For our prompt of “Blocks” today, I initially thought about the ABC blocks that I had when I was a very small child. But then Philippe and I have been watching a documentary on the history of video games so my mind leapt forward in time a bit to my favorite game of wooden blocks that made its debut in the 80’s. And that’s why we ended up with a couple of kittens playing Jenga. We used to play this game at family gatherings and it was super fun, but always incredibly intense and dramatic as well. The goal was simple enough, each person takes a turns removing a wooden block from the tower. Yet, each missing block, of course, reduced the stability of the tower. So, each move became a hair-raising endeavor that for one very unlucky person would end in a cavalcade of terror as the blocks all tumbled to the ground. There were shrieks and screams that would end in the kind of full belly laughter that makes life perfectly joyous. I was actually pretty good at the game, but it’s been years now since I’ve played it.

Our family loved playing all types of games, so anytime a new game came out, it was the featured star of that next family gathering. There were so may different games that we played and each one had its own charm. But games of skill and luck like this one weren’t the favorite games. My family loved word games most of all, so Scrabble and Boggle would usually top the list of games that we played consistently. This game appeared again at college gatherings, but soon parties consisted of just chatting and drinking instead. Indeed, I liked playing these games with my family most of all. I miss those days very much, but sometimes when I visit my mother a game will occasionally appear. These days, however, it’s far more likely to be a jigsaw puzzle of some kind instead. Those make conversations easier and give us a chance to catch up on life. Yet, there’s still just a touch of friendly competition to see who can put together the most pieces, of course. Or indeed, who will get to put in the coveted final piece of the puzzle.

Philippe and I put together puzzles during the holidays, but our games are more likely to be of the video variety now. It was fun watching the documentary on video games as I was there for every new little thing that appeared. I was a geeky little kid who adored computers and I dreamed of growing up to create my own video game one day. Like most childhood dreams, life didn’t quite turn out that way. As I grew up there was an endless set of possibilities and options that made deciding what to choose next a difficult task indeed. Though, I’m happy with the choices that I’ve made along the way. Each one lead me in an entirely new direction and allowed me to experience so many interesting things along the path. It’s a path I’m still happily on, and I’m continuing to make those little choices each and every day, pulling out a new idea and toying with it to see where it might take me. While it’s always possible that things could all come toppling down around me, I find that taking little chances is something that’s always worth the risk. Like those days so many years ago, playing with a tower of blocks.

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Kittens Playing Jenga Wooden Blocks Game Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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28 thoughts on “Tower Of Blocks

  1. Haha, that’s awesome. Our cats had a habit of ‘joining in’ with most of the games we played, and I can imagine that turning out quite badly with Jenga. It really is ridiculously tense and dramatic – I’ve long thought you could turn the blocks into bundles of cash, add some scary music and have a hit game show. I’d watch Million Dollar Jenga!

      1. It can make you emotional. The worst part for me is when it’s your turn next and you know it’s ready to fall, but somehow the person before you gets away with it. How!?!? Grrr! Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I’m surprised it’s not already on TV!

  2. Love the perspective on that pile of blocks and of course the kittens are adorable. We were always playing board games or cards or doing jigsaw puzzles when I was younger and they were always fun but it’s been years since I’ve seen a board game or a deck of cards. Did life just get too busy or did we all grow out of those “old fashioned” pastimes?

    1. Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 I don’t know! I was wondering the same thing. I think we think we’re too busy… but I’m never sure if we’re too busy doing things that would be more fun than playing games! 😉

  3. Fantastic Charlie! There was a gift shop back home that had a 15 foot version of this game out side their store as advertising. I’m looking forward to a quiet day at home tomorrow. Long 12 hour day today, 8 hours of it in the car. Home safe but tired. I hope that you are having a relaxing weekend!

  4. We didn’t play many games when I was growing up, but we always played Monopoly on New Year’s Eve. For some strange reason, I was very good at it. Too the point where no one would play it with me any more. Everyone said it was no fun to play when it took so long, and I always won. I don’t know why they said that. I was having a lot of fun!

    1. hehe!! Yay! 😃💕 So you’re a Monopoly master eh? I can’t remember the last time I played, but I think I was pretty good at it. Mostly, it was just the length of the game that stopped everyone from trying! lol

  5. Loved Jenga! My family wasn’t into games much, but I had friends who were, so we played a lot of Pictionary, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit. Dad and I played Cribbage a lot. He didn’t believe in letting a kid win just because they were a kid, so I had to earn it! 😂 These days the neighbors come down for dinner on New Year’s Eve and we play Scrabble.

  6. Hello Charlie,

    Those kittens look like they’re having a lot of fun. 🙂 When it comes to games, I think Im the square peg in a round family. They enjoy all sorts of games whereas I’ve always been the one reaching out for quiet jigsaw puzzles or “cross out” kind of word puzzles. I so love that you look at your life as having been an endless stream of new exciting possibilities that have led you onto enjoyable paths.I hope it continues to be that way for you and that even more exciting things keep coming your way.


  7. Lovely painting..we play more games now than we did when we were younger..Our favorite is scrabble…as my husband puts it, contact scrabble because we are all so competitive lol but it is fun..I miss that as we haven’t gotten together since Christmas 🙁 one day soon I hope !

  8. I miss those childhood games, but truth be told, few would play with me because I was such a poor loser. Jenga was VERY fun, very stressful! Do you recall the name of the documentary or channel with the history of the inception of video games? Always fascinated by a science mindset in others. Thanks much, Charlie, for yet another walk down memory lane!

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