Betty J. Slade
Timing is everything. I seldom find someone who will take the time and play Scrabble with me. Only one family member will play the game with me. When our youngest daughter comes over, we pull out the Scrabble board and match wits. Our scores end up a point or two from each other. She wins one and I win another.
It is Sunday afternoon, a great day for a game of Scrabble. The score is 270 to 271 and I'm lagging by one. I am holding a Q looking for a U and we each have only a couple of tiles left.
My competitive self is sweating bullets, while my Sweet Al is shooting bullets. "Where are my Hawaiian shirts? Did you give them away? You always give away my good shirts."
Without looking up, I say, "They're hanging in the upstairs closet." What I'm thinking: Go away, my mind is on the game.
Maybe I did give away a few of them the last time I cleaned the house, but I surely wasn't going to enter into that discussion right now. Besides, he has 50 of them if he has one, yet those shirts were the only thing on his mind.
"I want my shirt with the Woody on it."
For those of you who are too young to remember, a Woody is a station wagon made in the late '40s and '50s with wood paneling on the side. They were popular in Hawaii back in the day, but were we going to Hawaii any time soon? I know of no plans, at least not for the moment.
All I can think about is finishing this game. If my Sweet Al doesn't find what he is looking for I may lose my mind. If I don't get rid of this Q, I am going to lose the game.
Finally, our daughter intercedes, "Daddy! Just go look." Al shuffles away like a pouting lost puppy. She looks at me and we both laugh.
As quickly as I asked myself what this was all about, I had my answer. It's all about timing, and it was my time. The letter Q had not left my hand since my Sweet Al started his rant about his favorite shirt and I was not giving in. I was on a mission. I grabbed the Scrabble dictionary and found what I was looking for. There were seven words that started with a Q without the U. I can feel victory at my fingertips.
Meanwhile, Al's fingertips were frantically flipping through hangers in the closet. I had a feeling this conversation was not over yet.
I glowed as I won the Scrabble game by nine points. My Sweet Al had a bit of a glow also. Not content with just any Hawaiian shirt, he has now become hotter than beach sand on a summer day.
The Final Brushstroke: There were many lessons to learn that day. First, don't give away other people's things. Second, show more respect for the one you love than for the letter Q in the Scrabble box (unless, of course, it is a close game). Third, timing is everything. Know when to hold, know when to fold.
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