Cards are fun, according to Hoyle and Bob

Cards are fun, according to Hoyle and Bob by Bob Karolevitz Phyllis and I like to play gin rummy.

I beat her a lot, and she says I�m lucky � but she keeps coming back for more.

Actually, it�s a good game for a couple. We could play cribbage, but I have trouble counting to 15 with my shoes on. (I also tried playing pitch a couple times at our American Legion feather parties; I gave it up when everybody threw in their cards and the game ended, while I was still trying to decide what cards the dealer had given me.)

While her parents were still alive, we used to play whist. My partner was always Phyllis�s mother, and we always won because we were skilled, and Phyllis and her dad were not. At least that�s how I remember it.

I always thought the game was Norwegian because it was played in the Lutheran church where everybody was a lutefisk-eater! I looked it up, though, and discovered that it was English � and even William Shakespeare mentioned it in one of his plays.

Edmond Hoyle was British, too; and as early as 1742 he published a �Short Treatise in Whist� which caused the game to spread, even to the Uff da crowd.

Phyllis and I don�t play bridge because it�s too complicated for us. Besides that, I once took a vow on a troop ship never to get hooked on the game like my fellow passengers who were so involved that they forgot we were heading to a war zone.

Apparently the Chinese invented playing cards, but the Koreans, the Egyptians, Arabs and Hindus also lay claim to the first pasteboards (although they never called them that then). One thing is certain: it was a long, long time ago!

The suits which we�re all familiar with came from the French; Trefle became clubs, Pique became spades, Carreau became diamonds and Coeur became hearts. When playing cards came to America, the Puritans called them �the devil�s picture book� and the them and many other Protestants, it was sinful even to have playing cards in the house. Of course, cards were used also for fortune telling and gambling.

P.S. (Phyllis Speaking): always searching for a �new twist� (kidding, of course) Bob dictated the last 2 paragraphs of this column at 3:45 a.m. while lying on a stretcher in the emergency room at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton ? ( yes, he�s back in the hospital after being dismissed from that institution on Feb. 7).

The way I look at it, that has to be true devotion to his faithful readers! But, at the same time I�m beginning to think he enjoys receiving all that wonderful care!

At this point he�s doing okay while undergoing tests ? so wait until next week for details in this continuing saga!

� 2004 Robert F. Karolevitz

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