By Hannah Berman

Games are not for everyone. From early childhood on, I was never great at games. My close friend Nancy always beat the pants off me when we would play jacks. She also always came out ahead when the game of the day was pick-up sticks. Clearly, agility was not my strong suit.

I didn’t do much better when the games were those that we played outdoors. Hopscotch was not my thing, and during school recess I was always the last one to be picked for a team when the game was softball. Clearly, I was no better when it was a game that involved activity than I was at those that were sedentary.

Most of the time, at parties, I was one of the first to get out when we played musical chairs. One of our favorite activities was playing hide-and-seek, a game that was not sedentary and did not involve agility; all that one had to do was either hide or find the one who was hiding. I never did find the kid who was hiding and I was rarely successful at finding a good hiding spot so I was easily found. I wasn’t bad at board games but I wasn’t great either. I never cared much for Monopoly or Parcheesi.

The years passed and I still didn’t do much better. Every one of my grandchildren knows that he or she can easily trounce me when we sit down to a game of backgammon and even a simple game of checkers. Two of my grandsons are great at chess but, in spite of the fact that my father was a chess fanatic and an exceptional player, I can’t play the game.

But as the years passed, things changed because I found some games that I am good at. I love card games and do well at those, and I eventually discovered an ancient game called mah-jongg. The game is played with tiles but is not even remotely related to Rummikub, which is another game I am not good at. Apparently, speed is not my thing. For three years, I’ve been hooked on the game that we know as Candy Crush and I am ashamed to let anyone know what level I am at. It’s a level that is humiliatingly low.

Recently, one of my childhood games has come back into my life. I’m dealing with hide-and-seek once again, but in a different fashion. This new hide-and-seek does not involve people and is really not much of a game. There are “things” that hide from me, and I am only moderately successful at finding them. That is to say that I do find them, but never in a timely fashion.

Several years ago, I received a pair of lovely leather gloves as a birthday gift. They were plum-colored and there was beautiful detail on them. I loved those gloves and always received compliments when I wore them. Then, one day, without warning, one glove disappeared. I looked everywhere but could not find the missing glove. Refusing to give up, however, I did not part with the remaining glove. I put it away in a drawer and let it remain there for many years. Eventually, I gave up; I finally tossed it a few weeks ago. Three weeks later, the missing glove turned up. It had fallen through a hole in the pocket of my jacket and had gotten stuck in the lining. I found it only because I was wearing the jacket and didn’t bother to remove it when I sat down at my kitchen table to jot down a note before leaving the house. As soon as I felt a bump underneath me, I knew what it was. I wanted to cry when I finally managed to get it out. There I was again with just one glove!

This is not a one-shot deal. I had a similar experience with an earring.

There are some things that I lose and other things that I find. The losing is bad, but the finding is sometimes worse! In November, I bought a lovely designer top. It isn’t a sweater or a blouse; it’s a knit top meant to be worn indoors. I found it in a store that was going out of business. That was a mistake. I didn’t have occasion to wear this beautiful top until two weeks ago when I was invited to a semi-formal gathering. At the party, I happened to be sitting between two people in a space that was tight. Suddenly, I felt discomfort in my left hip. Discreetly, I lifted the fabric slightly and there, in plain view, was a hard plastic security tag that had not been removed when I bought the garment. No alarm ever rang to alert me or the storekeeper to the fact that something needed to be removed before I walked out.

The store is no longer in existence, so there is nobody to go back to in order to have the tag removed. Now I need to find a store that uses the same type of tag. There are many different types of security tags. The one that adorns the inside of my new top has no markings to identify it. It is black and square-shaped. Before I head out and start looking for a place that uses this type of lock, I’m hoping that somebody will be able to help me by telling me that she knows where I can find a store that uses such a lock. I’m also hoping that if I find such a store, the cashier that I approach for help won’t think I stole the garment.

Looks like I’m back in hide-and-seek mode once again. That’s just the way it is. 

Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and gives private small-group lessons in mah-jongg and canasta. She can be reached at Savtahannah@aol.com or 516-295-4435. 

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