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Perspective: Read 'em and weep

Chris Liverani

I'm stuck on a memory.

I can hear the shuffle and see my dad spinning cards face down around the table.

There were four or five of us. Mostly family, and all ages. So Dad liked to add a little humor for the young ones, still learning.

"Read 'em and weep," he'd say, as he dealt the cards.

We were playing penny ante poker using the red, white and blue poker chips that were forever stored in the old tin canister.

"Ya gotta pay to play," Dad said, waiting for everyone to ante up.

That was basic poker at our family gatherings. And I was thinking the other day how much I'd like one more round of poker with Dad and those little quips he'd toss out.

He taught me the table banter and mannerisms. For example, after every hand you shuffle the cards then drop the stack in front of the player to your right. It's poker courtesy to give them a chance to cut the deck.

"Cut 'em deep, win a heap," Dad would say. I tended to just tap the top of the deck, which meant I chose not to cut the cards.

Dad didn't say much about the hand he was dealt, unless it was bad.

"I've got a hand like a foot," he'd grumble.

I wish I could remember more of his mannerisms. Those poker games are on my pile of memories lately. I'd like one more chance to tap the top of that deck and say, "Deal 'em Dad. I trust ya."

I'd watch him deal around and say, "You gotta pay to play? You in?"

And through a big smile I'd say, "Oh yeah, I'm in."

I’m Lonny Cain … and that’s my Perspective.


Lonny Cain, a graduate of the journalism program at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, has been in the newspaper business for more than 45 years. He and his wife have three sons. They live in Ottawa, where he was managing editor of the local daily newspaper for 30 years, retiring in December 2014. He continues to be a columnist for The Times in Ottawa and is pursuing other writing projects.