The card game that drew blood
Easy Does It
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.