I survived the family vacation, but I’m not sure I can say the same for my nephew’s kids.
When he and his wife arrived with their four, very well behaved, little girls they looked something like this.
They sat quietly, shared their toys without complaint and volunteered to clean up.
However, after the residents of Crazie Town taught them how to have pillow fights, how to rip the winning Slap Jack card from their little sister’s hand and how to shout taunts of “DRAW BABY, DRAW” while playing vicious games of Uno, they looked like this.
As I was apologizing to my nephew for his daughters latest Slap Jack fight, he said it reminded him of the time he came to visit Crazie Town as a kid and we played some evil game called Spoons.
“Spoons?” his eldest daughter asked. “What’s Spoons?”
“Oh, nothing,” I said. “It’s kind of like musical chairs only with cards and spoons. You probably wouldn’t like it any way.”
Five minutes later she quietly sidled up beside me and laid a stack of spoons on the table. “Teach me this game…” her eyes searched mine, hungry for knowledge…”this game called Spoons.”
I hesitated, not sure if she was ready for such an evil activity because here are the “rules” as they are known in Crazie Town.
1. Remove all chairs and pull dining room table into the center of the room.
2. Place spoons (one less than number of players) in center of table.
3. Players stand around the edge of the table. Note: Taller or gullible people are to be assigned the corners.
4. Shuffle several decks of cards together and deal four to each player.
5. Dealer draws one card from the deck. He/She keeps it toward their match or passes it face down to the next person who picks it up and does the same.
6. When a player manages to get three of a kind they calmly reach for a spoon, as does everyone else.
7. The spoon-less person earns a letter toward the spelling of the word S-P-O-O-N. (Or the spelling of LOSER, IDIOT, etc.)
In Crazie Town, rule number six is…shall we say…negotiable.
I remember a game where my older brother chased me through the dining room and kitchen, up the stairs and into the attic where he wrenched the winning spoon from my hand. For some unknown reason, this was ruled “Fair Play” and thus, the game of Full Contact Spoons was born.
My first Thanksgiving dinner with my husband’s family almost ended in a trip to the emergency room when he thought it would be funny to sweep all the spoons onto the floor. Husband and his daughter chased a spoon across the living room, bumping into a large bookcase that would have crushed them had someone not grabbed it at the last minute. (Said person never releasing control of their precious spoon, of course.)
I once taught the game to a dozen, quite civilized, British people who, within ten minutes were standing atop a fifteen foot long antique harvest table wrestling and screaming for spoons. The tournament came down to two men, my husband being one of them. The other being a proud gay man. (As an aside…this proud gay man loved to sunbathe nude. The first day of our trip, he came strolling out of the house naked and plopped himself down next to my husband whose only reaction was to ask “could you point that thing the other direction?) But I digress. On this particular evening of the Spoons game that came down to two men, we quickly chose sides and stood behind our Olympians shouting our support. Year’s later, the results are still disputed and arguments deteriorate into who saved whom in what war.
Is that the kind of activity in which a little seven year old girl should be participating?
My better judgement did prevail and my niece left the family vacation for home without the knowledge of This Game Called Spoons.
At least until next year.