The Way We Play the Games We Play

While dating, Jerry’s friends told me that to have a successful relationship with him I would need to learn to love baseball and Cincinnati Chili. I won’t tell you which one was easier to love, but I have now successfully done both.

We were married just a few short weeks when I decided to make Cincinnati Chili from scratch. (If you want to try it, click here for the recipe. It’s great the first day, but even better after it sets a day). The ingredients were all together and now it was time to let the deliciousness simmer for hours to blend the chocolate, garlic, chili pepper and other flavors all together. To pass the time Jerry and I decided to play a game of Canasta (a card game that both of our families played, though rules varied in each family).  cards-769043_1920Periodically I would get up and stir the pot of awesomeness.

I looked at the cards in my hand and realized I had missed a significant play. Sadly Jerry noticed too and capitalized on my error. This “whooping” continued until the game was too far gone for me to have any hope of winning.

drop-147190_1280How did I respond?  I cried.  Big crocodile tears.

How did Jerry respond?  “What’s wrong?  What happened?  What did I do?”

Baffled and beside himself Jerry tried to figure out what was going on.

Once I could compose myself enough for us to figure out what was going on we learned that though our families played the same game, the play culture was very different. I learned that in the Borton family if your opponent made a mistake you took full advantage of it. The Morris family,  on the other hand, played with the unwritten rules that if someone makes a mistake you perhaps make the most of it for a round or two, but you eventually let them back in so you can continue to play together and have fun.

It probably wasn’t the first, and surely would not be the last time that we bumped up against family history and expectations!

At least the chili did not disappoint.



I understood the intent of the law when we were told several times during our first day at Wonder Valley that this was a closed campus and we should stay inside the gates.  They even went on to tell us that it was meant to protect us from the animals we could see all around on the other side of the fences.

As I was out for a walk around campus today I could see a large herd of bulls on the adjacent property.  Actually I heard them before I saw them, and even thought to myself, “that’s a little ‘angrier'” sound than a typical moo.”

I got to the camp gate and thought, I think I’ll just go to the end of the road and take some more photos.  It was only a short distance to the road.  While standing there enjoying the beauty I thought I would try again to use the panoramic feature on my camera; it is something I have not yet mastered.  With the sunshine being so bright I couldn’t quite see what was in the camera viewer, but just kept panning.  As I made a full circle and put my camera down I saw him . . .

One bull, then another, trotting through the field I had seen them in earlier, coming my direction.  In fact, one was only about 5 feet from me!

Thankfully I had the presence of mind to NOT scream, or to run so as to entice these large creatures who could clearly outrun me.  But I did turn rather quickly and walk quickly back to the gate, periodically glancing behind me. All the while I was thinking, “Joan, Joan, Joan – you heard the rule, why did you think you are above it?”

Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.  Psalms 119:29

Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good.  I long to obey your commandments!  Renew my life with your good ness.  Psalms 119:39-40

You have done many good things for me, Lord, just as you promised.  I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge.  Psalms 119:65-66