Card sharks come in all breeds

Published 9:32 am Thursday, December 2, 2010

My aunt Maureen suggested I start this column out with writing that my mother is a “bid hog.”

Aunt Maureen proposed this during a heated game of cards during my trip home for Thanksgiving. It was Aunt Maureen and my mom’s other sister, Aunt Dolly, playing against my mom and Aunt Maureen’s husband, Uncle Andy, in a game of pitch.

For as long as I can remember my family’s favorite past time at family get-togethers has been playing cards. Canasta, pitch, euchre, etc.; they play it all. At any gathering it’s easy to see that I come from a family of card sharks.

It all started with my mom’s parents who would entertain visiting family members and friends with a game of cards With my mom and two aunts growing up in that household it’s easy to see why they love playing cards so much…and also why they take it so seriously.

My family tends to get venomous toward each other when it comes to a card game. Fists come down on the table in fervor when a trick is played or a hand is loss; curses are muttered; snarls rise from throats and disgusted glances are tossed back and forth.

Back to the most recent card game in Rochester, NY, my four relatives had already been playing for quite some time when the names began to fly.

Aunt Maureen called my mom a bid hog because she believed my mom was overbidding her previous hands. My mom then attempted to place a hex on my Aunt Maureen’s next hand of cards while dealing.

I often just sit at the table watching witty conversations bounce back and forth. Needless to say, it’s all hilarious to observe.

In my family I’m the proverbial black sheep because I don’t like playing cards, despite my family’s best attempts to get me to turn into a card shark. They tried from when I was an early age to get me to play. I have baby pictures of me sitting with my mom and grandma as they played.

But it was all to no avail as I still do not play cards and they’ve jokingly disowned me, saying I’m not a VanDerBroek.

And though sometimes they call each other spiteful names and try to place a curse on the other’s cards, in the end they’re always laughing and enjoying their time together.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.