Scrabble Fanatics

A while back, there was an article in one of my magazines written by someone who loves Scrabble and played with an old game that was missing some tiles. She said they made up cardboard ones to replace the missing tiles. I went bonkers and wrote a letter to the magazine (which, of course, they ignored). We have 3 or 4 Scrabble games in my house.

One time I bought a Scrabble game at a yard sale in Ohio for twenty five cents, just to take the tiles home with me. I left the game board behind. There is no excuse not to have all the tiles – you can even order missing ones from Scrabble.

The other day an article appeared in Parade magazine (the supplement that comes with our newspaper). Title is “My Family’s Scrabble Wars”. These Scrabble fanatics remind me of the women who write to cooking magazines confessing that they “read cookbooks like other people read novels”. Hello!?  All cookbook people read cookbooks like other people read novels. We have them stacked up alongside the bed with a couple of packages of post-its to mark the pages for recipes we want to try. When I tire of reading cookbooks I read something food related such as (right now) a book titled “Cather’s Kitchens” which I have been enjoying very much. It delves into all the comments and remarks Willa Cather made, in her novels, that related to food, recipes and kitchens in Nebraska during the period of time she was writing about.

But I digress.

Scrabble Fanatics.  The author of this latest Scrabble article says her children refuse to play with her now that they’re grown.  MY SON can’t wait to come to town (he lives in South Dakota) so that we can squeeze in as many Scrabble games as possible. He began to learn the game when he was eight years old and I did not “play down” because he was a child.  He would lie awake in bed memorizing words in an old unabridged dictionary.

We didn’t have all the Scrabble dictionaries and Word Builders back then. My granddaughter began learning the game when she was eight years old and she has just recently begun to hold her own and win. I always said “When you win, you will know you came by the win honestly – on your own”. She’s fifteen and we play Scrabble as often as we can, between her studies and softball.  And she’s winning her fair share of games.

But we have house rules (and I recommend house rules to anyone who plays this game a lot). Some of our house rules were adapted from friends’ house rules. My penpal in Oregon and her husband shared some of their house rules with me and we incorporated them into our house rules. One is, you can use any of the dictionaries to check on the spelling of a word – you just can’t use the dictionary to go fishing for a word. We have 4 Scrabble Dictionaries including the Onyx edition – plus a Taber’s Medical Dictionary – Plus an unabridged Oxford Dictionary – Plus a food dictionary  -plus, as a last resort – you can check with Google if you are pretty sure it’s a word and you can’t find it anywhere else. (Sometimes you’ll find it on Google when it’s no where else!).

Granted, no one challenges in our games. No one ever loses a turn.

In our house rules if you have 3 of the same vowel, you can toss one back and take another tile. Recently we amended that to 3 of the same of any letter. Another house rule is the blank – if you have a letter that represents the blank on the board, you can replace it with the letter and pick up the blank when it’s your turn – and then proceed with your turn. It keeps the blank going quite a lot longer.

The author of that last article wrote about having a notebook to keep their score records. We just keep all of our score sheets. I have one going back to 1991, a game with my brother Bill when he was here in California visiting. (Recently my granddaughter put all the old score sheets in order and put them into a file folder).  For, I come from a family of very competitive Scrabble players. Whenever I am in Ohio, you can bet there will be many Scrabble games with two of my brothers. My sister, her husband, and all three of their children are avid Scrabble players.

Our latest acquisition is the Super Deluxe Scrabble board.  It’s fantastic. It takes much longer to play a game; it’s twice the size with double all the tiles.. And yes, we have the travel Scrabble too.

Two years ago a penpal of mine came to California and we drove up the coast and to the Redwoods, then inland and to Yosemite. Every day, after we found a motel – we’d eat, fill up some wine glasses – and get out the Scrabble board. (I still have all of those score sheets too). It was the perfect way to unwind at the end of a day of traveling.

I am aware there are Scrabble games going on at Facebook. I’m not interested. I prefer the face to face interaction with another player (or two or three). And isn’t it wonderful that there IS something like a board game that–after 40 something years – is still going strong and provides entertainment and challenges.  (Whenever I win a game, I tell my granddaughter she’s helping me keep from getting senile or Alzheimer’s).

Well, I feel better now that I’ve gotten this off my chest. 

Scrabble, anyone?

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