Growing up, a family gathering wasn’t complete unless there was a game of Pinochle -- the click of cards and conversation punctuated by laughter and exclamations.
Pinochle is uses a special deck of cards (made by combining the Ace, Ten, King, Queen, Jack, and Nine of two decks) and is most often played with just four people.
To include more players, the family added decks, so instead of two of each card, there could be three, four or more, depending on how many people wanted to play. To make things even more interesting, new partners were picked every hand by turning up a card from the ‘blind’.
Over the years, the family drifted away from the card games. Football, television and electronic games began to dominate.
But this year, Thanksgiving was at our house and we had a bright idea -- reviving the family pinochle tradition!
First we had to remember the rules. With a bit of help from the Internet, we pieced together a quick overview of the rules for the younger generation (and those that hadn’t played in a long time). It went pretty smoothly until we got to what constituted meld - the points you accumulate before the hand is played. Then the questions began:
Asking good questions and challenging assumptions are great skills for innovation, even if that wasn't the objective and most of them were asked for the fun of asking. They paved the way for the final question:
If my grandfather could change the rules to make it fit the situation, so could we. Tens, Kings and Queens now counted for points.
This changed the game slightly (Oddly, it was more challenging to count the points). But we still had conversation, laughter and some exclamations.
That made me wonder about the upcoming Holidays. For many, they are full of family traditions and “have to dos”. Perhaps not everything makes as much sense as it did for our grandparents, or parents or even ourselves at a different stage of life.
By questioning and challenging assumptions, you can keep the best parts and change or eliminate what doesn’t fit. Make them your own – and maybe you’ll come up with something even better.
Are you changing some traditions? If you are, please tell us in the comments.
Have a wonderful week!
Insights on writing, characters, humor and other tidbits from the author of the "Scoops and Schemes" series of novels.
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