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The Game May 20, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Less IS More, People.
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Wikipedia ~ Hartland Vermont (in Public Domain)

When we visited Vermont as children, we enjoyed rambling around my grandparents’ house, sneaking into the pantry to steal homemade cookies when the adults weren’t looking.

We explored dirt roads, hiked Mount Ascutney, descended deep into Quechee Gorge,  headed up “the hill” for picnics, and swam in the brook next to their house.

But we also loved playing The Game!

To start The Game, the adults would search around the house for “prizes” for the center of the table ~ sticks of gum, pads of paper, pocket change, rolls of lifesavers, penny candy, pencils, pens, etc.

Adults and children gathered in a circle around the table and my cousin Bobby would deal out one deck of cards to the players. Using a second deck, Bobby would turn over and call a card, “Queen of Spades.”

Whoever had the Queen of Spades would trade it in for one of the prizes.

If the remaining prizes didn’t appeal when a player’s card was called, the player could steal a prize from another player who had what they wanted.

The Game continued until all cards had been called.

Wikipedia ~ Vermont Country Store (in Public Domain)

Being kids with limited income, we liked money the best, especially with an old-timey General Store just down the road selling penny candy.

We would grab the quarters, dimes, and nickels and hope to hang on to them until the game ended.

If we succeeded, we exchanged them at the store for root beer barrels, wax soda pop bottles, bubble gum, flying saucers, licorice whips, caramels, and cinnamon balls.

Having adults playing along enhanced The Game.

When Bobby called one of their cards, they would wander around, deciding what to select as we tried to hide our precious coins from view.

Instead of snatching the coveted shiny new quarter from our stash, they would say, “Oh, an old pencil, with no eraser, and plenty of teeth marks down the sides.  Just what I wanted.” They would grab the chewed up stub (like it was the last life preserver on a sinking ship) and sit back down.

We would giggle madly at their goofy antics . . .  who would choose an old chewed up pencil or a penny instead of a shiny new quarter?!

As The Game drew to its inevitable conclusion, each child hoped to have the LAST card called so s/he would be able to grab the most coveted prize.

Somethings never change.


Our nieces and nephews are spread  out from New Jersey to Colorado to Florida.  Over the years, we’ve played The Game with them on a regular basis.  It’s always a hit.

The kids love getting new and exciting gifts and prizes and I love clearing extraneous items and clutter from my house ~ stickers, stuffed animals, ceramic zebras, books, magnets, small frames, candy, gum, jewelry, arts and crafts, Cracker Jack prizes, ornate boxes, CD’s, DVD’s, etc.

Sometimes old games need new rules.

When my nieces and nephews were younger and their card was called, I asked them to spell an age-appropriate word or do a math problem or answer a multiple choice question before they could “pick a prize.”

They often wanted to keep playing and answering questions even after the prizes were gone.

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