Rattle Them Bones And Play the Rock
January 30, 2013
A speaker with our sheriff’s department here in Haywood County, NC, confirmed that the sound made by racking the slide on a pump shotgun is one of, if not the most, distinctive sounds in our society today.
The sound of dominoes when they are shuffled is another.
If you’ve played the game often, you may be able to distinguish the composition of the domino pieces (or tiles) by the sound. Are they wooden, plastic, or ivory? (The tiles may also made of bone or rock, which accounts for two of the commonly used names for the tiles.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominoes
When I grew up in the south, dominoes were a part of life. Everyone played.
To check the interest level in 2013, I asked about the game on Facebook. The results confirmed that interest and participation in games involving the spotted tiles is widespread.
From California, an African American friend, “ My people play dominoes to the tenth generation, ha ha!”
From the southwest, “ I wish I knew how to play. I grew up in East Texas where playing dominoes was de rigueur! Even my children know how. I remember card tables being set up and powdered with baby powder before a game started. My maternal grandparents were serious domino players.”
From the UK: “A better question would be, ‘Who doesn’t play dominoes?’ Bones, and Fives and Threes are games we play regularly.”
And from my home state of Louisiana, even in 2013, “Us folks down here still play on the front porch, perfect way to spend a Friday evening.”
My most fond childhood memories of playing dominoes come from visits to my mother’s sister’s home. My uncle loved to play. He often played during breaks at his job. In my mind, he was a pro. He reveled in blocking the game. It frustrated my father. It tickled me.
When my wife and I lived in Baton Rouge, we enjoyed “game night” at Ingleside United Methodist Church. Often, the game of choice was Mexican Train dominoes.
The results of my informal, unscientific survey on Facebook, are comforting. It’s nice to know there are still domino fans out there.
In my first novel, The Tourist Killer, I introduced a group of men who hang out in an “old man’s” bar called the Louisville Tavern. They enjoy passing the time playing dominoes and checkers while sipping on draft beer served by Louie the bartender. All seven men have first names that are also the first names of past U.S. Presidents.
In my second novel, the group’s name serves as the title, The Presidents Club.