Monday, August 26, 2013

poker with my mema

Yesterday was my Mema Kay's birthday. If you've visited my blog before you've read about my Mema, who died 6 weeks before my wedding (if not you can read about her here). But a story I've yet to tell is how my Mema Kay taught me to gamble.


a grainy shot, but one of the last pics I have of all of us with Mema, taken at a celebration dinner after me and Josh's engagement.

You see, Mema & Papa were avid Las Vegas-ers and loved a good hand of cards. Mema would come home from trips and bring me the little coins she hadn't cashed or tell me all about the shows, new video-style slot machines & games and the crazy stuff she saw people wearing on the strip (you know, standard conversation for a kid and her grandma).

Kay Harrell, rockin' the romper  and big sunglasses before it was even cool again... back in 1990 and looking hot at 55.

In the summers when I was younger, I either stayed at my Mema Dean's or my Mema Kay & Papa Dude's house during the day while my folks were at work. And when I wasn't playing in my own personal kingdom in Mema & Papa's yard (read about that here), I was playing poker with Mema.

We'd play Blackjack, or Texas Hold 'Em or Five Card Draw, I'm probably one of very few kids that knew a Full House in cards was even better than the TV show, at the tender age of 6. I learned to count money from playing poker with Mema and could bluff with the best of them. So when everyone got into playing in card tournaments or striking up a game of Texas Hold 'Em at a party in college and high school, I was ready to go, all thanks to my Mema Kay.

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The best part of playing poker with Mema? She cheated.  And when I finally caught on to her taking cards from the other deck of cards she had in her lap, she wasn't even sorry. She said that the biggest lesson in life and poker is to learn people's tricks and call them on it.

Words of wisdom from Kay Barnes Harrell, my Mema Kay and the best cheater with no shame that there ever was.

me, mema and papa after my high school graduation

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