I have spent the past 40 years wandering in the land of euchre. When I married Dan in 1973 and moved to Indiana, I quickly learned that many get-togethers to which we were invited involved playing this card game. Having never heard of euchre previously and being quite shy, I was intimidated for the first several years of playing the game. Now, though it is not my favorite activity, I do play it on occasion more or less without fear.
These are some of the things I have learned about euchre. Whether I enjoy the game or simply endure it depends primarily upon the nature of the people with whom I am playing. If they are cutthroat euchre players, intent upon catching newbies making a wrong move, pointing out obscure and intricate strategies and gloating over their own expertise, then the game is no fun. If, however, they tolerate and occasionally even commit an offense and move along without raising too much of a fuss, I can relax and enjoy it. The same is true of life; I like playing that game with people who make the best of their mistakes and mine and move along without being preachy, condemnatory or condescending.
If I am holding both the left and right bower and an off-suit ace, I feel decidedly more confident than I do when I am holding all 9s and 10s. On a rare occasion in a euchre game, I have even chosen to “go alone” and have scored four points for my partner and me. As it is in euchre, so it is in life; temerity has its place, but opportunities are missed when people fail to recognize and act upon good fortune when it presents itself.
Common offenses a person may commit while playing this game include playing out of turn, failing to follow suit, unnecessarily trumping his or her partner’s ace, and forgetting which cards have already been played. I confess to having made all of those mistakes more than once. Upon reflection, I realize that the cause of such blunders was almost always a failure on my part to pay attention to the game. Although I was holding cards in my hand and appeared to be studying them, I was more interested in something else. My true focus was on a funny story another player was telling, the lovely decor of my hostess’s home, or the bowl of peanut M & M’s in the middle of the table.
So it is in life. The importance of paying attention to that game cannot be overstated. Let down your guard even for a short time and a relationship crumbles, your career veers off course, a fortune is lost, or you’re blindsided by an adversity that you should have seen coming.
A high price is paid when we fail to give our full attention to the task at hand. Consider the deadly consequences that result when a person tries both to text and to drive. On a lesser level, how many stitches have I had to rip out of a cross-stitch project because my attention was drawn to a TV program? How many trays of cookies have I burned because I was engrossed in reading a novel or solving a crossword puzzle?
Winning at the game of life is not a trivial pursuit. Keep your ears open, your eyes on the prize, your hand to the plow, your feet on the path, your shoulder to the wheel, your nose to the grindstone, your pedal to the metal, your rear in gear and your head in the game. Otherwise, you’re likely to be euchred.