Tuesday, September 6, 2016

8-Minute Memoir: Uno

I saw this over on Life of Bon and figured this 100 days project was as good a time as any to write some of these myself. (The original, with all the prompts, is by Ann Dee Ellis.) I'm going to jump in and out of this when the topic strikes--this one, on "games," totally did. Oh and full disclosure, I didn't follow the 8 minute rule this time. 

The game showed up, as most things do when you’re 12, in my carry-on backpack. I don’t remember learning the rules or playing for the first time. Maybe it was on the plane? Maybe it was before we even left for Italy, at the kitchen table or in the backyard. Maybe it was neither of those things.

But for that summer, and a couple after that, we played Uno every chance we got.

On the porch, sitting at that rickety white table that also held our just-off-the-line clothes, folded and divided up by grandchild. On the bed, sitting cross-legged on top of a white, crotched bedspread, my cousin calling out “draw four weeld,” instead of wild.

On a picnic in the mountains, sitting at that weathered wooden table surrounded by small white plastic cups of wine and soda, plates of spaghetti and slices of watermelon, when we all started looking at each other as more than just friends. When I can still name that t-shirt and that cassette tape and the smell of that nail polish, the bright blue and the dark purple.

This was our currency. Later, it would be 4am’s and slow walks home. It would be beer and the beach, sitting on the front stairs, the church stairs, the back stairs. Later, it would be so much more.

But for now, we had this game. The cards had symbols instead of words, so there was no translating and explaining the rules was simple. Reverse, skip a turn, draw two. That mustard yellow and the bright red, the worn-in pack at the end of a month, of six weeks.  

We played all the time, maybe because we liked it or maybe because we liked how it brought everyone together, wherever we happened to be. Or maybe it was because uno is the same in both languages, and if nothing else, that was a start.

photo credit: New years eve via photopin (license)

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