Christmas Dominoes

What do I do, in the midst of a busy week, when my washer stops working and there’s laundry to do? I call my mom and ask to come over and use her washer and dryer. And then I text my sister Linda and invite her to hang out with Mom and me and play games. I bring my clothes and laundry supplies and healthy snacks. What is normally a chore morphs into a family fun night.

One thing, of many, that I appreciate about my family is their adaptability and willingness to have fun. Mom and Linda were good sports about an impromptu game night as my clothes went through the magical process of becoming clean in the utility room. We cleared the dining room table and Mom brought out her set of Mexican Train Dominoes.

This game is easy to play, and yet requires some strategy. Each player builds upon her own “train” of dominoes, originating from a central hub, or station. The game begins with the double twelves domino being played, and progresses through to the double blanks. An additional train is created as well, that one can play on if you can’t play on your own train. Each round is over when the first player lays down all of her dominoes. The other players add up their points by counting the dots on their remaining dominoes. At the end of the game, the person with the lowest score wins.

This is a fun game to play. And best of all, the ease of play and pace of the game allows for time to chat and catch up on each other’s journeys. We laugh when my mom mutters, as she eyes her dominoes at the beginning of every round, “What a mess!” We tease Linda when she needs her glasses to distinguish between a domino with four dots or six.

We get caught up in our conversations and forget to play, or wonder whose turn it is. That’s expected and one of the things I love about game nights.

The photo above captures what happens when no one initially selects the double five to lead off the game. We took turns drawing dominoes from the boneyard, until at last Mom picked it up with only three tiles remaining. And note the laundry basket in the lower right corner, with clean, neatly folded clothes accumulating in it.

What a fun way to spend the evening. Had I been doing laundry at home, I would have been multi-tasking, working on other projects or doing housework while my clothes spun through the washer and dryer. It was a nice change of pace to spend family time talking and laughing and playing. Linda won the game. I left with clean clothes. Mom said she enjoyed having two of her girls present for the evening.

My washer will get repaired or I’ll purchase a new one. Whether I’m toting in a basket full of laundry or simply showing up, I want more family fun nights in my future.

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