The card game that drew blood

Easy Does It

The Advance of Bucks County - - WORD ON THE STREET - Ge­orge Robin­son

Ex­cept for the blood, those card games that mother hosted years ago in the liv­ing room for her women’s club were ma­jor so­cial events. Ev­ery­body had a won­der­ful time, ex­cept me, of course, be­cause once it was my blood that got spilled be­fore the evening was over.

Do peo­ple still gather at other peo­ple’s homes to play cards? Or do they pre­fer the At­lantic City casi­nos for the same plea­sure once en­joyed in the com­fort of the home, and now rudely in­ter­rupted by po­lice­men find­Lng chLO­drHn wDLWLng Ln D cROd cDr Ln WhH park­ing garage?

The se­lec­tion of card games was all inclusive in those days when tele­vi­sion was still black and white and only in the homes where you had made friends with the neigh­bors you rec­og­nized from the gro­cery store.

The game of choice in my mother’s house was Bridge, al­though she could have cho­sen from a wide range of other games that were pop­u­lar then. I still re­call, but never played, Canasta, Crib­bage, Eu­chre and some­thing called Crazy Eights, which I’ve never been able to ex­plain to any­one.

If any­body knows the rules for each of those card games, give me a shout-out so I can be the dealer in the af­ter­life if af­ter­noons in heaven are just as bor­ing. I never wanted to learn those games, ex­cept Bridge, which was the game of choice the night I promised my­self never to use a knife to cut an or­ange in half. Now I use spaghetti tongs to hold my tar­get to avoid an­other nearly sev­ered mid­dle fin­gHr.

This is the place for a warn­ing, like in gory movies. If you feel faint at the sight of blood – mine, not yours – read no fur­ther.

I haven’t been on speak­ing terms with a bowl of fruit, no mat­ter how beau­ti­ful it looks, since the Bridge night that I cut an or­ange in half and in do­ing so sliced half way though WhH PLd­dOH fin­gHr Rn Py OHIW hDnd. Ouch!

It be­gan as an or­di­nary card play­ing night in which I had no in­volve­ment what­so­ever un­til, wLWh nR wDrnLng, WhH EORRd EHgDn WR flRw.

When the card ta­bles and chairs creaked open in the liv­ing room, and mother re­minded dad and me “to be on your best be­hav­ior,” ac­tu­ally code words loosely trans­lated as “cau­tion, bub­bling talk­ing women area,” we knew the strictly en­forced off-lim­its zone would be en­forced, with no tres­pass­ing among wall-towall card ta­bles and women chat­ter el­e­vated to max­i­mum deci­bels.

They were deep into gossip in­ter­spersed with bids of one no trump, two di­a­monds, three spades and other com­bi­na­tions when my seven-year-old eyes spot­ted the big round or­ange on the kitchen counter. To make the lure even more at­trac­tive, dad’s long sharp turkey carv­ing knife was next to the fruit.

The cit­rus beck­oned to me. I reached for the knife, held the beau­ti­ful round or­ange with my left hand, and ap­plied pres­sure with the knife. The or­ange sud­denly spun on the counter and the knife blade came down hard Rn WhH PLd­dOH fin­gHr RI WhH OHIW hDnd. ThH blade went half-way through just be­low the nDLO. Ouch!

My blood spurted on the kitchen counter Dnd drLp­pHd Rn WhH flRRr DV , wLWh­drHw Py hDnd. , TuLcNOy cRncHDOHd Py EOHHdLng fin­gHr and left hand into the pocket of my cor­duroy pants be­cause I had to make an un­ob­tru­sive re­treat through the crowded liv­ing room to the stairs and bath­room sink.

On my quick exit, I was de­layed by a Bridge player study­ing the face-up hand of her ab­sent part­ner. “Look how you’ve grown,” she gushed at me. “How are you do­ing in school?”

Her words echoed in my brain, feel­ing the trickle of warm blood slid­ing down my thigh and curl­ing around my knee. I broke away, headed for the stairs, fad­ing words fol­low­ing me, “Rude lit­tle boy, isn’t he?”

I made the stairs, and half-way up the sock on my left foot felt wet and squishy. How much blood can be lost be­fore woozi­ness sets in? Woozi­ness be­came my new fa­vorite word.

Mother, hur­ry­ing down the steps to see if her part­ner made the bid, tightly wrapped a hDndNHrchLHI IrRP hHr pRcNHW DrRund Py fin­ger as we passed. If we ever meet, ask me to show you my scar.

yrdez­doe­[email protected]­cast.net

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