What are some of the favorite games that you grew up playing?
One of the first games I can recall playing as a child was a board game called Pollyanna, which required getting all of your pieces around the board and safely home in order to win. It is a tried-and-true format that has been used time and again since board games were created.
I credit my mother for having taught me to play Chinese checkers, which is played with marbles, and regular checkers. My mother, who was good at both of the games, tried teaching me at an early age how to be a gracious loser.
I remember having an electric football game. You would line up the player pieces on offense and defense upon a piece of metal that was painted to resemble a football field. After all the pieces were set a switch was flipped which caused all the players to begin to move. The play would continue until a defensive player touched the offensive player designated to be the "ball" carrier. The game was fun unless your player with the "ball" decided to turn around and scamper to the wrong end zone.
And of course there is Monopoly, where the objective of the game is to bankrupt everyone. I still remember playing this game frequently with my sister-in-law, Marty, whenever she and my brother, Larry, would come home for a visit.
Why all this talk about games today? Because of an incident that happened in the last week or so at the Henley hacienda that brought to mind another game that was popular when my wife, Nancy, and I were growing up.
During a recent trip to the doctor he expressed surprise when he reviewed my background information that I am not on any prescribed medication. Nothing for my Parkinson's, because they were either ineffective or left me dealing with numerous side effects, or for my higher-than-acceptable cholesterol. The only pills that I take regularly are vitamins C and D, fish oil and the occasional supplement that is recommended by my bride, who I respectfully refer to as “Doctor Mom.”
Nancy normally sets out a week's worth of vitamins for me on a saucer-sized plate, which I attempt to take one of each type every morning. As one might imagine picking up the pills can be a formidable challenge because of my hand tremors. I frequently tell myself that if I can corral my vitamins without any hitting the floor or jumping onto the kitchen counter it represents a positive omen for the day ahead. As my Parkinson's has worsened far more pills have wound up on the floor than in me, particularly on my initial attempts.
One day last week was especially troubling as not only did one vitamin wind up on the floor, another landed on the latch to the dishwasher door.
After successfully retrieving the pill on the floor I then decided to take a stab at picking up the pill sitting on the latch. As I attempted to get my fingers on the small vitamin D capsule, I wound up moving it instead. Rather than fall into the dishwasher I managed to scoot the pill along until it encountered a small opening located next to the latch, which it slipped into.
More than a little embarrassed, I sought out my bride who was just waking up and sheepishly explained what had occurred.
Only a few minutes had passed when Nancy informed me that she had successfully removed the vitamin from the dishwasher door, using nothing more than a pair of tweezers.
As I thought of my wife's accomplishment, I was reminded of a game called Operation, in which players had to use tweezers to remove different body parts. If a player touched the side of the opening in which the body part was located a buzzer would sound and the patient's nose would flash red.
Following Nancy's successful operation it occurred to me that “Doctor Mom” is a talented surgeon, too.