Last week dad’s card-playing companion brought some cards and a Yahtzee game with her when she went for her visit with dad. Dad said he wasn’t interested in playing cards or Yahtzee. The companion tried something creative. She took out the dice from the Yahtzee game.
“Did you ever play any games with dice?”, she asked him? Now he was in his element. He told her that he used to play Craps when he was a kid. She didn’t know how to play Craps. She asked dad to teach her.
Here I will inject a little bit of history. Dad grew up during the depression. He lived in a tenement building with his many brothers and sisters. They spent their days on the streets. Dad played craps in the streets with the other boys and was often chased by the cops. Perhaps that was illegal gambling? In any case, he learned a skill that he has retained for the following 80 years!
Dad’s companion had located a room that was used for the residents to put together puzzles. There were tables in the room where they could play games. Dad just wanted to sit on the sofa, but his companion sat at the table.
They used checkers as chips. Dad knew the rules and she wrote them into her iPad as they played. She threw the dice and told dad the total. He would then yell out “win”, “lose” or “roll again”. She said he was serious and gave it his full attention – totally engaged.
Then one of the men who sometimes works in the kitchen came in the room and chatted with them about games. Dad described the kind of rummy he played as a kid – in detail. The activity director then came by and brought dad his Scotch as it was Happy Hour.
I am very pleased with the creativity of dad’s companions. They are able to get dad to reach far back into his memory and bring back skills he hasn’t used in decades. I hope I am able to follow up on all of this when I get home. I got too used to thinking I already knew all about dad, when clearly there was more to know.