Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Continuing a Tradition


The highlight of my Christmas Day was not the lousy Chinese food I ate or even the entertaining movie Charlie Wilson’s War, but rather a silly game that Deborah’s family has been playing since she was a child.

We were part of a group of 15 people invited to her house for dinner. It was not a traditional turkey, but rather a lamb roast with mint jelly. There were lots of miscellaneous side dishes and homemade Christmas cookies for dessert.

But then the tablecloths came off and we lined up as two teams on opposite sides of the table. One team passed a quarter from hand to hand under the table until the captain on the other team said, “Up Jenkins.” At this point each team member held fisted hands up with elbows on the table. On the “Down Jenkins” command, they slapped their hands onto the bare table with one person concealing the quarter under the palm of his hand. The other team then had to guess exactly which hand was hiding the quarter. This continued until the other team guessed correctly.

It was obvious that Up Jenkins had been played for many years because if you looked carefully you could see quarter-size indentations in the wooden table. I’m sure there were some new ones after tonight.

It was fun to be a team. It was fun to bluff. It was fun to keep a poker face. It was fun to guess. You learn a lot about a person playing this sort of game.

This was an entirely unorthodox Christmas dinner, where at least 4 of the guests were Jewish, there was never a mention of God, and there was no Christmas music. But the spirit of giving and friendship was alive and well. It was an evening I will remember for a long time to come!

8 Comments:

Blogger media concepts said...

I thought you'd get a kick out of this. For Jews (converts and otherwise) who feel left out at Christmas, Sarah Silverman's idea, expressed musically, is to "Give the Jew Girl Toys." http://laist.com/2007/12/25/lunchtime_video_1.php

12:44 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Matt -- Hilarious! Where do you find this stuff? Love the last scene...

8:29 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

It doesn't sound unorthodox to me ... I've attended plenty of Christmas dinners and celebrations that had nothing to do with Jesus. The game sounds fun.

Happy merry jolly ... it's all about the light, not about the religious affiliation!

8:50 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya -- I'm starting to get it. I think I'll take a break from Chinese food next year and just play Up Jenkins!

9:03 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

The game, the dinner, the night sound absolutely perfect. I'm glad you enjoyed the holiday.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Never heard of the game. THough, I would not have minded lamb instead of turkey (but Sofia doesn't like lamb).

4:54 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- It was just right this year.

Richard -- I'm with you. I prefer lamb over turkey any day. It has more flavor and it doesn't make you sleepy.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

The spirit of giving and friendship is what all religions are about mostly anyway!
What a nice thing to be included in such an eclectic group.

8:04 PM  

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