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Monday, April 19, 2010

Started as "just" an idea!

Today while I was walking to the store to buy a few things I needed, I passed a Rest Home and Rehabilitation Center. Several months ago I had an idea: walk into a Rest Home, see if any of the residents would want to play cards with me.

Decided to walk in...signed the guest book at the entrance and wrote I was visiting the Activities Director...talked to the supervisor, she thought it was a positive idea, so I proceeded to try to find a resident who would be interested!! I talked to one of the residents in a wheelchair and she said, I know a resident who likes to play cards....follow me! =) So I walked down the hall with her to Clarence's room.

She peeked in his room and announced to him he had a visitor. Then I walked in and we said Hi. He was very nice and friendly. We exchanged some pleasant conversation as I told him I was looking for someone to play cards with. It was now 2:15 PM. He said he and some others had a Pinochle game planned for 3PM. efforts were getting off to a slow start. But I knew, that a lot of times get off to a slow start, but then turn out really great, so I kept talking and relaxed. We talked some more, then he taught me how to play Black Jack, which, I found out is simply another name for 21!! We were enjoying our conversation and our time together.

As 3PM approached we started off down the hall to the activities room for the scheduled Pinochle game.

Clara was there waiting. We talked a little while we waited for Paul to arrive. I mentioned I had never played Pinochle before and really didn't have a clue how to play!! So, Clarence and Clara dealt us a hand from their Pinochle deck and we laid our cards on the table and they proceeded to explain the rules. Then I left my cards on the table and they picked up their hands and we started to play a practice game. As it turned out there are a lot of complicated strategy moves in Pinochle!! My mind was swimming with all they were telling me. BUT I was absorbing their ideas.... a little at a time.

About 10 minutes later Paul showed up. We gathered the cards, shuffled and dealt them to the four of us. Since Pinochle is best played with teams, I was now Paul's team player and Clara and Clarence were our challengers. Amazing timing!! They needed a fourth player and I arrived just in time!!!! =) There are so many variables and strategies I was still feeling quite lost. So for the next several hands I had to pass my hand to Paul to help me know what to bid. They were all so nice and patient and I was working as hard and fast as I could to catch on. We were having a great time!!

Clarence was 82 and had spent his career as a physicist for a company in NJ. He was very sophisticated and intelligent and had so many great insights on life....very interesting to talk to. Paul was in his late 50's (like me), a former cop and later worked for many years with the Federal Drug and adminstration Dept, but his health was very compromised by diabetes...he had had a quadruple by-pass surgery and also was going through physical therapy for a stroke. He was at the residence for rehabilitation and was hoping to be out eventually. Clara was in her late 70's and had health issues also...but what I remember is that she said she had been part of two Pinochle Clubs in her earlier years, she was a master player!!

We played for 2 hours, then they invited me to have dinner with them! Then we continued our game from 6:30 to 8, when visiting hours were over. We had soooo much fun!! By the end I was getting it and doing my own bidding and playing...I was still making some obvious mistakes, but they were just so glad I had come in they didn't care. I was very glad I had come in too.

At 8PM I had to go, visiting hours were over, we said good-bye and I was gone!

I probably will never be back to this place , as I move around so much....but I think I will probably definitely find another place to go. It was hard to carry out on the decision to walk into the Home, present myself and my idea, but I was well received and it was a very positive experience, so I'll see what happens from here!!