June 1, 2013


When my brothers, sister and I were kids, we didn't watch much television.  We were outside kids.  That's what my mother-in-law calls it.  We liked to play games... card games, board games, outdoor games...   You had to watch out playing any game with my big brother, Frank.  He was super competitive and would adapt the rules to his side of winning.  My sister, Di, she was a stickler for rules and every detail had to be followed out to the letter.  I was the one who played just to play.  I could not care more or less if I won.

One of our favorite games was Monopoly.  Even as adults, when the four of us got together it was not unusual for us to pull the game box out.  I rarely remember ever finishing a game.  But it was always fun to play.  Or almost always... depending on how badly Frank was losing.  We had some great Monopoly moments.

I will never forget one particular game of Monopoly.  I was in High School History class.  We had been studying the great depression.  I had a very cool teacher, whose name I can not remember.  For class that night (I went to night school) we ate Twinkies and played Monopoly.  Both of which were products of the Great Depression.

I don't know if I would remember that game so vividly had it not been for the six o'clock news.  After growing up in the cold war, there we sat with Dan Rather watching brick by brick as the Berlin Wall came down.  That was a great Monopoly moment.

I try to teach my kids about those things.  The life changing, world bettering, news making, defining moments of our lives.  But I think until you have lived through some of those, like seeing your friends going off to fight a war, you don't really understand how one moment can make everything so different.  I have had a lot of those moments in my life, both personal and historical events.  The fall of the wall.  That was a defining life and Monopoly moment.  One I always think of when the board comes out.  I bet my kids are sick of hearing about it.

When the girls were young Allen would often take extended trips out of town.  To pass the evenings, we would start a game of Monopoly on the night he left and play until he came home, whether it be a day or three weeks later.  It usually involved popcorn.  Staying up til ridiculous hours laughing and giggling and wheeling and dealing with my girls... Those were some great Monopoly moments.

Last weekend we had to forgo our usual Memorial Day weekend plans.  It was cold.  It was raining.  We didn't pick strawberries.  We didn't cook out.  We didn't swim.  It sure didn't seem like the beginning of the summer holiday.  I was really bummed out.

But then the kids pulled out the Monopoly board.  And they've been playing ever since.  Let me tell you, those kids are vicious, competitive and tricky!  They really take this game serious!  I mean that's all they talk about.  One night I was laying in bed reading and Aedan wanted to discuss with me a possible property trade.  "Did I think this was a good idea?"  he asked after going into excruciating detail.  The next morning, at 6 am, Nathaniel was beside my bed asking for advice on a property investment.  And on another day I had to lay down the law.  ABSOLUTELY NO PLAYING OR DISCUSSING MONOPOLY UNTIL CHORES ARE FINISHED!

Somewhere around Monday they asked Allen and I to play, too.  We never stood a chance!  We were bankrupt before lunch time.  We did laugh harder than I have laughed in some time as we watched Aedan try to politely bully Kaitlin into paying rent and Samuel dive across the board to collect from Emma.  Those were good Monopoly moments.
For a week now, we have been eating our meals around properties, piles of money and the game board.  Well, really only Aedan ever has any money.  You learn a lot about your kids personality watching them play this game.  Some are like my brother and get a little edgy when they are losing.  Others are vicious landlords.  Some will try to get out of paying rent.  Some are very merciful and some have no mercy at all.  Some try to roll the dice in secret so no one will see their doubles.  Others watch everyone like a hawk so no one gets away with anything.  And then there are the laid back ones who could care less what happens, they are just there to laugh at everyone else's antics and enjoy the Monopoly moments.

One morning I was on the deck with Carmella doing my Bible study.  All of a sudden there was an incredible amount of racket coming from the kitchen.  Carmella ran to the edge of the deck in sheer shock and started looking around wildly for the source of the noise.  Her eyes finally settled on the chickens.  Yeah, it sounded like something you'd hear from wild animals.  Turns out it was the other kids cheering when Brianna, who was whooping up on everyone else, landed on Board Walk and had to pay up.  I wondered if the noise scared Carmella so much, what on earth might the neighbors think???

Regardless of the neighbors, I love being in the kitchen, on the deck or in bed and hearing the laughter of brothers and sisters sharing moments that will make lifetime memories.  I know they will one day pull that game out with their own kids and start waxing fond about this very summer and telling great stories of what their Uncle Than did.  Those are great Monopoly moments.


  1. Aw. What great memories! And what a funny story at the end!!
    We love board games here too, though we don't play them as much as I wish we did. Our game of fun is usually Sequence or Yahtzee.
    I tune out with Monopoly games so more power to ya!!

  2. Kat,

    Monopoly is definitely a defining moment and you're so right when you can observe much more than simply seeing who will win the game. What a great way to pass along not only some family fun but also gain something in the process. We see how our children interact with others, we see generosity and caring among other traits and we realize that despite what's happening in the world today, time with our family is more priceless than we could ever imagine.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

    1. Hi, Kat.

      So good to hear from you, friend! I hope all is well with you and yours. I have lost all touch with everything outside of our world the last few months and I sure do miss hearing what's up with friends in blog world. Couldn't agree with you more here, nothing is more important in this world than time with our family.