Pick It Up – I’ll Go Alone

Euchre Cards

My stepson, Max, is in his second year of college.  Recently he was asked by some other students if he knew how to play Euchre.  His answer was no.  Frankly, I’m surprised he made it all the way to his second year before even being asked that question.  Euchre is a Michigan college student’s right of passage.  I guess maybe all the video games have taken precedence in college life.

However, when Max was home at Thanksgiving, he asked Mark and me if we knew how to play.  Our eyes lit up.  Visions of right and left bowers danced in our heads.  Not only that, but it was something we could do.  And do fairly well.  Unlike the dreaded video games and the confounded fumbling of our klutzy fingers, this was a chance to show our prowess at a game.  Never mind the majority of the game is chance; there is a tad of finesse in how to lay down those cards.

We pulled in Charlie as a fourth.  Charlie negotiated an extra movie for Jess to keep her occupied and the game was on.  Mark and Charlie vs. Max and me.  Yes, if there is one thing I know, it is to never to partner with your significant other.  Relationships go sour over Euchre.  Trumping your partner’s Ace can mean a night spent with the goats.  We split the spouses and the brothers for a safer game.

We walked Charlie through the first few hands then set down for almost the real deal.  We broke Euchre etiquette and allowed table talk for our first game.  This helped Charlie learn things like leading with off-suit cards, letting your partner know if you have the left bower, short suiting your hand, etc.  It was a close game with Mark and Charlie pulling ahead at the end and beating Max and me by two points.

I’ve always looked forward to Max coming home.  I miss him when he’s gone.  But now, I almost can’t wait.  A Euchre tournament on Christmas vacation is like the angel on the tree.  A beer for Mark and hot chocolate for the rest of us.  The slap of the cards in rhythm to Christmas carols on the iPod dock.  The smell of victory mingled with the pine scent of the tree.  Yes, it will be an old-fashioned (maybe even almost video game free) Christmas.