I’m playing cards with my wife outside on our porch. We never do this. In fact, I can hardly believe this is happening. It’s almost like a dream.
The sun is setting. It’s a pleasant spring evening. The North Florida mosquitoes are the size of Volkswagen Jettas. My wife and I are sipping beers, playing five-card draw. It’s been years since we’ve done this.
You know, in some ways this coronavirus quarantine thing isn’t all bad. Yes, I know the newscasters are constantly reminding us to stay inside our living rooms, and to keep our televisions cranked up loud so we don’t miss urgent commercials about reverse mortgage offers. But I need a break from TV.
I’m sort of getting into the spirit of this quarantine. Right now I feel the same as I did when I was a kid and school got cancelled. Whenever school closed it was like getting set free from Alcatraz. That’s how today feels.
Anyway, I love playing cards. There was a time in childhood when I
was always coaxing my friends to play Crazy Eights, War, or gin rummy. Sometimes, we would sneak into the Baptist church shed, where no fundamentalist mothers could find us, and we would play poker. We played high-stakes tournaments. The game was Omaha hi-low split-eight or better, no limit. If you can just imagine.
We once played a three-hour game with Brother Gary, the church maintenance man. Brother Gary must have smoked three packs of cigarettes that afternoon. Wherever he is today, Gary still owes my cousin, Ed Lee, roughly $800,000.
As a young man, we used to play cards during lunch breaks on construction jobsites. We would toss dollar bills and quarters onto the lunch table. One day, I lost sixteen bucks and I was sick about it. It’s funny how a man changes with age. If I lost sixteen bucks today, it wouldn’t matter. But back then…