During my summer visit to my home province of Ontario Canada, my sister surprised me by bringing our family’s old Crokinole board to play. If you haven’t heard of the game Crokinole, don’t feel too bad. It seems to be a very regional game, believed to be invented right here in Canada in the 1860’s.
The best way I can think to describe Crokinole is a table-top version of Curling… with a few differences. The game is played with two players, or with four players on two teams. Players flick/shoot little wooden discs/checkers from opposite sides of the board toward the middle of the board to earn points; with the very center of the board being a coveted 20-point zone. The object of the game is to score as many points as possible, while sabotaging your opponent’s chances of winning by knocking their game pieces off of the board and into the no-score zone on the far outer edges of the board, often referred to as “the gutters.”
As I mentioned once before, I received some serious training in the game by my grandfather who loved to teach us how to play almost (but definitely not quite as much!) as winning. He didn’t go easy on us, so my siblings and I all became pretty fierce competitors as a result. I think my love for board games comes from the hours spent around my grandparent’s kitchen table, experiencing the highs and lows of victory and defeat, (and learning some serious age-appropriate smack talk!) Apparently playing this game is like riding a bike, because I did quite well for myself the few days we played this summer. My youngest, a game-lover too, really enjoyed learning how to play, so we simply had to buy our own board when we returned home and keep the competition alive.
Enjoying this childhood game reminded me of a small letter I wrote 8 years ago for my grandparent’s 60th Anniversary party. Since both Grandpa and Grandma have passed now, I thought I’d share it here as a tribute.
Here’s to the grandparents that shape our little personalities without us even realizing it, and to the memories they leave us with.
One rainy day at summer camp, I found myself indoors playing board games and being bored, when a boy offered to play a game of Crokinole with me.
I beat him. Badly.
He couldn’t believe how well I played, and proceeded to set up more and more difficult shots to see if I could make them.
I did. Every single one.
You see, I had a secret weapon when it came to Crokinole-playing. His name was Grandpa.
In addition to teaching me how to play Crokinole and Cribbage, Grandma & Grandpa also welcomed me in–announced or unannounced–into their home and into whatever they were doing at the time. There were always cookies in the canister, games to be played, and stories to be heard.
I consider myself blessed to have grown up with grandparents nearby. And I consider it an honour to be asked to write a few words for their 60th Anniversary Celebration.
I love you, Grandma and Grandpa! Thank you for giving me my father, for being my grandparents, and for always being up for seeing more pictures of your great-grandson. I’m sorry I cannot be at your party, but hope it is a wonderful day, filled with laughter and reminiscing with family and friends.
Much Love, Ashley
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