Sunday, May 20, 2007

Card game for a past time, anyone?

Every weekend, the laminated table at the far end of the kitchen of an old bungalow along Moneta Avenue serves as a favorite rendezvous. They are not holding a closed door meeting, so they say. Instead, they are there to while away the time, not exercising but playing a card game, now becoming an inseparable part of their lives.

The players, comprising mostly of veteran pensioners, wouldn't start until the table is complete by calling each of them to their favorite rendezvous. But the game doesn't start until after lunch time, when everybody has eaten their meals. That would free the host from preparing anything for them to eat anymore.

To most of them, each session proves to be another way of learning from each other new tricks of the game, plus the sharing of the latest news developments at home. Here, they learn to trade jokes and share solutions to family-related problems.

One of the couples, who happened to be witnessing the game, said that they are not in good terms with their daughter-in-law because she tends to look down upon them. "That's the reason why we tried our best to rent a room for the two of us," the couple lamented. In America, this problem is becoming a growing trend among parents and in-laws, who seemed unable to come to proper terms, while staying under one roof. A relative has experienced the same problem.

The above problem is only part among the issues that crop up during a well played card game, where new set of cards is preferred for use every time they congregate for a measly bets of loose quarters. But mind you, as the hours move on, the bets in the middle of the table had already accumulated.

Most of the players are pensioners, but for one who is still working at a health care facility in Torrance, who just wanted to let go of her boredom away. According to Ilde Ponso, a pensioner himself and former aide to a former Carson mayor, "we just want to make use of our time," he explains. "This is much better than sitting in the room, watching television all day long," he adds.

Perhaps, he is right. Medical studies showed that many of the retirees are stuck in their homes because of immobility. Sometimes, ailments prevent them from moving around, unless with the help of somebody else who cares for the elderly.

On the contrary, the card players are in high spirits. Smiles are on their faces as they kill the time away. However, there is no assurance that many of them will make it there forever, but at least it gives them temporal pleasure at the expense of the host's generosity, who welcomes them every time they call for a well-spent session.


To the uninitiated, playing cards may have originated in China in the 10th century, when the Chinese began using paper dominoes by shuffling and dealing them in new games. But the cards we use today are derived from the French, who gave us the suits of spades, clubs, diamonds, and the hearts and the use of simple shapes and flat colors.

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