The day/year started out at 21 below zero this morning. The wage earners around here rolled out of bed and went to work in spite of the cold. We girls put Christmas stuff away and swept up a lot of wood stove dust.  It’s a typical after Christmas, beginning of the new year day.  Some of us are fighting a stomach flu.  

A game of Monopoly is being played all day long on the new area rug in the living room by the fire. The children started the games early in the afternoon and when Elv came home early from work, (It is New Year’s Day, after all) he joined the game.  The game of Monopoly has a history/saga all of its own in this family.  Elv and Steve whiled away hours of their boyhood playing it.  They cultivated and honed their own sense of business ethics/fairness over this game. 
     When they married, Nell and I, their respective wives, were expected to join the game. We did. It turned out that their sense of fairness came off as heartlessness to the two of us green and tender girls. We had to quickly buck up and fight back or gang up on them.  Which we did. By and by we had little toddlers playing under the table while we pored over the latest game, table top.  It wasn’t long until the toddlers were noisy children bringing down the rafters with laughter and running and playing while we continued to dicker for Boardwalk and Park Place game by game. 
    Nell and I did pretty well putting up with the two boys that would show up at the game board in place of our loving husbands… for at least ten years. I would tease Elv that if he could make money in real life like he did in Monopoly we’d be rich. But I was openly grateful that he didn’t run/boss/lecture his associates in real life like he did us in the game. Actually I hated that part of the game. Steve and Elv had worked out the ethics part of the game when they were 12 and 16 and try as they might they couldn’t get it across to Nell and I even after ten years of married life. But boy did they try! There were certain things you just didn’t DO! Trouble is, we never figured out what those things were, for sure. 
    In the end, it was Nell and I who finally bowed out of the game.  Let the older children play with those two noisy, heartless man/boys. We breathed us a big sigh and moved on to quiet chatting in the kitchen over dishes and women talk. But, it didn’t go so well for the guys.  The heart went out of the game for them. The children who were invited to square out the game just got their feelings hurt, which entirely baffled the guys. 
   So today when Elv joined the three children in the game I watched with interest. It turns out they are up to the rules and ethics that Elv enforces to make the game work properly. They’re up to the lawyering and grousing and griping and yelling and rudeness that is “okay” in this game. They actually argue back and hold his feet to the fire. I am getting a huge kick out of it! The snow is still falling gently and a ham bakes in the oven filling the house with a warm supper aroma. Let the game live on. I’ll watch…and laugh, listening to all Elv’s echoes coming back to him in perfect harmony from his children. 
Elv says that I have portrayed him and Steve as ogres and that it isn’t quite fair, but he enjoyed this piece and said I could post it. 

8 thoughts on “Monopoly”

  1. I DO NOT LIKE MONOPOLY. It is far toooooo much like real life of making money and losing money. We played it all day, all day, all day as children so when we had children we taught them to play Monopoly too and, but, after they did learn I quit! It is a good math teacher, gives the kids something to do in Christmas vacation and makes parenting easier because it keeps children busy and parents a brief reprieve.


  2. I remember you all playing Monopoly at the Campbell farm when Steve's lived there. Us kids would play in the stair well and totally bomb the house. And I don't think I ever played Monopoly with Dad and I don't think I shall ever try. I'd get my feelings hurt. But I'm glad the rest of the kids can do it.


  3. It isn't so much the ethics as seeing if you can make the proper amount of noise at the right times… And playing just as quickly as possible is a huge thing too I guess. I always get a kick out of playing Monopoly with Dad…. But I don't think I've ever finished a game with him. Amy and I always kinda slowly ooze out sideways and let Brad and he fight the last battle. Yesterday when I left: “Can I have all your money!?”-Dad


  4. I've never played that game with Mr. Graber. I suppose I should sometime, but I'm afraid I'd get soundly beaten. And Monopoly never was my favorite game, it just takes so long to get through it. ~GB


  5. I remember Monopoly games or hearing about them between Steve and Elv. And I learned all about Elv's game ethics as a little girl looking on. We three girls played monopoly and I think we grew up thinking Elv's rules were how it was actually played! 🙂 And I think your post was pretty accurate and enjoyable and it didn't portray Elv too badly! 🙂


  6. Yes, you MUST play by the rules. They might have had one “house” rule about the fees to the middle of the board, not sure on that. The whole point was that you must play by the written rules and it is unethical to not deal so that there is a “fair” distribution of the properties once they are all bought up. All the monopolies must be intact and evenly dispersed. Anybody coming into the game not willing to deal was soon thrown out or regarded as unethical, accordingly.:)


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