Quaker principles are simple and true. Their mission is based on treating people with a sense of equality, peacefulness, integrity, community, and simplicity. Barclay Friends is a Quaker run facility and their mission statement runs true there. Maybe this is why they do not frown upon my Dad and his entourage while they sit in the "narthex" of a Barclay aisle and play poker.... with money...on a SUNDAY! This is the site my family and I came upon last Sunday as we walked down Barclay's long hallway. Scott and I and two of my three children had just come from church and we were hoping to spend some time with my parents and my sister who was flying back to Booneyville, USA later that day. At first glance, it just looked like a few elderly people gathered in a circle enjoying a nice conversation with each other. Dad has a way of gathering people around and engaging them in quick games of cleverness whether it's a made-up word game or a card game of hearts or spades. We used to do this after dinner at home when I was young and I always loved it especially since he was so entertaining. He is famous for never really following the actual written rules and so he would always come up with a much better, more simplified version of whatever it was we were going to play. He even does this when he golfs. It's a typical, fun quirk of his personality. Today, however, he was corrupting the minds of his octagenarian friends on a quiet Quaker Sunday! It was hysterical to watch and now my children and husband were scrambling to find chairs so they could gamble their silly heads off......they were only using pennys, but a lot of them!
I walked further down the hallway to head to my Mom's room where I know I would find my sister pecking and squawking over my Mom like we always do when we gather. I had a moment to quietly reflect over the past few years of my parents' "new" life apart from each other. I gave quiet thanks for the miraculous solution to my parents' previously horrible situation that was spiraling out of control. We had come a loooooooong way since those dark and troubled days. I actually had to stop for a moment and collect myself. I realized that it was 3 years practically to the day that Mom had been abruptly moved into Barclay. We had to separate them for their own safety. It was awful. This was the second time. The first time was to get Dad to realize that he needed to move out of his home and go to a smaller home. That was awful too but we succeeded. The second go 'round was three years ago. I slept in a hotel with Mom that first night right after Christmas when we stole her from Dad in order to keep them safe. It was the only place we could think of that would be handicap accessible. After that, she lived with us for 3 days and then lived with my other sister until a bed became available at Barclay. What a miracle that someone had to die and give up their room in order to save us from our situation. That was 2 days after Mom's birthday. She's a New Year's baby. I stood there realizing that today was the exact day only three years later. Wow.
I hear them cackling and laughing at who just won the hords of pennies for that round of poker. It shakes me back to reality and I again give quiet thanks that my Dad is happily and healthily gambling, on a Sunday, with elderly people and his grandchildren, in the comforts of a Quaker environment!
Later on that week, Mattie announces that she and some friends are going to the community center to play B.I.N.G.O. She said, "Mom, do you know that you can win money?!" She won that night. 85 BUCKS!!! She said that all the old ladies at her table were annoyed with her. Thanks DAD!