Early on Sunday mornings I get up and go out to the deck to have some quiet time before I get everyone up to get ready for church. Oftentimes I read a few pages in my current book or I sit and contemplate the complexities of life. Now and then I have some company but for the most part I like having that time to myself. If I am very quiet and careful not even the dog or cats can hear me. They insist on being rubbed and scratched and then they expect a few bites of whatever I am nibbling, so I rock silently alone on the front porch as long as I can.
The sun slowly edges up and over the trees across the street and filters through the Boston ferns hanging over my porch railings and I think about the week to come. Schedules flit through my mind as first one cat then another rubs up against my legs. We are at peace until the dog hurls himself around the corner of the house and onto the porch. Not satisfied with the slow creak of the rocker, he demands attention.
He hops around on his two back legs with a begging whine thinking that the cats got something he is sure he has missed. He marches up to the cats and puffs out his chest to pierce them with his steely glare, then he looks up to me for approval. He races out to the yard to take a few circles and then he is back on the porch bossing the cats around. The hisses commence and I know that my Sunday morning quiet time is over.
My remaining hope is that all is still quiet inside and I can salvage a few extra minutes. The door opens smoothly and all is well until I utter a small grunt getting up the step. I freeze and the dog pushes his advantage. He has a foot up and inside when I arabesque backwards and block him. He yips and a dang cat darts through my legs. Unfortunately, getting the cat from the kitchen proves my undoing as first one and then two children greet me at the door for the cat toss.
“Hello mother,” says the youngest and my day starts with a warm hug.
We work through the waffles, the wrinkled shirts, the bad breath, and before long all are sitting around in their church clothes working their phones. I say to the youngest, “Let’s play Gin.”
He has learned to shuffle over the summer so he is ready to play. He shuffles and straightens and shuffles and straightens. One, one, two, two, three, three and so forth until we each have ten cards, then he smiles and states, “I will be the one to have eleven so I can start.” I nod as I fan the cards in my hand.
He pulls up an extra chair and carefully lays down his cards in rows where I can’t see them. He discards and the game is off. We play and visit and talk about inconsequential things. I “gin” to win the first game. He challenges and wants me to shuffle. He talks non-stop as he wins the second game and I hurriedly say, “Best two out of three” about the time one of the texting dinosaurs wakes and states that we need to leave or we will be late.
I discard and look at my opponent. He picks up and does something mysterious with it on his chair. I tap the edge of my cards as I wait for his discard.
The teens edge over to the table and my opponent freaks. He lays down over his stacks and rows of carefully put together cards. I roll my eyes and draw from the deck. Dad is up making dad-like noises about getting in the car but I just need two more cards to “gin” and win. We discard and draw faster. I need one card when out of the blue I hear screaming, “I gin! I Gin! I GIN!!!!”
I am gracious in defeat and head to the car.
He gloats and high-fives the others. He fist pumps and hoots all the way to the car. For a few moments, on a quiet Sunday morning, he struts about like a peacock in full feather.