By Marion Brennan Pratt
I was the kind of mom who did not like to play board games or card games with my children. However, after an entire day of summer rowdiness, I would, against my better judgment, round everybody up to settle down and play a board game. I announced that I would play only as long as they could behave themselves. They assured me wholeheartedly by the shaking of their little heads that they would be good. Now that I had their solemn promise, I was ready to proceed.
The game usually involved the throwing of dice. Why did I not ever recognize that as a bad sign? As soon as the board and all the little cards were put out in their places and the money was passed out, can’t forget the money, some one of the little darlings would swoop up the dice and start rattling them in his hand while the rest yelled that it was not his turn. In the meantime the little colored bells that would eventually mark our progress could not be found. Two kids took off to the hall closet where the games were lodged to look for the bells. Momentarily I heard a crash which sounded like games tumbling down around themselves to finally settle on the floor. A “whoop” was let out and we were informed that the bells had materialized.
Now to get back to the guy with the dice. After finally convincing him that everyone needed to throw one di to determine the order of play, he ended up with the highest number and was the one to start the game anyway. Wouldn’t you just know. I took the dice up in my hand and I demonstrated how to throw them without having them leave the table. He took the dice from me, shook them over his head long enough for the other players to threaten to impart bodily harm on him if he didn’t hurry up. He then lowered his hands to half-mast, and with a great heave-ho opened his hands and let fly with five dice that took off like rockets around the room ricocheting off the stove, the refrigerator and any other solid object. We still play that game with four dice because we never did find the fifth one. I have an idea that it’s under the refrigerator but that would mean pulling it out and while it’s out of course any sane person would clean behind it. I figure that’s a lot of work for one little plastic cube with dots on it when four of ‘em work just fine.
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So, back to the game. We just get started again and the phone rings for one of the girls. I say “Tell her you will call her back” “ok, just a second, mom.” We all sit there at the table twiddling our thumbs and finally I say “Don’t make me get up.” “I gotta go, mom’s freakin’ out,” she whispers. She plops herself on to her chair with a murderous look and I say “If you are going to sulk you can go in the other room.” “Well then I might as well have stayed on the phone,” she says. There was an audible gasp from the siblings. She herself regretted her candid observations. So much so that she was off her chair and into the living room in a flash.
Going back to the game again: as we are moving bells, reading cards and shaking dice, yes they were on the floor several more times, the discovery was made that one of the participants had been hording his money. When he didn’t have enough money to pay up in certain instances, they let him go free because they didn’t want the game to end. Imagine how perfectly incensed they were when they discovered he had more money than they did. Need I tell you that the game ended when the villain lunged for the back door with the siblings in hot pursuit, including the one from the living room. I could hear them screaming and laughing as they ran around the back yard in the dark. I always meant to clean out that closet and throw all those games away but I never did, not until I noticed one day that they didn’t play those silly games any more. Then it was a sad job. I would have been better off throwing them away when I was mad. It would have been a lot easier.
Marian Brennan Pratt held the position of Church Secretary at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in the Village of Emmett, Michigan for 24 years. She has four grown children: Barbara, Suzanne, Bernie and Steve, seven grandchildren: Daniel, Kaitlynn, Emily, Ashley, Taylor, Brennan and Benjamin, one great-grandchild: Paislee and another on-the-way. While a member of the community, she joined the ladies of the parish in a Book Club, was a member of Daughters of Isabella #452 and a past member of the Village Council. Marian lives in Port Huron now and has always been interested in Journalism which led to her joining the staff of St. Stephen’s High School newspaper, the Stephecho. She has written several articles for the Emmett News and has had a book published, entitled “Emmett Township”, part of the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing which plays a large part in the preservation of local heritage.