Tag Archives: Scrabble

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

So, I’m down here in Georgia again, visiting my folks. My dad and I have the same birthday, May 18, so we’re doing an early birthday weekend. One of our wonderful helpers made me a birthday cake and Daddy is having a piece right now.

This morning Mama and I played a game of Scrabble and I thought you (especially Marty) would like a report, so I took notes during the game. It was the best game she’s played in years! I was SO HAPPY!

Mama went first and was absolutely fine for four turns making BEAT, DREW, attaching SUN to SHARES for a triple word score, and then making LOPE. Unfortunately she hit a snag when she put down VAZE. Here is our conversation after that play:

Me: What does that spell?

Ma: Vase.

Me: In what universe?

Ma: That doesn’t spell vase?

Me: No.

Ma: What spells vase? (Isn’t that cute?)

Me: V-A-S-E.

Ma: It was a perfectly good place to use a Z. (Pause.) And you had to mess it up.

And of course then I felt like a complete heel, because in the larger scheme of things WHO CARES? I told her that if she put it down again (which she often does, having forgotten she's already played the word), I’d just let it go. But, amazingly, she did not put it down again but put down VAGUE and later used her Z later to make DOZE. I’m telling you, she was firing on all cylinders.

After VAGUE, she was leading so I said, “You’re ahead of me! You’re ahead of me!” To which she responded, “Good, good, good!”

At another juncture she was even further ahead. I said, “That puts you 15 points ahead of me.” She said, “Some days are like that.”

Other words she made were: JANE, RAG, ANDREW (adding AN to DREW), WORMY, KIND, QUIET, MEN and ON in the same play, and TO and DO in the same play which also landed on another triple word score. But her cleverest play was adding TED to ALLOT for her third triple word score.

In spite of all her great words and excellent plays, by the end, I had finally pulled ahead. (The Force was with me!) When I told her I had won, she said, “You beat me?” I said, “Only by 13 points.” She said, “Wow. That’s ridiculous.” Which it was. Why didn’t I let her WIN??????? She’s 85 years old and I still try to beat her? What’s wrong with this picture?? On the other hand, I know me well enough to know that if I let her win all the time, I eventually wouldn’t want to play. So, all I can do is work with what I’ve got right now. And sometimes she does win. And that makes me happy too. As Kenny Rogers said, “You’ve gotta know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em.” Okay, so that was about poker. Somehow it seemed appropriate....Go figure!

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

I’ll probably blog about the Misfit Jam tonight, but just in case I don’t, I wanted to share a few comments that Mama made while we were playing Scrabble this weekend. (These comments are especially for you, Marty, since you get such a kick out of them!)

I will preface these by saying that all her long life, for all of her 84 years, Mama has managed to bury her competitive streak so deeply that I didn’t even know she had one! (Although others might be quick to point out that it probably leapt right into me on the day of my birth! Ditto the rest of my sisters!) So that’s one thing that makes these remarks so funny to me. And they are all said in a completely deadpan manner.

Murphy to Mama: “Now you’re ahead of me.”

Mama: “Good, good, good. That’s the way I like it.”
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Murphy to Mama, after Mama has made a small score: “You’re still ahead of me.”
Mama: “That makes me feel better. It certainly does.”
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Murphy to Mama after she makes another small score: “You’re still ahead.”

No comment from Mama. I think maybe she didn’t hear me. So I say, “Plus you messed up my word.”

Mama: “Good. That makes it even better.”

And now one poignant comment:

Mama had the Q and was studying the board long and hard, trying to figure out a way to use the U that was down. It couldn’t be done. So I said, “I’ll put down a U that you can use.” So on my next play, I put down “dune” with an easily-accessible U. So I say to Mama, “Here’s a U you can use.”
She says, “What do I need a U for?” Sigh....

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the time to spend playing Scrabble with Mama. I’m building memories.