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To Hand & Foot Players Everywhere
30-Sep-2008, Culebra, Puerto Rico

CURRENT LOCATION: Anchored in Ensenada Honda, near town on Culebra
18 18.326' N, 065 17.979' W

[Note: This blog is dedicated to all of those with whom I have enjoyed playing the card game 'hand & foot' over the years. I have taught many folks how to play since I, myself, was introduced to the game way back when in a living room in Indiana (too many years ago to count), and I continue to be amazed at how broadly the game is played across the country. Rules differ considerably from location to location, but the nature of the game remains the same. It is a simple game which takes a long time to play and gives plenty of opportunity for socializing as you wait for your turn to toss some cards on the table. Add in a little wine, and you have the perfect way to spend a Saturday night.]

Over the course of the last year, Sheryl and I have been fortunate enough to meet many new people. Initial conversations often involve the gathering of background information, and a common question we are asked is, "How did you two meet?"

Well, the answer is not one which is an exciting story, but it does have some interesting social features. Following my divorce, I lived in North Carolina for a little over a year before moving to Boston to pursue a new job. During that time in North Carolina I was trying to establish myself as a single guy in a new part of the country where I didn't know anyone. I bonded with a group of similarly single transplants who spent much of their time (and money) at a local Pub. We decided that we might find a better venue for our time spent together and started Saturday Sand Volleyball at the apartment complex where many of us lived.

This Saturday tradition of volleyball became quite an event over that first year, with as many as forty people in attendance on a sunny afternoon. Sheryl, however, was not among them. When the job in Boston came up, it was with great sadness that I took leave of my friends on the sand and headed north to a colder, more concrete world. After a year of living in Boston, I decided to move back to North Carolina and back into the same apartment complex where I had lived before. Saturday Sand Volleyball was still in session, and I hopped on the court my first day back in town. During my absence the big crowds had dissipated, but the core group of my friends were still regulars on the sand. However, there was one face I did not recognize. One very pretty face. After some not-so-subtle inquiries, I strolled over and introduced myself.

Sheryl had started playing volleyball after my departure, but was now a regular on the court. So, we started dating and already had a large group of mutual friends with which to spend time. Saturday Sand Volleyball remained a staple for another year or so before it finally faded away. And, during the off-season, we would keep in touch with our volleyball friends by playing cards on Saturday nights. You guessed it, the game of choice was quite often Hand & Foot. Therefore, the game holds a special significance to Sheryl and I as it reminds us of those wonderful times with those wonderful friends.

It was much to our surprise when we came to Culebra and discovered that a group of people on island got together regularly to play Hand & Foot. We were invited to join and have been regulars at the card table now for nearly two months. Attendance at the games is beginning to grow as those who have taken a summer break from the island are returning. In fact, this past Saturday there were enough people to play two concurrent games. That's six people at each table.

As much as we enjoy the games, Sheryl and I feel a little awkward about our ability to contribute. You see, the game rotates from house to house each week, and we don't have one of those any more. We have considered trying to host a game aboard Prudence but several logistics stand in the way. First, how to get everyone out to the boat (remember we are reduced to rowing these days). Second, our table space and seating space are somewhat limited (anyone who has played Hand & Foot knows how much table space is required to spread out all those cards). And, third, the comfort factor. As noted previously in other posts, our home is uncomfortably hot in the early evening hours. It really does not get comfortable until late into the night. Additional bodies aboard (hiding from the mosquitoes behind screened hatches) would only exacerbate the warmth.

So, I suppose that for the duration we will continue to bum a ride from someone to the hosting home of Saturday night cards and hope that we don't wear out our welcome in this rather lopsided social arrangement.

[To all my Hand & Foot friends in Indiana, North Carolina, Oregon and England (you know who you are), here's hoping that you are still finding time and friends with which to play the game. Cheers to all of you. -Doug]>







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