You Win Some

If you’ve been a loving parent of a young child just learning to play Candy Land, you know the quandary: do I let them win, do I stack the deck so that they will draw the double purple card, or do I teach them to lose well, you know in case they grow up to be a Dallas Cowboys fan or something.

That quagmire is even deeper and more daunting when you’re a grandparent and your mission in life is for your beautiful grandchildren to never, ever know loss, disappointment, heartache or failure of any kind.

Harper & Pops & Checkers

Harper & Pops & Checkers

My grandfathers were real men, not weepy, whiny, bleeding-heart liberals like me. I played checkers with my maternal grandfather. He was a well digger and used cuss words in normal conversation. I know he never intentionally, out of pity, sympathy or compassion or anything else, ever LET me win a game. I know this because I never won a single game of checkers against him.

The game of choice of my paternal grandfather was dominoes. The occasion of letting me win or not never arose because I was never allowed to play. Seats at the domino table was reserved for serious players who could count their own points, not put their partner in jeopardy and pretty well knew the dominoes in every players hand half way through the round.

Sometimes you wonder if maybe sometimes some Adults out there, including me, had too many people in our lives who LET them win a few times too many.

What about this? Wouldn’t it be nice if KD would come back “home” Saturday night and do something to sort of help his old team win one. I’m referring of course to the game this Saturday, between the OKC Thunder and the GS Warriors, and the first time Kevin Durant will return to OKC for a game since his midnight abandonment of us a few months back. I guess that would be a hollow win wouldn’t it. I tell you what I would really like to see, not that I’m a sore loser or anything, but I would love to see KD hold Draymond Green down while Steven Adams kicks him in that place where no man likes to be kicked. Of course the sweetest victory of all would be one where the Warriors (with the exception Green, of course) play one of their best games and still lose to our Thunder.

When it comes to playing checkers with Harper, I don’t actually LET her win, but I also don’t stand in the way of her being a bit creative with the game. For example, apparently in Harper’s version of the game, she can earn a third checker on her “kinged” pair. That makes for an omnipotent King that can pretty much move anywhere at anytime. You have to watch out for those omnipotent rulers. It’s hard to beat them no matter how well youplay.

Some wise person said, “When the game is over, all the pieces go back in the box.”

Or as my mother and the mothers of other frequent losers used to say: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game that counts.”

Did The Best One Win?

THE VOTES WERE CAST AND COUNTED. Maybe you agree with the final outcome, maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re indifferent to it all. Maybe you have a sense of justice about it all or maybe you feel like the system’s rigged.

Does the guy deserve some respect? Has he earned it? Maybe it’s all a popularity contest. Some don’t like his style. Most, at least here in Oklahoma, seem to love him, like he can do no wrong. Maybe if it weren’t for those voters out on the west coast, it would have looked more certain, more decisive.

Does he deserve to be the top guy?

YES! In my humble opinion, Russell Westbrook deserves to be the starting point guard on the Western Division All-Star Team. No doubt about it.

Baby It's Cold Outside

THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS I'M GLAD I'M NOT: doctor, infectious disease scientist, activities director on a cruise ship, podiatrist, weatherman/meteorologist.

Maybe back in the day I wouldn’t have minded being a weatherman. Back then they didn’t claim to be able to predict ice storms a month in advance, convincing people to empty grocery shelves like maybe they would never have the chance to buy bread, milk and chicken noodle soup ever again.

I know they have really high-tech stuff they trust and love. I know they REALLY want to be able to run promos on TV after power has been restored telling how they were the first to predict the frozen future.

We can all appreciate wanting to be first. Who wouldn’t want to be able to say, “We tried to warn you!” But do they ever feel bad for prognosticating with such certainty and doom that schools shut down across the land, that people hunker down for a winter like we haven’t seen since the settlers crossed this land decades ago searching for the beaches of sunny California.

It’s kind of like those poor end-times preachers, who have solved the puzzle of the second-coming--again. One of these days they will all be able to say, “See I told you so.”

If I were a weatherman, or end-times preacher, I think I would stick to what I know for sure. Of course, no one would listen because my weather report would be so obvious, no one would close school or gas up their generator, or rededicate their life because of anything I said.

Here's an example of what my weather report might sound like: I can speak with complete certainty regarding the weather right now. As I’m typing this, it is 29 degrees Fahrenheit in OKC, and it is literally colder than Hell, Michigan.

My Thanksgiving Table Pledge

I would be lying if I said I didn’t suffer an occasional case of schadenfreude. Maybe it’s just human nature. Maybe that isn’t a good excuse. Maybe I need to grow up. Maybe at 60-something, that’s unlikely. I’ve probably done all the growing up I’m going to do. Maybe, in fact, my state of maturity could be in regression.

Still, every time the wind catches that crazy comb-over, so beloved by our P-elect-OTUS, I can’t help but enjoy it. Now there’s a discussion topic for the Thanksgiving Table: Bad Hairdos of Famous People. Speaking of orange, let’s include HFC@OSU Mike Gundy. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy for the success of his Cowboys, but seriously does he not have a friend anywhere who can explain that mullets fall deeply in the category along with comb-overs as Most Riculous Hair Styles Ever? I know, I know, I’m BALD. But at least I can blame my do on genetics.

Back to the subject of appropriate table conversation—I was at a department store the other day buying a new shirt that might not show the gravy and cranberry stains that will undoubtedly be on it post-meal. I overheard a couple of salespersons:

SP1: I’m hosting our family for Thanksgiving. I plan to meet everyone at the door with a big glass of wine for each person.

SP2: Why?

SP1: We’ve got Trump Lovers and Trump Haters and I’m going to try to mellow them all out before the topic turns to politics.

SP2: I hear ya.

Hear Ye. Hear Ye. I have a proclamation to make. I do hereby, proclaim and promise that I will not talk politics at the Thanksgiving table.

You go first Louisa and get thine turkey started.

You go first Louisa and get thine turkey started.

I realize how problematic that is given that the Day itself is fraught with political stuff. So, I’ll adjust my pledge to not talk about politics after 1863, the year President Abraham Lincoln, at the height of the Civil War, established the Day in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”

Now that’s a proclamation I can get behind.

Also, off the table, so to speak, for me at the holiday table, is the topic of ailments, afflictions, infirmities, syndromesand other medical maladies.

Let me quickly add a clause to my official proclamation: my pledge doesn’t have to be your pledge. Of courseeveryone is free to talk about whatever they choose. Just don’t count on me to enter in to a discussion of American politics after 1863 or what hurts, leaks or needs to be replaced, and if the government (taxpayers) are going to pay for it. If the talk turns to those topics however, I won’t be offended, and certainly will not walk away from the table. I am fully on board with the cause to Make America Stuffed Again.

In preparation for the event(s), and in the event I’m called on to liven the discussion, I’ve been considering topics that might make for good conversation. Some ideas so far:

What does “Mary Had A Little Lamb” have to do with Thanksgiving? Did Mary still love her little lamb once it grew to be a cranky adult with patchy, yellowy fleece?

What is schadenfreude? Harmless fun or a manifestation of deep bitterness, and if so, can giving thanks cure it?

Best Christmas movie (not counting Hallmark movies) and why. Who would win the award for best actor in a holiday movie? Best actress? Best quote from a holiday movie.

Food Fun. Tryptophan: friend or foe? Myth or fact? Jello: why did anyone ever decide to put carrot shavings in orange Jello. Did someone say, “Hey, they’re both orange. Let’s combine them.” I am trying so hard to not make a joke about our first orange POTUS.

Black Friday vs. Football: Where do you stand? Is this Thanksgiving the way the Pilgrims imagined it? Could it be that they are mutually beneficial to family harmony? She says: “Fine sit around all weekend and watch football. I’m going shopping! He says: “Fine, bail on the family and go shopping. I’ll sit around all weekend and watch football.” Everybody wins.

Like I said, this is a work in progress. Feel free to make suggestions.

Perhaps I’ll just sit quietly, look around the table at the people I love and that say they love me, be deeply thankful and wonder if maybe I’ve become “That Uncle”.