In my parents' world, friendship trumped all--or at least that's how it seemed, as the runt of the family, who was always seeking a lap to cozy into. I have no other reference than a faulty memory, but most of their get togethers were most likely on the weekends, around whichever dining room table was hosting.
A good share of those get togethers were all about playing cards: Hearts? Pinocole? Cribbage? When it happened at our house, the dining room was full of laughter and cigarette smoke. I can remember spending as much time as I could under that table--I'm guessing I was around 4-6 years of age.
Sitting under the table allowed me to be close, but not in the way. I enjoyed the adult banter and teasing, as they played their games. During their breaks, there was more entertainment to be had. That's when Ray would do tricks with his false teeth, I'd get to recheck who was missing which digits from working in the mills and Lloyd would give me a lesson on how to whistle using two fingers. And Mel, how could I forget Mel? He was broad shouldered, tall, and his laughter could shake the dust off the curtains. Which always made me wish that every card game could be around our table.