The Games Quarantine People Play

by Kevin Burton

   A stirring comeback is underway as the calendar year winds down.

   It’s all about the games quarantine people play, the ones in my household that is.

   My wife and I have always played card and dice games together, going back to the dating days. Quarantine inspired us to keep score, as I mentioned on Page 7 (“Stay Tuned For The Quarantine Olympics,” Feb. 20).

   My Scrabble skills are at a semi-pro level. At this point it would take an all-time bad draw of tile for me (what I call the tyranny of the tile) for Jeannette to beat me. We still play but it’s not a keen competition.

   We play Uno and blackjack, less often.  We have two versions of Trivial Pursuits, a game called BibleOpoly and some others which mostly stay on the shelf.

   So the main event this year has been Yahtzee.  That’s the game Jeannette plays the best. It was members of her extended family who taught me how to play.

   We came up with a competition where whoever won the most Yahtzee games this year would win the Yahtzee Bear Trophy, which is a small teddy bear with a single di taped to his head.  We play three games at a time on no set schedule.

   I had a run of good luck and had a lead, which at its peak was 17 games, 37 to 20.  But starting just before thanksgiving, Jeannette has won nine of the last twelve games. The score is now 40-29.

   Because time is running out for the year we invented another competition a best-of seven series where the games also count toward the year’s standings.  Whoever wins that (Jeannette leads 2-0) gets separate bragging rights. If we continued to play every three weeks or so, Jeannette wouldn’t have enough time to catch up.

   I don’t hear the word quarantine so much these days.  It’s possible we’re all the way past that, for political reasons more than medical ones.  As new Covid variants emerge, the medical/scientific community is plunged back into a scramble to stay ahead of them.  I’m confident that in the United States, the reaction to the variants will be driven by politics.

   So I can’t claim to know what the future holds.  But there is one thing I’d like to do.  I’d like to take that Yahtzee Bear Trophy, whoever wins it, and put it in a suitcase.

    Yes, a suitcase. We still have them, though we haven’t used them or thought about them in a long time. 

   We are way far beyond overdue for a vacation. We’ll have to put more thought into the next one, maximize enjoyment, minimize risk.  But that will be a goal for the new year. 

   A couple of weeks ago we went to West Wichita and had dinner and Scrabble night with some dear friends of ours.  “This feels like a date,” Jeannette said on the way over, and it did.  We just haven’t done very many of the fun things we used to do, during the Covid crisis.

   We will have to fix that.  I don’t get cabin fever the way Jeannette does. But even I am ready for a new adventure.

   As for the Yahtzee frenzy for the rest of the year. All I need to do is win one of the three games we play on a given night and I can probably win the trophy.

   More importantly, now that our house is a little less cluttered, maybe we should find a place to put a suitcase with the bear in it so that every time we pass it we are reminded that we need to plan some fun events.

   Maybe the next time we buy a board game, it should be the travel version.

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