Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Game of Chinese Checkers

Wendy and I discovered some features in the newer version of Skype, plug-ins that allow Skype users to play classic games with each other. One of those games is the classic Chinese Checkers, and we have enjoyed a game together from time to time when we needed a quick pause from work.

I find these simple events a marvel of the modern age, and it takes such technology to refresh old memories that are recast in a new light. When I was growing up, I spent time at my grandmother's house, brought by my mother in tow. I was a curious dawdler and easily amused. That is where the board games came in, those seemingly simple treasures that could capture a young lad's attention for hours on end. You know these games by heart as well as I do: Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Sorry, Uno, and Go Fish to name just a few. But of all these games, I remember one most vividly: Chinese Checkers.

On a warm, sunny afternoon, I can remember the faint scent of lightly breaded chicken pieces and potato salad of an earlier lunchtime meal. On the table afterwards was a simple game board with stone pieces strewn about. Dot by dot, they filled up the board as I played across from my grandmother, with whoever joined in. A simple game of hopping stones, separately or one over the other, to pass from one side of the board to the other. Someone inevitably discovered the least path of resistance, at which time all stones were unturned to refill the holes on a newly cleared board. Game after game, this ritual could go on for an hour or so, until my little hands became tired or my mother whisked me away to the next event.

So it is with my brief interludes with Wendy. I am reminded of fond memories in these short games, same feelings evoked as when a child playing across from my grandmother - only now the pieces are digital, the board is virtual, and Wendy is far away from here (she in Denver and I in DC). A game of Chinese Checkers can do that, though - no matter what age we find ourselves in.
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