Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Meanderings

Canasta

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Canasta (Spanish for "basket"; pronounced /kəˈnæstə/ in English) is a card game originating in Uruguay, where players attempt to make melds of 7 cards of the same rank, and "go out" by playing all cards in their hand and discarding. It is commonly played by two players with two standard decks of cards, but many variations exist for 3- and 4-player games or teams.

The understatement here is " . . . many variations exist . . ."
Pfft! I'll say!

But. Tonight is Saturday Nite Canasta Nite for me and Donald and Mother (and Harley, of course), and we'll play the only variation we've ever played. We get together every two or three weeks at my mom's for Canasta Nite. Sometimes it includes dinner, sometimes snackies, sometimes dessert. Just depends on what the mood of the group seems to dictate. And since we're all grown-ups (except Harley), if we want to have dessert and then have dinner later - well, that's exactly what we do. That's part of the fun of being a grown-up; rearranging silly rules like dessert coming after dinner. Who says?! harumph.

Tonight it includes pizza. oh boy.

I haven't had pizza in a month. Unusual for me 'cause I am admittedly addicted to pizza. But I'm also in the process of trying to lose 10 pounds. As of this morning, after 4 weeks of pretty steady dieting, I've lost 5 and 1/2 pounds. It's not as easy as it was when I was younger and could drop a few pounds with less effort. Now it takes a lot of effort. And one of the things that works for keeping me on a diet is to celebrate small accomplishments. I'm not sure diet gurus would recommend pizza as a smart reward, but oh well. Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow we go back to the business of losing a few pounds. It's important to me to keep within a weight range in which I'm comfortable in the clothes I have. I like my clothes. AND, I for sure can't afford to buy a whole bunch of new ones if I gain a bunch of weight. That's my motivating factor. When my clothes quit feeling comfortable, time to cut back.

But,

I meander.

I do not want to chat about my weight.

I want to chat about Canasta.

Any of you play? Or did you use to play? I know it used to be a very popular game, but then seemed to have kinda become old hat. I'm hearing a few people mention it recently though, so perhaps it's making a bit of a comeback. Donald and Mother and I have played for many years. And laugh hysterically through it all. It's an evening we all enjoy at many levels. And it's an opportunity for Mother to pet, pamper and spoil Harley, and an opportunity for Harley to jump all over, kiss & lick and otherwise let Mother know he loves her without bounds.

We use a Canasta tray that I remember Mother and Dad using when they would play with friends. We used this same tray when I began playing with them as a young girl. The Canasta tray is plastic, with a basket weave design on the top. Inside the top is an etched caricature of Xavier Cugat and his little doggie Pepito. Remember Xavier? Mostly, I think he's now remembered for being married to entertainer and popular talk show visitor Charo, known for her "coochy coochy coo" with a wiggle and a shake thrown in for good measure. AND - the woman is still performing! Anyway. Xavier Cugat, in addition to being a popular dance band leader, was also recognized as the person responsible for introducing the game of Canasta to the United States. When the Canasta craze was at its peak, Xavier and Pepito endorsed cards, trays, and any other number of related items. How our card tray has survived and stayed with us all these years is amazing to me. and fun. We also, because shuffling two decks of cards is awkward, use an old metal hand crank shuffler. Well, O.K. - I admit it - we use it 'cause it's just fun. We like it. Harley hates it though and barks like a crazy dog while it's being used.













So - off we go to Mother's. Y'all just sit back and enjoy this old video of Charo and Carol Burnett. Priceless.

3 comments:

Bill Crider said...

When we were kids, my brother, sister, and I played Canasta all the time. We played with our parents sometimes on winter nights while we listened to the radio. Haven't played in many years.

Alan Orloff said...

Canasta! Yes! My best friend and I used to play as kids (maybe I grew up in Bill Crider's neighborhood, who knows?). I loved that game.

About five years ago, I tried to play with my wife, but I couldn't remember the rules. So I went to look them up on-line, and came up with a zillion variations, none of which matched my memory very closely.

I think we ended up playing gin.

Kaye Barley said...

Hi Guys! Fellow Canasta Players!

I think it's making a come back.

Alan - all the variations can run you right away from the game, for sure. I do not think there were that many variations "back in the day." Do you? How 'bout you, Bill - do you remember?

Anyway. Mother and Donald and I found an old card game paperback book and chose one of the variations from it (not so many to choose from), and we highlighted the page so we'd know where to go when questions pop up - which they do! That seems to have saved us from having some disagreements at the table. Nothing can spoil a game quicker than a rule disagreement.

If either of you decide to start playing again, I'd love to hear about it.