December 6, 2009 · 5 comments

Rick has discovered two new delights in the past couple of weeks: cribbage and eBay.

This is how we came to be the proud owners of a vintage cribbage board this week.


While technically not a Christmas gift, it felt like one when we opened up the box.

The box has a gently munged corner and a number of scratches indicative of a well-loved game, like the soft I-love-life lines around Granny’s eyes. It also has a substantial yet slightly beaten up gold foil finish and a patina that made me think of the The Wise Men and their original Christmas gifts. It unleashed one of those precious insta-Christmas moments.



The board itself is a beautifully crafted piece of hard wood (maple?), almost of musical instrument quality. The grain is pronounced and thoughtfully positioned. It’s got a good heft in your hand, and the obligatory plastic red and green pegs are robust and slide in and out of the holes with ease.

As fans of good industrial design (see a previous rant,), we are Rick and Kathy, and we approve of this cribbage board.

The longer we studied it, the better it got.

For reasons I won’t go into here, I have spent a surprising amount of time lately contemplating the life and times of Wile E. Coyote. Aside from his arch enemy, gravity*, Wile E.’s greatest downfall was his unbridled passion for buying hope from eBay, except for him, it took the form of ordering the latest crack-pot invention from the ACME catalog company.


Imagine my delight! Which quickly shifted to “Um, the parallels here are kinda freaky.”

Rick… eBay… Wile E… ACME… Coincidence? I think not.

But wait! There’s more!


Time slowed.

I saw a rabbit in a top hat with a large stop watch scurry by, muttering, “I’m going to be late!”

Are you kidding me?! All those dehydrated boulders and rocket-powered roller skates had come from the ol’ Home and Native Land all along? Why don’t they teach Canadian kids the important stuff in school?

Like, spelling, for instance…


The distinction between “compliment” and “complement” is, evidently, a tricky one to master. Or maybe it’s simply a case of shifting spelling convention over time. Let’s just go with that explanation, shall we?

Once the weirdness died down, we took a moment to enjoy the olde tyme instruction booklet.

Rick had bought a 157-page tome on the subject a few weeks ago from Amazon (another of his addictions passions) by one J. T. Best, entitled “Cribbage Simplified: Beginner to Grandmaster.”

It turns out that Mr. Best, while incredibly knowledgeable about all things cribbage, has a real pickle stuck where the sun don’t shine about the game and a dangerously inflated sense of self importance. The short except below will clarify:


“Nuff said.

I’ll bet J. T. Best can pull off one mean “harrumph!” when he gets up a good head of steam.

I’ll also bet he’s a royal pain in the poutine in a before-dinner cribbage game.


Thus, the slim volume that accompanied the game was a relief. Plus, we loved the vintage fonts and the nifty tag line supplied by the Lowe game company.


A few short paragraphs on the basic rules and order of play, a quick pour of the adult beverage of your choice, and you’re all set to engage in the prime directive of cribbage:


And so we did.

* The Road Runner is just Wile E’s straight man. I really don’t think there was much genuine animosity between the two, except for Wile E’s incessant pursuit with intent to consume, and the Road Runner getting off the taunting “beep beep” just before Wile E. plunges, yet again, over the cliff. I have a hunch that off-screen, they were pretty good golf buddies.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dad December 6, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Kas, Do you remember playing crib with Grampa Lever? He had sayings for all the counts, for example – 11 was “legs eleven”, and 2 was “Morgan’s orchard” (don’t ask me where that came from). Also, after a certain play you would say “Grampa, you can’t do that” and he would say, “yes I can, I just did!”. There were many other comments you two exchanged, but they have slipped my mind.
And one nice thing about cribbage, you don’t need batteries.


Sandi Fentiman December 6, 2009 at 5:28 pm

I used to play with gramma Lever; although I never was really very good at the counting…or winning the game. 🙂 Those old vintage games should have wooden pegs made of different colored woods.


Kathy P. December 6, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Wonderful sense of fun, indeed! : )


Dad December 6, 2009 at 4:43 pm

You two never cease to amaze me in that you get such fun from so many simple pursuits. Life, indeed, is what you make it. I hope you never lose your wonderful sense of fun.



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