It was just as much a part of summer vacation as boating and skiing and sunning and swimming were.
In fact, for one week each summer, it was the mandatory nightly routine.
The cottage was small. Painfully small for two adults, five teenagers, and two kids. I mean, it was only a two bedroom cottage. But somehow that added to the comfort of it all. That scrunchedness made it even more fun.
The kitchen table was meant to seat six, but we jammed in nine.
Shoulder to shoulder.
The people on either side of you were your enemies and your allies in this game. They could help you pile up Draw Twos on someone or they could change the color on you at the last second causing your lone card to multiply into an entire “mit-ful” as my dad would say.
I chose my seat wisely.
Back to the windows on the long side of the table.
Never next to my mom who would act like she felt bad as she skipped you every. dang. turn.
And I liked to sit across from my middle brother because we would high five as we launched an evil Draw Two attack on one of our neighbors piling up until someone broke the chain and had to draw ten.
Ideally my then-boyfriend would be on one side and my best friend would be on the other. I could punch either of them without too much retaliation.
You can keep adding to Draw Two’s and Draw Four’s increasing the draw until some poor sap doesn’t have one to add to the pile.
When a hand is done? You have to keep all the cards in your hand for the next hand.
If you can’t play? You have to keep drawing until you can.
We are sort of evil.
I’m pretty sure it was named Uno not for the number of cards you are left holding, but for the finger you are holding up at the jerks who just made you pick up 16 cards.
Yes, I said jerks.
My happiest memories are when my family is ragging on each other and falling out of chairs with tears tumbling down cheeks at the number of yellows in your hand.
And NO ONE will change it to yellow.
So much awesome.
The night would grow darker, snacks would be passed around the table, the 300th soda would be cracked, and another hand would be dealt.
When we were little, Cottage Week meant no TV. And although as we got older there was one available, it wasn’t of much interest during Cottage Week; we would instead have Pearl Jam playing somewhat quietly in the background. It would be loud enough for us to all break out in song every now and then.
As the night wore on, the small kids would go to bed on the front porch, and my mom would throw in the towel, grab her book, and head to her room to read. This is when it would be requested that we “keep it down”.
Usually my dad stayed and played with us teenagers for a bit longer.
Snacks would start to become crumbs and without my mom there acting all innocent as she clobbers my ten year old brother? We would tire of the game quickly.
Someone would gather the cards and set them neatly on the sideboard.
For the next night.