I remember my parents and their friends playing Canasta. They were probably younger than I am now, but they seemed like a bunch of old fogeys playing some silly old person game.
Well, welcome to Old Fogeyville, population me!
Clare, Marianne and I discovered Canasta about seven years ago. I had printed the rules off of the computer and one morning I was reading them aloud. Their eyes began to glaze over. "You are dealt 13 cards," I read. "But twos are special." I kept reading, "and threes are special, and sevens are special, oh, and aces are special." I could see it in their eyes, after "and threes are special" everything else I said was white noise.
I cajoled and pleaded and finally we sat down and started playing a few hands. We were addicted. But I must warn you, Canasta is complicated, and worth it. Even today we have to keep the rules close at hand. I still can't remember if you can play black threes in a meld or not. (Did I mention you get to learn some cool lingo? OK, not so cool, but lingo is lingo.)
This love affair lasted for fives years. We would get together in a cabin near Ellijay, Georgia and spend Fourth of July Weekend playing Canasta and watching the dvd's of Six Feet Under. Clare even has "canasta jammies" so she can roll out of bed in the morning ready to play, and then roll back into bed at night when the last episode of Six Feet is over.
Needless to say, we finished Six Feet Under. Marianne moved to Virginia, and yearly weekends ended. These will always be some of my favorite memories, the wine, the food, the cards and the tears (Six Feet Under is sad, you know.)
But... this story has a happy ending. Marianne has moved back to North Carolina. Alan Ball has a new show (True Blood which we have just started. Holey Moley, these ain't your mother's vampires.) I have have two decks of cards with their names on them. Here's to the new memories!
The moral of this story is: Love your friends. Spend time with them. When the end comes, have no regrets!
More later, I have to play my initial meld!
For the rules on how to play Canasta, click here.