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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Fun and games in rural Kansas

© Another Day in the Country

Playing table games figures strongly in the way our family has enjoyed being together, and that tradition continues. My sister and I often are invited to the house of our cousins’ kids to play a favorite game. called Jokers and Pegs.

Such a strong gaming competition has evolved that we keep a record of the games played and which team is currently winning or losing.

We haven’t set a prize amount for the winners, as yet. So far, we are content to occasionally leaf through the book and remember particularly intensely close competitions.

While the competition fuels the fun, it’s friendly and the source of interesting conversations and funny stories later on.

It was while relating one of these game night tales that my grandson’s Aunt Komo said, “Oh, that sounds so idyllic. I wish we had time for a game night!”

I could understand how nostalgic my stories sounded to her ears.

The reality is that in California there are so many more options for entertainment than there are in Ramona, Kansas, population 100 plus or minus.

It’s at least a 40-mile drive to any theater from where I live. There aren’t a lot of restaurants available. Even table game players are scarce in Ramona. But if you have a table and a deck of cards, you can have game night — even if it is just two people.

When I’m in California, it seems as if we have to work to squeeze in an evening of playing games.

One person has to work late. Someone else is too tired. Electronic gadgets take priority, and I’ve been known to take pictures for the year-in-review photo album of the whole family lined up on the couch, each one immersed in their own private world of answering calls, texting, playing online games — sitting next to each other but worlds apart.

And so the world turns! As I’ve told you in this column, I’m looking forward to entertaining two almost-teenagers from California for a couple of weeks at the end of summer in Kansas.

“For sure we’ll have game night,” my grandson enthuses.

“You’ll have to teach your cousin how to play Jokers and Pegs before he comes to Kansas,” I answer.

We don’t want him to experience too much culture shock.

As soon as I heard that airline tickets had been purchased and this Kansas visit was actually going to happen, I began mentally making a list of activities that might be fun for a couple of kids.

“We have to take them to a demo derby,” I told my sister.

Every year since grandson Dagfinnr has been old enough to maybe enjoy all the kerfluffle of a demo derby, I’ve wanted to take him, but it’s never worked out.

Either the dates of their visit to Kansas aren’t falling at demo derby time, or my plans get waylaid. Not everyone in my family is as enthusiastic about demo derbies as I am.

LeeRoy, our family cowboy, tells me that he has some ideas about what the boys could experience.

Calving time won’t have started up again on the ranch, so I’m wondering what he has in mind — cleaning pens?

Haying season will be long over, and few farmers actually buck bales any longer.

“Keep those boys off four-wheelers,” my daughter cautions, “Will you promise?”

“Swimming at the Hillsboro pool,” I say, “they’ll enjoy that in all this heat!”

“Mowing the lawn,” my sister adds. “We’ll have to teach them to use our riding mowers, and they can have fun doing something useful — if we get rain and the grass hasn’t stopped growing.”

“Game night with the cousins.”

I’m writing all those things down, starting a list of cultural events in rural Kansas so these kids can experience what it’s like to spend another day in the country.

Last modified July 2, 2018

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