Write a story or a poem in the form of one of your memories. The catch: you must write this memory from another person’s point of view.
Not With Her
by Heather L Campbell
May 28, 2014
I was sitting at the table playing cards. I was smoking my cigar and enjoying my beer. My wife was in the living room with her nephews family talking about what I don’t know.
We never had children, the wife and I. She was a career woman working at Bergdorf Goodmans, I had mine at the Standard Oil Company.
Her sister had passed away nine years ago. She was the mother of 6, and now all these nieces and nephews had added to the family. (by the time the last child was born, there were a total of 19 children) I tried to be as tolerant as I could when they visited and brought their children around.
As long as they didn’t bother me, I didn’t bother them. We lived near NYC in an apartment but we had bought a summer home in a lake community. Often the parents would take the children down to swim in the lake.
When my wife had her family picnic’s everyone would all be out in the back yard but the kids would run in to use the bathroom.
My pet peeve was they all let the screen door bang.. so when they entered I would shout out right away from the living room, “Don’t slam the door.” (I often would do the obligatory time outside and then sneak into house and see if there was a game on the TV to watch.)
This day we were playing three handed Pinochle. My wife’s brother in law Jerry had come to visit with his oldest son and his son’s family. When our game ended we decided to see if one of the women wanted to play so we could play partners.
Unfortunately they refused. Then the younger girl who was about eleven spoke up.
“I’ll play Pinochle with you! I’d love to play! ” Heather excitedly offered.
“NO.” I immediately said. “I am not playing Pinochle with a child”
Again I asked the woman if they would play. They refused.
My nephew spoke up and said, “Uncle Al, I taught her how to play a year ago and she’s actually pretty good”
“NO.” I insisted… I didn’t care how much they wanted to play partners. It just wouldn’t be any fun.
Then Jerry spoke up. “Let’s give her a chance Al.”
I thought about it…and it crossed my mind it could be fun, if she was not my partner. What a great plan…either of them and myself as partners, we would be unbeatable. So I gave in, but with one condition. I relented and said, “Okay she can play, but I do NOT want her as my partner.”
The look on all their faces was priceless.
There was a pause and then Jerry announced, “ I’ll tell you what Al, Heather can be my partner.”
Heather almost leaped off the couch. She could not get to the empty chair fast enough.
What a dope Jerry was being. I guess it was because he was her Grandfather. I was not only sure it would be a fast game but a slam dunk… and the two of them would lose big time. She was a kid… just how good could she be? She had only played with her parents. Jerry would not like losing at all.
It was not the game I expected. It was a fast game and it was a slam dunk… but, they were beating us. Who knew a kid could play Pinochle so well?
Jerry and Heather clearly were having fun… and worked well as partners… and indeed they won hand after hand and no matter how hard we tried we just did not win enough hands to keep up. Soon, they beat us. I didn’t expect Heather to play so well.
Jerry gathered up all the cards and started shuffling. He then asked, “Do you want to play another game?”
Before Heather or her father could answer I spoke up..
“I’ll play only if Heather is my partner this time”
Heather beamed and everyone smiled.
This is a true story. My late parents taught me and my older sister Pinochle so they could play. It is a game for 3 or 4 people. My father knew I could play well but my late Grandfather didn’t. I was thrilled he said he would be my partner. I think the whole thing amused my Dad. I don’t think he was disappointed when he and my late Great Uncle Al lost. He winked at me when we won that last hand so I think he was proud of me.
I knew my Uncle Al did not like children very much. He was more of what I thought was a mans man. He had been a marine from the first world war.
I always felt like I had won one for “the team”. My uncle treated us all like we were pests.
My father had taught me how to play chess when I was 6. I understood the importance of having a strategy. I did very well when I played card and board games once I understood the game. It was one of the few things I was good at. My parents made it clear to me growing up that my sister was the “smart one” and I was not. I think motivated me to work harder to win. to impress them.