When I think back on my childhood, I try and remember every tidbit that I can and hold onto the fond memories that I can tap into. You see, I have what some may refer to as the absolute worst memory ever. Most people have a memory bank that is literally bulging at the seams with memories of family vacations and childhood friends, but for one reason or another, I find myself lacking in this area. For that reason, I try and take the things that have made a significant impact on my life or those fleeting memories that I have of being a little girl and hold on for dear life. When I was little, I had a pair of denim overalls. I would wear them and wear them until my mom would finally tell me that they needed to be washed, and then I would put them right back on. One day I was jumping from the tailgate of my dad’s old truck, and I caught the butt of them on the corner of the tailgate, ripping them beyond repair. I cried the rest of the afternoon. Why do I remember that? Once upon a time, my sister and I had a Family Feud board game that required the use of two triangular pieces to hold the board up. One winter day we decided they resembled ice skate blades and attempted to strap them to our shoes and take off to the frozen waterhole in the backyard. It wasn’t successful, but we later played Family Feud, so all fun wasn’t lost. My sister used to dance outside with a mop. She was graceful, you guys. I would watch her and marvel and how her hair would flow around when she and her cotton companion would spin. I love the fact that my tiny root has that same ability to transport herself and her toys to any space and time and be anything she wants in her own imagination. One of my fondest memories as a little girl was the time I spent and continue to spend with my grandmother doing one of our favorite things; playing games. You see, my grandmother was raised working in fields, and there wasn’t much time for anything fun. Back then, you had children to help with farm work. They weren’t these over-indulged adolescent children you see nowadays with a face full of technology. They were farm hands. When my grandmother had a moment away from the field, her mother would sometimes sneak and play games with her, and it was a treat that she carried with her and shared with my sister and I growing up. I’m not sure there is a card game or any other that she would turn down. Every time I would go for a sleepover, you could expect copious amounts of Skipbo, Yahtzee, Rumicube, and, my all-time favorite, Aggravation. She would take the time to show me how to play and even help me along on my first few rounds, but after you got the hang of it, look out! She’s coming to get ya. On and off for a year or so, I would find myself casually looking in the game section of department stores trying to find a replacement for our old wooden Aggravation board that, after years of making memories, had become a shell of it’s former self. I wanted to show the roots how to play and perhaps give them a reason to disconnect from technology long enough to find that this happy childhood memory of mine could be a source of happiness for them, as well.
One day I decided to tap into my go-to resource for all things hard to find. Etsy! To be honest, I am anything but a pessimist, but I went in with low expectations of finding what I needed. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Much to my surprise, I found an amazing little store by the name Amish Toy Box who made the exact Aggravation game board that I had been looking for. I wanted a large wooden board with the classic brightly colored marbles, and that’s exactly what I found. When it arrived I was over the moon happy with the quality of the board and the fact that the marbles were slightly larger than the ones we used as kids, making it perfect for tiny root fingers. In the past month, we have played this game over and over. I taught all the roots along with my husband how to play, and most nights, the boy root will ask if we are playing.
So often I forget the memories that I should remember. They come and go and I try to make a mental note, but so often it’s gone forever. Not this! This is a staple, and one I think will last. It gives us time to get away from everything else and focus on being together as a family. My grandmother hasn’t seen the new board just yet, however, I have called to ask her to clarify a couple of the rules for me. She’s 91 now, and while Aggravation wasn’t her all time fav (she’s more of a card shark), I will forever be grateful for those aged farm hands that taught me how to play and how to love, how to laugh at yourself, how to enjoy a good top shelf margarita, and how, as long as you are classy, you can spell any word you want to in Scrabble Slam.
I recently shared a photograph of my family playing Aggravation on one of my social media pages, and come to find out, this game isn’t a secret. Many families share this as one of their favorite past times and not only do they love it as much as I do, but they, too, learned from their own grandmother how to play. Big love and thanks to those Gran Gran’s out there that are still with us and still remind us of how important it is to be here now with each other, absorbing all the time we can and passing it down to new generations. Live, Love and Grow Roots