I was sitting at the kitchen table in our kitchen playing a game of cards. I was playing Spider. Spider has many ways to play all with different levels of difficulty. The most difficult way to play is two full decks of cards. You can adjust the difficulty by removing suits. I was playing with all four suits and had never come close to winning.
I played the last card and made a little jubilant sound. My mother who was walking through the room asked me what the sound was for and I excitedly told her “I won! I never win at this game”. She of course asked me what I was playing and I told her Spider to which she replied “I always win”. I stopped cold for a moment and then realized she must play the easier version so I explained that I was playing two decks, all four suits. She gave me a baffled look and said that was the only way she played and then calmly walked away.
That was thirty years ago and still, every time I open a game of Spider on the most difficult level I think of my mother and wonder. I may not be a great card player but I am reasonably intelligent. I have probably played hundreds of games of spider and have won less than one percent. So what’s the deal?
Was my mom that much more intelligent than me? Was she just confused? Was she *gasp* lying?
I think it’s entirely possible she was smarter than me, we seem to have some sort of smart gene in our family. Not bragging, we just seem to know stuff. Maybe I am actually not as smart as I think I am? Perhaps I am actually super unintelligent and just do not know it?
Could she have not understood what I was saying? Well, communication was never a strong suit in our house. It was more a she who screams loudest and holds the belt is right. My mother intimidated me by just looking at me with a very cold expression. So perhaps. Maybe even as an adult I wasn’t able to articulate as well as I thought I could.
Was she lying? There are many things you could say about my mother, but I would never for one moment think she would lie, about anything.
I had this story all planned in my head until I typed that last line. Suddenly I remembered some very important things she lied about, but no to me. She had quite a few things going on in her life that did not include her husbands, which of course has now reminded me of another thing. Why do I plan things to write?
I called my mother one day and told her about a dream I had. I dreamt that I walked into a diner to meet her for lunch and she was unexpectedly sitting with a man. I sat down in the booth, it was one of those half round bench seats, and said hello to them with that slightly quizzical upward lilt at the end, to which she said “I thought it was time you met your real father”.
So I am on the phone with my mother and tell her this dream, it goes very quiet on the phone and then she says.........”and how did that make you feel”? What the heck mom!
My mom has been gone a long time now and there are a few things I would ask her if I could. One would definitely be how did you win at Spider??