I Remember Blackness: Learning To Play Cards

I knew that Black Girl Magic existed the moment I saw my Aunt Linda do a ‘bridge shuffle.’

It was her that taught me and my little sister how to play cards, and life has never been the same for me. In the sanctity of my grandmother’s house in North St. Louis, my aunt taught me how to shuffle, and play WAR. In watching her hands make these 52 pieces of plastic-coated paper float between her hands, it was the coolest thing I had ever seen!

When she taught me how to do it? It was over!

From there, I learned more games: Speed. Twenty-One. Solitare (2 types). Tunk. Bid Whist. Gin Rummy. Pounce (also known as Nertz). And the gold-stamp of all Blackness: Spades. I learned how to play Spades at 12. I mean, for those of us that know how to play? It’s a whole thing, family.

It is a WHOLE thing!

It’s vibe, it’s culture and of course it is a practice in how to talk sh!t. I mean, from learning this game, I would gauge the men that I would date by whether or not they could play cards! Why is this? For me, playing cards has always been about focusing and strategy. If you could play cards it showed me three things: listening skills, attention, whether or not you can pay attention, and the most essential is–can I rely on you?

It’s never just about the hand you have–what can you do with it?

Card playing as allowed me access to people and spaces that are incredibly Black, and allow me to flourish and grow. Why would I trade that? Why would I want to not teach my children this aspect of culture that also allows them to embrace one of the many joys of being Black?

Besides, that door to teaching them Spades is closing…I have to act quickly. They might find their husband that way, y’know?

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