August 22, 2007

hearts and diamonds - a love story with cards

When we were in our pre-parenting days and living in Anchorage, we clicked with another young couple. They were from Oklahoma. Neal & Sherri. We were there via Uncle Sam's commissioning, Neal was working for one of the oil companies. We were all relative newlyweds, and had all recently moved up from "the lower 48", so when we met that July Sunday morning in church, we had an instant bond. When we discovered our mutual love for card-playing, that bond became tighter. (Once we shared the births of our firstborn, born on the same day two years apart, we were intertwined for life.) But I digress. . .

Spades, hearts, rummy. Occasionally a game of Trivial Pursuit or Pictionary, but mostly cards. Every Friday night. We'd get together, usually at their house because they had a "real table" (we only had a card table, and a flimsy one at that). And we'd play. And play. And play. Often into the wee wee hours of the morning. Of course, this entailed supper and stories and snacks and long conversations about who we were, are and were going to be. Occasionally we were together so long by the time we got ready to leave at 2:30 or 3:00 in the morning, snow had blanketed the city so deeply we'd end up spending the night, cooking breakfast together the next morning, and playing cards again on Saturday.

As we got to know others, our group grew, sometimes to as many as 12 - Reynolds, Collins, Turneys, Trevithicks, Geratys, Kettners. Every Friday night, come rain, sleet or snow (usually the latter, as we were in Alaska), now usually meeting at our house, since we had the most room. Then somebody had the bright idea of "why don't we have a Bible study before we play games"? So we did. Voila - a small group was born, complete with lesson, food and fellowship, long before we ever heard of them in a church setting. As the evenings wound down and couples dispersed to their own homes, Neal & Sherri would stay with us until the very small hours of the morning. Undoubtedly this was one of the best times in our lives - for all of us. We still all feel very connected, though we don't see each other much anymore. Many of our kids, all of whom were nonexistent when we first became friends, have now gone off to college and stay acquainted via Facebook. Most of us have changed careers and locations several times. We are scattered from Illinois and Kentucky to Colorado and Washington. Only Neal & Sherri still reside in Alaska. I miss them often.

Last Friday night we played cards with some good Kentucky friends. Hearts to be exact. We got home at 2:30 a.m. Made me feel really young again. (Of course, I had to wear my glasses to distinguish hearts from diamonds, we had to pause between every hand so one of us could go to the bathroom, and we spent an hour "oohing and aahing" over vacation photos and trying to remember the names of people we used to know. Still . . . )


janjanmom said...

I request more Alaska stories. They need to be logged for family history's sake anyway!!

Unibrows ROCK!

Lesli said...

I love friends that you can spend that much time with & just be yourself. Those type of friends are few and far between. We miss some of ours in TX...:-(

A nice van...hmmm...the payments would be cheaper!! I'm exhausted, but we're having fun!! We still have one more trip after this Florida trip that we leave for tomorrow. In Sept., Ryan and I are going to Groton, CT for 6-7 days!!! Just the two of us!! After that, we'll be home for a while...I think. Well...home being E-town & Paducah. I'll have to mention the van idea to Ryan! heehee

Sherri said...

Those were great times. What wonderful memories and I do fully appreciate the special friendship we have with you. We really need to retire in the same town so we can resume those great Friday evenings. Let's work on it!