A Tribute to My Father

My father was so gregarious! He loved people and made friends wherever he went. Dad loved the companionship and conversations he shared with others. He always greeted folks with a big smile. His upbeat sense of humor was contagious.

Today I want you to remember him at his happiest, when he was surrounded by friends and family.

Dad looked forward to holidays at the Moritz home and at the Bignell farm. He enjoyed family reunions and picnics in the summer.

Many weekends he went to the farm to help with chores and chat with my uncles, who were like his own brothers. He enjoyed visits to his mother’s home where he could spend time with his sisters and nephew.

Dad enjoyed participating in sports: golfing, bowling, softball and billiards. He loved to feel included and thrived in his league bowling team and summer church league softball team. Continue reading A Tribute to My Father

Why I Shuffle My Cards Backwards

I have many fond memories of card games as a child, but in every one of those memories, I’m shuffling the cards wrong.  I have no intention of learning how to do it ‘right’ either.

My mother taught me how to play my first card games: Go Fish and Slap Jack.  I was 3-4 years old when I sat across the kitchen table from her, learning how to shuffle cards.  Despite being severely right-handed, I shuffle left-handed due to my attempts to mirror my mother’s hands as she shuffled.  When I was a little older, she taught me how to play Pinochle and Solitaire.  Pinochle was difficult because of the ‘meld’ phase and figuring out the score after each hand.  I felt ‘grown up’ when we played Pinochle though. Continue reading Why I Shuffle My Cards Backwards

Warning: may cause “Nintendo Thumb”

Whenever I think of old Nintendo games, I can’t help but think about my sister. The best games were the ones that let us both play at the same time (sharing wasn’t always an easy option). Video games were an obsession. Every time we got our grubby little hands on any birthday money or spare change, we took it to the local movie rental store and rented games. Our mother became our crack dealer, buying used nintendo game cartridges at yard sales. We had enough Nintendo and Super Nintendo games to fill a small bookshelf back in the day.

About a month ago I had a bout of nostalgia for the video games that my sister and I used to play together. Over the years those games and systems have been sold or left behind during moves. I’ve had this longing for the old games before. I’ve tried to cure it with emulators on my computer. They were always horrible to play. Who wants to play a platformer with your computer’s keyboard for the controls? I even purchased computer game controllers to try to make the games “better” but it was never as good as it used to be. Continue reading Warning: may cause “Nintendo Thumb”

Video Games – Thinking Back Fondly

The first electronic games that I remember playing were on Bally’s home console system, the Astrocade. These were fairly simple games but they were definitely fun. I remember that there was a 2 player old west gun fight game, a video poker game, a game where 2 players had long ‘worms’ that grew and grew longer in length as the players weaved their way around the screen attempting to not bump into each other and also a pretty basic art program where you could change the size of your brush (a simple rectangle) and change the color by turning the dial.

At school we were using an Apple II to play games like Oregon Trail. There was a game where 2 players had bases and tried to shoot the other player with a missile, taking into account basic distance and wind speed factors. I remember a game called Underground Railroad that was an RPG that cast the player in the role of a newly escaped slave working their way through the woods and countryside to make their way north. There was a game where you ran your own lemonade or fruit stand and tried to make money.

When we got our first computer at home the games were more sophisticated than the text and green graphics on the Apple II. At first there were mostly DOS games. We had Jeopardy, a simple platform game and a few casino games. There were also the games that came with the Windows operating system, solitaire and minesweeper. Later we bought a few strategy games like Caesar. Continue reading Video Games – Thinking Back Fondly