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Passions in Poetry

What is Mah Jongg?

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Shirls
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since 08-05-2004
Posts 5
Massachusetts


0 posted 08-08-2004 11:42 AM       View Profile for Shirls   Email Shirls   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Shirls

MAH JONGG                                                                                           8/7/04

Mah Jongg......”OK, I give up, what is Mah Jongg?”  How many times have I been asked that question over the last 30 years?  I knew when I moved to my new home with two young sons that life would be a little different.  For the longest time I felt so uprooted from everything and everyone I had known.  I remember the occasional tears, the feeling that I was totally alone, though home was now only a short 30 or 40 minute drive from where I had lived for what seemed forever.  But young boys won’t let you sit around missing what used to be.  We all got out to play in the yard, went for short walks in spite of the winter cold, met our neighbors, found new and happy ways to fill the days.  

What I didn’t expect from the move was to find a new passion.  A new interest that would fill so many hours and become such a large part of me.  Laurie lived just a few houses away in this very typical American neighborhood.  She became a good friend as she is to so many.  We had such different backgrounds.  She came from Queens, a place far removed, in many ways, from a very sleepy little town in Massachusetts.  But our values were so much alike and for a bonus she also had two sons very close in age to my own boys.  It was beginning to look like I might actually survive the move.  Laurie introduced me to Mah Jongg.  There was an opening in her group.  This Chinese game was so different from any I had played before.  Clattering tiles with suits called Craks, Bams and Dots, deal to the right, not the left, Flowers, Winds, Dragons, Charlestons, pungs, kongs, quints.....there was a lot to learn.  It was a whole new language.  She patiently taught me the rules and some of the subtleties of this strange game, similar in some ways to gin rummy, but at the same time very different.  Before long I was hooked and I’d made a whole group of new friends along the way.

Tuesday became ‘Mah Jongg Night’.  Everyone knows that.  Husbands and significant others would never think to interrupt, knowing they might be put to work refilling the chip bowl.  More than likely they will find something equally important to do away from home for the evening.  Our co-workers know.  Please, never late nights at the office on Tuesday!  It’s that important.

This week it’s my turn to host our gathering.  There’ll be five players, including the bettor, from our group of seven.  I’ll have to make sure there’s plenty of chips, M&Ms, and maybe some fresh fruit this time.  Have to nosh while we play.  I think it’s one of the rules.  We’ll play several hands that night but more importantly we’ll also laugh a lot, or sometimes cry a little.  We’ll share news and trivia from the week just passed, ’solve’ the world’s problems or spontaneously start uncontrolled giggling over some little thing no one else would understand.

This group of good friends is a sorority of sorts.  We’ve leaned on each other through nearly every life experience.  I know at times it seemed to some that this game had simply become an excuse to briefly escape our day to day routine and socialize for a bit.  I think the reality is that Mah Jongg has become something bigger for the seven of us, more than a mere game .  Mah Jongg means ’community’, it means ’friendship’.
© Copyright 2004 Shirls - All Rights Reserved
Nan
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Member Seraphic
since 05-20-99
Posts 24455
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA


1 posted 08-08-2004 07:33 PM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

For some reason I tend to call on Tuesday nights.  She's never there - Always playing Mah Jongg... Some game with tiles & stuff - with all those long-time friends - One of these years I'll remember to choose a different night, mayhaps...

Nicely done, Shirl...
Mysteria
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since 03-07-2001
Posts 19665
British Columbia, Canada


2 posted 08-08-2004 11:15 PM       View Profile for Mysteria   Email Mysteria   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mysteria

Love that game and in Vancouver it is played by so many. Enjoying your writing Shirl, and looking forward to a bird watching story.
Sunshine
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Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
Posts 67904
Listening to every heart


3 posted 08-11-2004 08:49 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

quote:
This week it’s my turn to host our gathering.  There’ll be five players, including the bettor, from our group of seven.  I’ll have to make sure there’s plenty of chips, M&Ms, and maybe some fresh fruit this time.  Have to nosh while we play.  I think it’s one of the rules.  We’ll play several hands that night but more importantly we’ll also laugh a lot, or sometimes cry a little.  We’ll share news and trivia from the week just passed, ’solve’ the world’s problems or spontaneously start uncontrolled giggling over some little thing no one else would understand.

This group of good friends is a sorority of sorts.  We’ve leaned on each other through nearly every life experience.  I know at times it seemed to some that this game had simply become an excuse to briefly escape our day to day routine and socialize for a bit.  I think the reality is that Mah Jongg has become something bigger for the seven of us, more than a mere game .  Mah Jongg means ’community’, it means ’friendship’.


In my first marriage, unity thereof was "sharing with family" and that meant...we learned how to play euchre.  As does your group, we noshed, talked, flipped out our cards in high volume throws...you could hear the cards slapping against one another in quicksilver time.

The intimacy of a foursome, or even a few others over a game such as Poker, Mah Jongg, or even... Scrabble...holds to us throughout our lives.  

When a youngster, there was such a game, called in family vernacular, "Marbles".  Adults would sometimes attribute other names to it, more "adult" in nature.  When times got rowdy, rules were changed...the boards were all "handmade" by a dad, cousin or uncle who enjoyed working with woods. And some of the boards became quite fancy, and given away as seasonal gifts.  But always, the call of "Marbles, anyone?" brought several to the table, to

nosh, regale with ribald stories or tender moments...whatever was appropriate for the people at the table...

and there were times, whether with Euchre, or Marbles, that we would be fixing pancakes and eggs at 3:00 a.m., to keep the gamefest going....

Whether it be Tuesdays, or Friday nights, games bring families together.

As do words.  

Welcome to our world.  Bring some more with you, please.  You are indeed a treasure.
JamesMichael
Member Empyrean
since 11-16-1999
Posts 32439
Kapolei, Hawaii, USA


4 posted 08-15-2015 08:43 PM       View Profile for JamesMichael   Email JamesMichael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JamesMichael

I really like this...james
 
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