The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Playing Cards with Mom

“Split these two decks and shuffle this half.”

Mom faces me, a solid seventy-four year old figure, elbows bent, both hands moving and shuffling fifty four cards. Her long gray hair is twisted messily into a ponytail clipped up on the back of her head. She’s worn the same Indian print skirt for three days.

“The dirt won’t show. . . Twenty for you, I like to see you count them in fives and turn the last one over.” Once Mom gets going with “Spite and Malice,” the cards control the moments.

She’s going to whip me and I’ll owe her money. Oh, the pain. . . Where’s my wallet?

As she moves from Ace to Queen there’s no turning back. “If you take your hand off what you put down, it’s too late.”

How does she know I have the two? There are 110 cards here and she’s only got six in her hand.

“Hot shit!” Mom pulls a run from out of those six cards faster than I can fan my cards neatly. She plays her cards and I watch her conjure up a need. “Come on, four…” She picks her card up off the deck and says, “See that four?”

It is a four. Luck or what?

When I forget to look at my fat stack and notice the card I should have played, my heart sinks and I gulp down that dumb feeling like a slapped child. Mom slaps down her cards.

“Sorry about that.” She gives me that look.

She’s loving every sting of the cards, every run and turn of her twenty stack moving nicely down to ten, five and three.

Mom sits among her random stacks of paper that she’s moved from a brown paper bag back to the table time and again. She’s using half a paper towel to blow her nose. I’m watching her.

She whips me with her logical mind. I’m defenseless.

As she snaps down her Ace, Mom looks up at me. “We didn’t play cards when you were little, did we? I was working and on weekends, you were with your friends.”

Why didn’t I play with her? Why didn’t I know the moves? What else don’t I know?

I shrug and reach for my wallet. Mom sees me pull out sixty-five cents from the coin section and place it in the silver chalice where we’re holding all the winnings.

“Give it time.” She shuffles the deck and then spreads them on the tabletop. “Help me mix them up.”

I come back to my seat at the dining room table and together we stir face cards into the numbers.

“This game is so well engineered. We can play it all day and not get tired of it.” I watch Mom gather up the cards from the table and put them back in their clear plastic bed. She uses her best cards for me.

I know that.

By Pur Starr


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I think this is a fantastic piece. I was right there with you. This one is a keeper and should be published in hard copy somewhere.


marianne lonsdale
Lovely piece! You paint such a vivid and affectionate picture.

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