Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Patience Is A Virtue"

While it may be true that patience is a virtue, in this case, Patience, is another name for the game of Solitaire. According to the "History of Solitaire", it made its first appearance in writing in 1783 in a German book of games. It was described as a competitive game of cards where participants would take turns or play with separate decks of cards. It is believed that it became a solitary game when players practiced alone in preparation for competition.
"Patience" is the name generally used in Great Britain while in France it is called "Success". In Denmark, Norway and Poland, among others, the name of the game is "Kabal" or "Kabala" (secret knowledge). This goes back to when the outcome of a game of Solitaire was thought to be a type of fortune telling.

It was during my preteen years that I learned to play Solitaire. I became quite obsessive about it, hurrying through after school chores in order to fit in a game or two before supper. Then a few more games after supper with one eye on the t.v. I can't remember the exact configuration of the living room furniture, but I remember sitting on the north side of the chimney with the cards spread on some piece of furniture. Maybe it was just a t.v. tray?
I know I played game after game, trying to win. One time when there was more than one possible play, like the two Kings above, I was peeking underneath to see which card was most advantageous to play. Just like it was yesterday, I can hear my mom saying, "Ramona, you're only cheating yourself when you do that." Eventually I tired of playing Solitaire all the time and went on to something else. Until.......
we entered the age of computers. Solitaire once again became an obsession of mine. It is so easy to play. There's no need to shuffle and deal each new game by hand. A click of the mouse brings up a new game.
Of the more than one hundred different games of Solitaire, I only play the 'original' and Free cell. Now that I'm retired, my day doesn't officially begin until I've won a game of each.
When we got a new computer a year and half ago, the games that came preloaded on it were slightly different than the ones I was used to. If I remember right, my high score on the old computer was somewhere in the 12,000's. In eighteen months on the new computer, slightly over 9600 was my highest score. I despaired of ever cracking 10,000 again.
Then on Wednesday, the 13th, when I wasn't even trying that hard, I scored 10,116! Now, with a little patience, I may even beat that record.

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