My dad loved to play card games. He passed that love on to me and then I passed that love on to my daughter, Tara.
Unfortunately, my dad was a notoriously sore loser. My first memories of card games were of my parents playing 500 Rum with my aunt and uncle every Saturday evening beginning when I was 3 or 4.
Whenever my mom and dad would fall far behind in points, my dad would start to cuss, rip up every playing card and then stomp out to sulk in the backyard.
I never understood why people would let him get away with that ridiculous behavior. My mom and my aunt and uncle would never say a word to him, never chide him about it, they would just continue to get together every weekend to play 500 Rum. Then watch another repeat performance of my dad’s immaturity.
I cannot imagine how much money my dad must have spent replacing all of those decks of cards. He must have bought them 3 or 4 at a time because there were always spare decks of cards in the house at all times.
My dad taught me how to play two-handed euchre when I was 12 and we both mutually loved that card game. I soon learned that my dad never held back and “played nice” just because I was first learning.
I had to learn to sink or swim and quickly learn the strategies of the game because he would gleefully stomp me into the ground. But I soon learned the nuances of euchre.
One day I was feeling cocky and I began to tease and taunt my dad into picking up cards to be named trump, knowing all the while that if he did pick that card up, I would easily euchre him.
My taunting kept working! He was picking up cards he had no business picking up to be named trump and I would then cream him and take every trick in a euchre.
The score was soon 9-0 in my favor. My dad was now fuming mad and I was secretly chuckling about this reversal of what usually happened in our euchre games.
My dad was now so rattled, he was second and third-guessing his actions. He kept picking up the card, putting it back down, picking it up again and putting it back down.
He finally passed, turned the card over and I named trump and creamed him again, trouncing him in a solid win.
My dad stood up and began yelling at me. “You set me up! You kept taunting me and daring me to pick up cards and that’s why I lost! Because of you!”
Then he grabbed up a bunch of the cards to begin ripping them up.
I immediately slammed my hands down on top of his hands holding those cards. I then leaned over the table, looked him dead in the eye and told my dad, “If you rip up even one card, I will never, ever play cards with you again. You knew you had no business picking up those cards to make them trump so how is it my fault? I didn’t hold a gun to your head! You lost, dad, fair and square. And I mean it, I won’t ever play another card game with you again if you now choose to act like a spoiled brat!”
“I’m your father and you should not talk like that to me! You’re supposed to treat me with respect!”
“I can’t treat you with respect if you act like a two year old! So please act like a father and set a good example for me on how not to be a sore loser!”
And then I removed my hand and sat back and stared at him. My heart was pounding because I had openly rebelled against him and I was wondering with tense anticipation what would he do now?
He pushed his chair back, muttering under his breath, as he walked away to go to the bathroom. I sat there, not sure what I should do now. Do I put the cards away? Should I run away? Now what?
He came back, sat down, and gruffly told me to shuffle the cards and get another game going. I won again but he just muttered, “Good game” and got up and walked away, without ripping up one single card. And he never tried to do that with me again in all of the many years of card games after that.
I always stressed to my daughter, Tara, that knowing how to lose with grace and dignity was just as important as knowing how to win without bragging or arrogance. That the joy and fun in playing cards or games is just in the playing, not whether you win or lose.
So my dad did manage to teach me some very important lessons after all!
One kind of winning Euchre hand