I love to play games with my grandchildren. I can no longer play badminton, croquet, or corn hole. But I can enjoy inside games. Last summer Charli came over to join Mattie and me at playing Author cards and a “quick” game of Monopoly that lasted three days (off and on!). Remembering how fun that game of Monopoly was Charli and Kaison talked me into pulling out the ancient game again this year.

We set the game up on a card table that was out of the way so we could play for an hour or two a day. Each afternoon we vied to see what properties we could buy, who would land on those properties or even go to jail.

You learn a lot about people playing board games. I’ve been very interested in the actions and reactions of these kids as we circle the Monopoly board.

I’m a very cautious Monopoly player myself, holding back from spending too much, trying to avoid bankruptcy (at least early on!). Charli, on the other hand, is not even satisfied with houses on her property. She buys hotels and often bargains with other players to get their property and truly form a monopoly. But she’s not without compassion when someone lands on her street and suddenly owes a huge rental fee. She is always ready with negotiable options.

Kaison is so quick in math making change without a problem. He, like me, is somewhat cautious about buying, loves to see his stacks of money pile up. He has a real sense of order so often goes to the banker (Charli) requesting change for a $100 or $50 so he will have cash in every denomination.

I was surprised at their reactions when I landed on Kaison’s or Charli’s places. They eyed my puny stacks of money and either gave me a great discount or even paid my debt for me. Kaison, particularly, would say, “I feel bad for you, Nana.” I laughed and told them it was just a game, that they didn’t need to worry. By about the third day I was wishing I could go bankrupt!

In other words, we didn’t play “hard” Monopoly where if an owner doesn’t notice someone lighting on his property until after the next dice is thrown the renter doesn’t have to pay. The fun, to them, was in the act of paying and being paid. They not only watched their own properties with eagle eyes, but spotted for other players as well. I did notice that Charli, when faced with a huge rental fee, counted and recounted her steps, sure that she might not really be on Park Place.

Landing on luxury tax immediately eats up your “pass go” salary. Landing in jail brings out groans even though a player can accrue some real benefits from being out of commission, collecting rent and not paying for any. If Kaison had a “Get out of jail free” card when I landed in jail he would have it no other way than that I should use it.

We finally decided it was time to count up and fold up. That turned out to be a real exercise in math since some had mortgaged property. You can imagine who won–Charli, the aggressive one!

Tearing up our “village” was a little like taking down a tent at the end of a jolly, adventurous camping week. The hub that held us together was gone. All the chatter, arguing about nonessentials like how much your mortgage is and trying to talk yourself out of jail, as are the anticipation of catching a fellow player on your railroad or drawing a really good community service card. It was time to face some real life challenges like buying groceries, studying for exams, and interacting with friends in new grades.

The Monopoly game is neatly back in its ragged old box, a box that represents laughter and groans of generations of players for about forty-five years. Like the tent at the end of a camping trip, it’s folded away in a closet until another time.

The chatter of youthful voices clings to the rooms as I lean back for a much-needed snooze.


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3 responses to “Monopoly

  1. Oh Brenda,
    Dad would absolutely love your story. I remember me, Carol and Dad, playing Monopoly! Carol and I’d team up against Dad and beat him every time! Once, Dad called out to Paul; “Hey Paul! I’ll pay you $25 to help me play against these women! They are Ruthless, I tell you! Ruthless!” To which Paul replied as he ran out the garage door, “I know what you mean, Dad! I’ve played with ’em a time or two while you were gone…especially that tiny one y’all call Barb! The one who thinks she’s smarter than all of us cause she goes to collage at Wright State University!”
    “I love playing Monopoly with you guys!” I cried, putting the emphasis on you guys. “Oh, sure, sure, Miss I-Know-More-Than-You-Do!” By which time I could feel the tears building up ready to spill down my face. I could see dad waving his arms, in a criss-cross manner. Finally, Paul got the message after Dad pantomimed cutting his throat.
    “Aw Barb, I was just joking around with you!” Paul declared. Then the tears flowed freely down my face as Paul picked me up. Around the living room I could see I was not the only one crying;
    Mama, Dad, Carol, and even Paul, was swiping away his tears!
    As he put me back down on the floor, I heard our poodle crying to get in. “See? You even got Nick-Nick crying!” At which point everyone started laughing! After Paul left and everyone dried away their mixture of tears Dad got out the old, raggedy, Monopoly board and set it on the cardboard table.

    “Who wants to play?” asked Dad.
    “I do! I do!”

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