleaned, it was fun to call a neighbor to "come over and play some cards". It was an inexpensive evening and one of conversation, gossip, and laughter.
Today, the housewife shares the workload with the husband, and they both arrive home from work stressed and exhausted. They bring home a carry out meal to share, and also for their children if they are not off to sports, working out, or in some activity. They dish up their meal, and he goes to watch the news and she turns on her email while they silently eat in front of their screens. Perhaps they go to the gym for a workout or for a walk (wearing their ipods so again not needing to converse with anyone), then home to stare at a screen again, and finally to bed to rest before another busy day at work. They would not think about having another couple over to play cards....the other couple is as tired, the house is waiting for the weekend to be cleaned, and there is nothing baked....and besides, it would not be on the South Beach or other current diet.
Dan Rather wrote of the passing of "The Greatest Generation". There were so many positives this generation brought to the world.....saving to pay cash for purchases, owning their homes, sticking through the tough times in their marriages, talking with friends directly rather than through emails, spending time with the family with board games, picnics, the beach, and evening games "before the street lights came on".
I am now visiting my home town. So many memories of my life growing up in a small town return. I remember not locking the house when I left, riding my bike out to the lake a mile away for the day without worrying about being abducted by a stranger, knowing everyone in town and waving as I rode by, bringing a gun to school for show and tell or to be ready to hunt after the final bell, and knowing Mom would be home with fresh cookies when I got home.
The past generation was not perfect. Racism, sexism, and intolerance raised their ugly heads. Although I think I would have now liked to have been a doctor, attorney or journalist, at the time I felt I was limited to being a nurse, teacher or secretary if I worked outside the home. There was "men's work" and "woman's work", and it was a questionable person who crossed the line.
Time brings changes....some are for the better, but perhaps, sadly, some are not. I have been playing a game of Gin 13 every night with my friend, and have noticed I have been doing a less television viewing. I have been golfing in the morning (with no tee times or dress codes!), walking the dog with no leash in the park, and going out fishing in the evenings. All of these activities have involved conversations...some thought-provoking, some humorous, some sad, some teasing, and some argumentative (politics!). This morning I had coffee at the senior citizens building. The men sat at one table, and women at another. Some things in small towns haven't changed much in 40 years! Then someone pulled out a deck of cards and starting shuffling......