lost in – errr, by – the shuffle

The hands.

During a card game the other night, someone remarked on my shuffling technique. Said it was fast and unusual and he couldn’t figure it out and would I do it in slow motion.

Of course I had no idea what I was doing either! So I obliged, shuffling sloooowwwwwly and deliberately many times over while the table studied and sought to replicate.

“I thought maybe you were a professional card dealer from Vegas! …” he quipped.

“Nah, but I am very adept and skilled with my hands,” I acknowledged. “Especially anything that’s very detailed and involving tiny stitching, handiworks, embroidery … ”

“I can see that,” he said, requesting another shuffle, then another as he stared from across the table.

Then I shared a favorite story. Many moons ago, on a visit to her house, my grandmother appeared at my adolescent side with an object in her hand.

A necklace. Rather, a necklace that had become a knotted mess of teeny tiny gold links.

“Can you untangle this?” she asked.

“Sure! I’ll try” I replied, eagerly accepting the challenge.

While the rest of the family chatted, I sat at that table in the den with the glass top — funny what the mind remembers and doesn’t remember over the years — and with the tip of a straight pin methodically and patiently unraveled the chain.

Took a while, sure, and it was sooo worth it! Grandma was quite pleased, if not a little disbelieving, while I felt the reward of having been of service (bonus points that it involved a natural talent!).

“I was also good at the piano,” I told the cards gang.

We had a piano when I was a girl — a black baby grand that filled a corner of the living room. I was a natural with the facility and dexterity of hands, superb eye-hand coordination (to this day!), focus and discipline in spades and the soul for music.

I used to get up at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m.! – unbelievable! – and practice an hour before breakfast and school, then again after school. I became rather good, participated in recitals and studied diligently.

Then the family decided to move and sold the piano. We ended up not moving until years later; the piano wasn’t replaced; the musical course was aborted.

That loss, void, regret and sadness are still with me. I confess to a remaining hunger and yearning for a piano. “One day when I grow up,” I fantasize, and only if dreams do have merit and come true after all.

Back at the cards table, despite discussion and efforts, no one did demystify the technique. You might say they were lost by the shuffle.

Hands. It’s all in the hands. Sleight of and otherwise. For what it’s worth, that little exchange did give rise to speculation as to whether there’s a blackjack table somewheres in a casino with my name on it.

{kidding, folks, just emphatically kidding!}


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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. aubrey
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 15:21:55

    I kind of wish I could take piano lessons. When I was (much) younger, I took piano lessons and was awful – I think it was the realization that to become an successful pianist it was necessary to practice for hours each day. I was 12-13 years old, and couldn’t bear the thought of all those hours. My parents agreed to curtail the lessons, but only if I told the teacher myself.

    I did it – proving how much I disliked my lessons. But now…years and years later!…well, I wonder if I should have continued with it.

    Reply

  2. Invictus
    Apr 29, 2011 @ 11:47:15

    I didn’t want piano lessons when I was a kid (I played saxophone and, during the college years, started learning guitar), but I would love to take them now. I’d never be as good as my dad was, who was probably at least session musician-level, but I think I’d enjoy just being able to crank out a song or two. Something to look forward to, methinks.

    Reply

    • allycatadventures
      May 02, 2011 @ 12:54:58

      @Brandon – My sister took piano too but as I recall didn’t relish it. Her instrument was the flute, which she resumed in later years. I never took to it but did love the alto recorder (self-taught); of course I also begged for the drums, with an offer to have them in the workshop off the house, beside the garage. My dad hastily put the kibosh on that idea, in no small part I’ll assume because it was his workshop!

      Reply

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