Playing Real Cards

Spring break is a thing of beauty — a respite to re-charge the batteries before one last charge until the end of the school year. Having spring break for the first time in 20 years has been wonderful.
My family, some friends and I went to Lake Fausse Pointe State Park. I took books to read, but I did my best not to read them. When I start a book, I tend to escape from everything around me. Being at Lake Fausse
Pointe with family and friends was exactly where I wanted to be.

Though I love to read, I wanted to be as present as I could while we had the time together. However, that did not stop me from enjoying another guilty pleasure – playing Solitaire. Remember the kind you used to play – with a real deck of cards? Playing Sol is bubble-gum for my mind, but still allows me to take part in what’s going on around me.

When I was a kid (although my great-grandmother frowned on cards mightily), we played a lot of cards. My father fancied himself the guru of all card games and would often offer commentary that went something like this, “In real cards, they’d shoot you for doing that.”

I never knew where my father learned the ins and outs of “real cards,” but some of his observations stuck with me. Until this day, when some innocent takes a card back after releasing it, I do my best to stifle the soundtrack in my head.
“In real cards, they’d shoot you for that.”

Another of his Real Card rules took Solitaire to a whole different level for me. Apparently, in the land of Real Cards, you buy a deck of cards to play Solitaire for $52. Then, once your game is done, the imaginary Real Card people pay you $5 for each card you get “up top,” with the Aces.

Until this week, I haven’t played Sol in years, but all of my father’s card rules started running through my head the instant I picked up the deck.

Friends and family offered counsel on beating my invisible competitor. I resisted the urge to tell them that in Real Cards, they could be shot for such an offense.

Late into a game, a friend suggested I move an already-placed card to another stack. I explained that such a move would be cheating, and cheating wasn’t allowed in Real Cards.
But the real reason I didn’t do it was not so much about high and mighty personal ethics. Nope, I figured out long ago that if I cheated at Sol, I’d be able to move cards around. If I didn’t cheat at Sol and continued playing another game, I’d still be moving cards around. So what was the benefit in cheating? I got no satisfaction from “winning” by cheating — and on the rare occasion when I did win at Real Cards, my victory was all-the-sweeter.

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