Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Cribbage?

Cribbage is a great two person card game. Louie Palcher taught me to play years ago and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to pass his knowledge down to the younger generations.
Of course it was hard to focus when I was playing with Louie. We’d take a break from playing in the kitchen and wander over to the porch.
From there we could look out over Burntside Lake on a nice summer day. There’d be some piano music playing from a cassette and soon one of us would be drifting off for an afternoon nap.
Back in the kitchen Louie would be taking the apple potica he made that morning out of the oven. That was another distraction, the delicious smell of the apples and cinnamon baking.
Louie was patient and I was eager to learn. There were many, many games before he decided I should know better and stole points I forgot to count.
On Christmas Day my niece was asking if anyone played cribbage since she and her boyfriend Alex were wanting to learn. It was time to pass along Louie’s knowledge.
I had Kelsey and Alex play most of the first game with their cards face up on the kitchen table. I explained the rules but realized their eyes were glossing over. Like me, the best way for them to learn was to play.
During that first game each of them had some great hands. Sevens and eights, fives and face cards, sixes and nines, all ways to count to 15. In Babbitt there’s a weekly cribbage league at the bar that they call the 15-2 club.
If you’ve played cribbage, you’ll understand the reference. Counting those 15s for two is a regular part of playing.
Pegging to 31 can be fruitful as well, always plotting for ways to get to 15 or 31 as well as looking for pairs and runs to advance your pegs.
People look at a cribbage board and see holes and pegs. It’s really just a score sheet but 10 times better. The back peg is moved ahead of the front peg that reminds you where you started from.
Alex pegged a 20 along the way and it was going to be difficult for Kelsey to come back. I explained how you wanted to be at least eight points ahead when your opponent was dealing. They would be counting the hand in the crib as well so you needed to have a lead at that time.
That 20 was too much to come back from although Kelsey notched a couple of 12s to make it close.
We talked about all the different point combinations you can come up with when you count your hand. Eight is an average but there’s one number you can’t come up with, 19.
I like to say when my hand has not a point in it that I got 19 instead of zero. Reminds me of Louie.
Today I play when time allows, either with the traditional cards and a cribbage board or digitally on my phone.
The app allows you to either count the points yourself or have the computer do the work. You can play against a friend over the internet with alternating turns or just play the computer itself.
But that’s nowhere near the same as sitting in a log home on the shores of Burntside Lake or at a kitchen table in Babbitt on a cold Christmas Day.
Smelling potica in the oven is just an added bonus.