My father was amazingly methodical. And routine-d. On workdays, he rose at precisely the same time every morning, made coffee in the exact same manner, smoked two cigarettes as the coffee perked, and read the sports section of the Wisconsin State Journal. The comics he saved for lunch. I’m sure he read the front section of the newspaper, but I never noticed when.
On Sundays, he didn’t touch the newpaper until after dinner. Then, at seven, he sat at the kitchen table and read the paper from first section to last. As he was finishing, I would come into the kitchen with a game board or a deck of cards. The first years we played checkers; then, when I was in the upper grades, we played two-handed euchre; and, finally, when I was in high school, chess.
It was never about the games, exactly. It was more about sitting at the kitchen table. We talked as the checkers or chess pieces were being set up or the cards reshuffled, but never about anything that needed to be discussed. The games were like cups of coffee–something to hold onto, something to have in common.