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.

We always played Riemersma Rules which basically meant we did everything we could to screw people as hard as possible.

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.

About ksluiter

Just a small town girl...wait no, that is a Journey song. Although I do live in a small town. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, and a writer. We have joys and we have struggles. Just like you.
This entry was posted in I was an angsty teen, memories from being a dumb college kid, memories from being a kid, nonfiction, Red Dress Club, summer fun and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to one

  1. Roxane says:

    Seriously? You made UNO sound way more fun than I remember it. Also, I so badly want to have been at that table. You really took me there.

    The Riemersma Rules? Genius.

    Love this.

  2. We always played Uno during summer beach vacations too! And rummy. And Battleship. Oh, so much Battleship. I saw the RembeRED prompt this week and can’t believe I didn’t think of all the games we used to play at the beach! This really took me back, Katie.

  3. angela says:

    I want to play in that Uno game! It’s only fun if you can be evil about it 🙂

    And the part about Uno being the middle finger – genius!

  4. Tracie says:

    This is so fun! I have a card-playing family too, and on summer trips to visit extended family we would set up three tables and duke it out for the supreme winner.

    UNO is awesome!

  5. MamaRobinJ says:

    Awesome! We played UNO too, though I couldn’t remember the rules well enough to write about it. Your family sounds a lot like mine – so fun.

  6. logyexpress says:

    This sounds like my in laws’ style of play. It was quite a shock marrying into that when I was the baby of my family and used to them letting me win.

  7. NC Narrator says:

    When I was running an after-school care program, UNO was the favorite (and most hotly contested) game. I grew up playing card games, and when UNO was introduced to our little family of cardsharks, it was ON!

    Several years ago, we bought the UNO attack game – it’s a little shooter deal that spits a random number of cards out when you press a button. (Instead of Draw 2 and Draw 4, it’s hit the button) Seriously hilarious when someone down to their last card can’t play so they hit the button and get half the deck! ROFL

  8. Alison Lee says:

    I loved UNO! Of course the people I played with did cheat all the time. So your one finger for UNO analogy plays in quite well in my scenario. Sounds like a real fun time back then, Katie.

  9. Uno was and still is one of my favorites.Thanks for this great post giving Uno the credit it deserves as an awesome family game. Loved the real family time described here.

  10. story says:

    I remember monster games of Uno with my band friends in high school. Then, in grad school we started playing again, at the coffee shop every Saturday (once we realized we were too old to hang out at college bars). When one of hubby’s classmates went to score the round, we just looked at each other and said “Wait, this game has points?”

  11. Kir says:

    I wrote about UNO too…I still love that game, have it ready to go with us to the beach house this weekend, it’s the BEST GAME….and you made it come alive for me.

    I really loved this Katie…thanks for taking us with you as you walked down memory lane. 🙂

  12. Evonne says:

    I love Uno! I quite often use the Riemersma Rules. It’s so much more fun that way.

  13. tsonoda148 says:

    Yea, that’s how my family always tackled Uno. Good times. So many ways to ‘stick it to ’em’ and laugh. Loved it!

  14. CDG says:

    I didn’t realize people played Uno in a civilized fashion… Those are the only rules I ever learned.

    We’ll add to Uno to wine and Samberg night!

  15. Lindsay says:

    Ooooh I LOVE your rules! No holds barred…
    what a great memory. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

  16. Elisa says:

    So funny. I love how no one would change the cards to yellow. We’ve all been there before. Hysterical!

  17. Amy says:

    Those rules should be the new Uno rules!!! I am all for cut throat. Have you tried Uno Spin? Its a good time.

  18. It is wonderful the way those childhood games connect us to places and people.

    My brother always kicked my ass at Battleship. Years later, he confessed he could see where my ships were placed thanks to the reflection of one of the shiny lamp bases in my bedroom.

    Do you think GenYers will remember where they were when they downloaded Angry Birds? 😉

  19. I only have one summer getaway memory similar to this, and we played games (and sang Toni Braxton hits) all weekend too. Makes me wonder why my parents didn’t force a vacation like this more often.

  20. rubyspikes says:

    My favorite line: “And NO ONE will change it to yellow.”

    Awesome. I wanna come over and play.

  21. Jackie says:

    I want to come play Uno with you & your family!! Seriously… it sounds like a lot of fun and can see why it’s such a great memory.

  22. Carrie says:

    I never had as much fun playing Uno. I wish I could have joined your games

  23. Love this post! Our Uno games were never quite that fun. Great writing. You really made me feel like I was at the table with you. If only ….

  24. Uno = Middle Finger. This may be my favorite story yet!
    Came from TRDC, as usual…

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