Title: C - Canasta
Blog Entry: C – ‘ Canasta’ the card game– Every two weeks on a Friday afternoon, a group of women get together at our local Parish Hall, to play the game of Canasta….It’s a fun afternoon.. We have approximately 14 – 16 players. The attendance varies from one fortnight to the next, depending if people have appointments or other commitments that day.   Over the years we have had an occasional man come along and join in but mostly it’s the women who attend.   We do not play ‘seriously’ as it’s meant to be a fun afternoon where people can get together and meet up with friends, have fun and relax.  Several of these women drive to other towns to play at that particular towns ‘Card Game day’ some driving 30 miles or so. At these towns other card games are also played including Bridge, Euchre etc. However, we only play Canasta. The ages of the players varies from 60 to over 80 years. Up until early this year we had one lady who was over 90 years and she was an absolute delight. We commence playing each year in March and continue through every fortnight until November when we all go to one of the local Pubs/hotels for a Xmas luncheon to finish up the year. On arrival each person donates $2 to enter the raffle for the day. The Raffle does not go to the player with the ‘ highest score’  but instead, she pulls out a ticket to announce who wins the first prize. Then the winner of that prize draws out another ticket to announce the winner of the second prize…. (Two raffle tickets being drawn.)  The players at various times throughout the year donate the gifts for the raffle prizes. The value of these gifts, not to exceed $10.   Many make home-made gifts. These gifts can include Homemade Jams/jellies, Lemon Butter, Relishes, Pickles, sauces, cookies, Crochet Coat hangers or hand stitched tea towels. Face washers or hand towels made into novelty gifts such as handbag shapes, Pantaloons etc. There are small gifts bags with a variety of things in them such as hand-creams, Bath and shower goodies, room deodorisers, note pads and pens etc.  Potted plants are also included in the gifts.  At the end of the year the money raised from the raffle is donated to a worthy local charity. Tables can consist of two, three or four people. The number of people that come to play varies each fortnight. Sometimes, like last Friday we had enough people to set up three tables of four. Having four at a table gives you a partner and 11 cards are dealt out to each one. If the numbers are uneven we may have one table with four people…. another with three and the other with two seated at the table. In the case of two and three at tables, the player scores individually.(having no partner).  With three at a table the number of cards dealt is 13 and when there are two at the table the number of cards increases to 15 which is quite a handful at the beginning of the game. Occasionally during the game, a Cell phone may ring. With many of the players having the same Ringtone, several of the players will jump up at the one time to answer ‘ their ’ phone ! This inevitably causes a laugh !! At 3.30 pm we pack away the cards and tables and some of the women go out to the kitchen to make tea and coffee whilst the remaining  stack away the tables then place the chairs around a large dining table. This is followed by a scrumptious Afternoon Tea.   Each player brings along a plate of food to share and the food is delicious!!  During afternoon tea if any of the members have a ‘ Joke or two’ to share that she has brought along, she reads it out causing much more merriment!!! .   Following that the Raffle is drawn and the winners open their parcel to show everyone what she has won. After cleaning off the Dining table and rinsing out the cups and mugs, making sure the room and kitchen are left tidy, we all head off home relaxed and with good memories of that fun afternoon.