When I was a boy we played games in my family; it was one of our main sources of entertainment. My father was eager to teach my brother and I how to play chess, and we actually became pretty good, too. One game in which we included Mother, too, was Rook.
I didn’t know until many years later that we weren’t actually playing Rook, at least not in the strictest sense. My first clue was the fact that we never used the Rook Bird Card when hands were dealt. There are a number of games in the Parker Brothers rules wherein the Rook card is not used; we must have learned one of them, I suppose.
At any rate, bids are made after hands are dealt, and if there are four players you can play with two sets of partners. I actually have a sheet of paper where team mates are listed (my father and brother; mother and me) in pencil, bids are recorded, and final scores. [By the way, mother and I got beaten pretty badly in that particular game, and the scoring is left for all posterity to see].
Players bid based on how many points they think they can score with the hand they are dealt. Once bidding begins players must either exceed the bid of the previous player or “pass.” The highest bidder gets to choose the trump color. Of course, this gives you an advantage if you have lots of cards with that color; no face card is greater than the trump color.
If anyone besides my father won the bid, I remember he would immediately utter the question, “What’s trump?”
Lately, I have been reminded of our family games. If you listen to the news on the radio or watch it on TV or on the internet you have no doubt had the same word in mind that I have had: Trump.
Trump is an electric word, isn’t it? There is no neutrality for hearers of that word, today. Our Rook games at home elicited a similar response: when someone revealed the color of trump there was often a sigh of pain or anguish. Only the highest bidder who named trump rejoiced. And that person was left with the task of making sure they earned a minimum of the points they had bid, otherwise they would experience “setback.”
The question, “What’s trump?” could yield one of four responses: (1) red; (2) green; (3) yellow; (4) black. Responses to the way the word is used today are not so simple, although they are usually quite colorful.
I am not a terribly political person (although some would say I am a terrible political person, if you get my drift), but I find myself asking my Dad’s question these days, i.e. “What’s Trump?”
No one seems to know for certain. But he appears to be the most powerful color in the political deck of cards. Trump trumps every opponent he faces, if not with reason then certainly with bravado.
I do not know who I will vote for in November 2016, although I most certainly will vote. But I hope by that point in time I will have the answer to the question so many are asking, i.e. “What’s Trump?”
And I also hope when a player chooses trump he/she will pick a color I can live with.
Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage . . . and all the men and women are merely players.”
I would agree. However, life is a show from which you cannot retire and simply go to your home; it is not mere entertainment. The “players,” both men and women, play for keeps.