Mass closures everywhere are forcing people to stay at home. Bored kids, banned from school, are likely driving their parents nutty. Too much 24-hour news reports fill us with a sense of doom. Bloggers are writing endless posts about staying calm. I am one of them.
When I was a child living on an Iowa farm, we endured countless blizzards keeping us sequestered. As farmers, we had food on hand so there were no worries about eating. Most of the time the power went out, and we lived by candlelight and my grandma cooked on an old coal-burning stove in the basement. In the sixties, there were no cell phones, no internet, no 24-hour television stations. That alone would send today’s world straight to Nutville.
I don’t remember ever being bored. What I do remember are marathon card games; rummy, tripoley, and sometimes just solitaire. We played another card game that involved betting with pennies, but I can’t remember the name. My uncle Fred and I battled to the death and near wore out our Monopoly board. But mostly what I remembered was sitting at the kitchen table with my family and having fun.
Outside, the snow was blowing and there were drifts several feet tall. My grandfather tied a rope from the house and stretched it to the barn, so he could find his way through the blowing snow to take care of the animals. We knew that the county snowplows would not be out until the snow stopped falling. In short, we were quarantined on the farm. I know I was a child, but I was very aware and astute for my age, and it seemed to me that we were content to allow Nature to take its course.
Perhaps this event serves to remind us of other times. Maybe this dependence upon technology and lack of face-to-face social connectedness has been more of a contributor to our undoing than we recognize. I believe there is often a greater underlying purpose to difficult events. So what is this situation doing? It is forcing people to stay home and face each other. To remember how to be a family and have fun together. To sit at a table and share a meal, talking and entertaining one another. To play games, or to maybe. . . just play.
So much seriousness these days that keeps everyone anxious and stressed. We think we need to be somewhere, doing something all the time, when instead we might just need to play and have fun.
I received the “Cheaters Version of Monopoly” as a retirement gift. Game time starts at 3:00. Any takers? Or should I say “Cheaters”?
Get your game on!