Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sorry for the delay

My best friend in law school, Eric, taught me this really cool card game, which he identified as "Michigan Rummy" even though I learned later that's a misnomer. (Hoyle, an authority on card games in my childhood home, points out that it's not a traditional rummy game, nor is it from Michigan.) In the version I learned, you deal out all the cards in a standard deck. The players take turns putting a card on the table, starting with the sevens. If the 7 has been played, for example, another player can place the 6 or the 8 on the 7. Without the 7 in any given suit, none of the other cards in that suit can be played.

Before I get to the point of this story -- and thus the point of this post -- I will explain just a bit more about why I love Michigan Rummy. There are four money cards -- if you have any of those four cards in your hand, and you get to play it, you collect all the money that's on that card. Well, I don't think I ever played with actual money. Probably you're meant to play with poker chips, but that's so boring. I like variety. Buttons are good, but we've also used beach glass. Anything that's small and, if possible, lots of one-of-a-kinds so that you can look at your stash while you're waiting for someone else to play/shuffle/deal/whatever. The best stash, though, has to have been the collection of old, foreign money collected by Hub 1.0's family. You know that odd set of pesetas or francs or pence you have after a trip abroad? Well, what Hub 1.0's forefathers used to do is dump these motley coins into a box. And they really traveled: Indian annas, Chinese coins with the square hole in the middle, the Swaziland lilangeni -- stuff like that. There is a fair number of old style English pennies, which are huge; one dates back to 1839, although it's in really poor condition.

We used to play with the entire coin collection when we were in London visiting my former m-i-l. We would play with Susan, Hub 1.0's sister. When it was time to divvy up the coin collection, she got first dibs, but put aside a very nice assortment of goodies for Hub 1.0 and me to take away. That plastic pot of coinage is here in Harmony; they clearly should stay with Hub 1.0 but the fact of the matter is that they're most useful playing cards, and he's never likely to host a card party in Philly. I toyed with the idea of just not mentioning the coins to him; he was more likely than not to forget about them, but that seemed wrong. And bless him -- he totally got the point about their usefulness being site-specific. So, yes, they belong to him, but they stay here.

Back to the game of Michigan Rummy that I was taught. Eric explained that there was a house rule when he was growing up: "no grandpas." It seems his grandfather would have a card in his hand that could be played onto the table, but he'd miss it or something and would instead pay a coin into the ante. Later on, he'd notice the card he could have played, everyone would cry "Grandpa!" and he'd apologize. While it seems like such a move would benefit the other players -- the object of the game is to play all your cards before anyone else and thus win the ante pot -- it can be strategic to hold up a card everyone else really needs to be on the board. So of course if you can play anything, you must play something. That's the No Grandpas rule.

Hub 1.0 and I added a house rule of our own. It's the "Please Play" rule, and it's limited to sevens. Remember that you can't play a six or an eight until the seven is down, and you can't play anything lower until the six is played, or higher until the eight is played. Therefore, if one player was dealt all the sevens, the game's going to get off to a slow start while that person plays the sevens seriatim. Which is fine, but if that person also has some sixes or eights in addition to their sevens, it might be a long time before all the sevens get played. So we felt that it was only fair to be allowed to "request" that a seven be played.

Last night, Starman went to yoga. Hope was there. As we know, she reads this blog regularly. (...but never comments! -- ed.) Hope gently asked Starman, "Is Magdalen ever going to blog again?" and it had the effect on me similar to asking me to play that last seven in my hand.

So, with apologies for the long, long delay, here's my post on Mimi's ability to dismantle a perfectly inoffensive throwing toy.

This is a lovely toy. It has a nice Frisbee-esque quality in the air, and yet is soft enough around the edges not to hurt a dog's tender gums. It's constructed out of very stiff, thick black nylon. Think kids' backpacks -- that sort of material.

This is Mimi "playing" with her lovely throwing toy. This activity is much preferred over just catching it in her mouth. Oh, she started by running & catching, but then she'd worry it vigorously, thrashing her head back and forth to subdue the thing. Finally she got a foot on it and tugged. And tore. And ripped.

Ah, lovely black nylon throwing toy, we hardly knew ye. Rest in peace.

P.S. If you want to know more on Michigan Rummy, let me know. I looked for an appropriate site to link you to, but they appear to play a different version of the game. And they wouldn't include the house rules!

1 comment:

  1. You got me!!! I am leaving a comment.. Glad to see you are ok. I know part of the delay of blogging was because Tiger had your attention.

    Would love to learn Michigan Rummy. If you and Starman are up to teaching ...Scooter and I are up to learning!!
    Is the rumor true you might be helping in the granola making department? Would love to have you help!!! If not, maybe we will see each other at the Strawberry Festival . Weather permitting!