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Mama said there’d be days like this

All’s fair in love, war and Monopoly

POSTED: January 4, 2012 4:00 a.m.

My child has wanted a family game night for months now; the only problem was we didn't have many games.

So under the tree from Santa, amongst the Transformers, Redekais and Bakugans was the board game classic Monopoly.

Cole was more excited about the possibility of a real family game night than any of his other presents.

"Do you remember how to play?" he asked, tearing the box open eagerly.

It had been 30 years since I had played Monopoly and I honestly can't say I know how to play any games correctly.

Why? Well, to put it bluntly, I grew up with a house full of cheaters.

My grandfather supposedly taught me how to play poker when I was about Cole's age, sitting me with my back to a mirror so he could see my cards. The man even told me that five cards of assorted suits and denominations was a winning all-cards wild hand - when he was holding it - something I found out to be horribly wrong when I was older and tried to pull that combo off as a winning hand.

Granny wouldn't cheat, but when she was losing, she would get mad and quit. But my own Mama, precious as she is, would tell her daughter to go help herself to another Twinkie just so she could take a peek at my cards or steal cards out of the bottom of the deck. The only one who didn't cheat was my uncle Bobby, probably because he refused to play; given the group of people he grew up with, I can see why.

"I don't, but we'll learn," I replied, vowing to not cheat my child.

I forgot how long a round of Monopoly can last. The first round went for hours, maybe because according to Lamar, I was too ‘weak' to take rent for Boardwalk from a 7-year-old and paid his "Get out of jail" fees.

On the second round after dinner, I told Cole I thought we weren't playing it right, and went over the directions again. He listened solemnly as I told him the way we really needed to play.

About an hour later, Cole informed his father I had booby-trapped the board. "You can't move one space without landing on one of her properties," he said sadly. "I will never win."

It was true I had bought up just about all of the real-estate, to the point I was real-estate rich and cash poor.

"There can only be one winner. It's the way the game's played," Lamar said, slinging the dice and landing on Marvin's Gardens - mine, with a house.

Eyeing North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Pacific Avenues, which belonged to Cole, Lamar offered him a $1,000. Cole almost accepted until I intervened and told him they were worth more than that and gave a disapproving look to Lamar.

I should have been surprised his own father would try to pull a fast one on him in a game, but given the cheaters I grew up with, nothing shocked me anymore.

All is fair in love, war and Monopoly.

Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist and certified life coach. She lives in the north Georgia mountains with her family and four insane, but fairly well behaved dogs.

 

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