Last weekend when we were at the Manse in Queensborough, I was reading the upcoming-community-events listings in one of the local weekly newspapers and this caught my eye (because it was in Eldorado, the village where one of the churches in my dad‘s old pastoral charge was located):
“ELDORADO CROKINOLE Party Friday, January 18, 8 p.m., Madoc Township Recreation Centre, Hwy #62 at Eldorado. Everyone is welcome. Please bring lunch.”
Which I proceeded to read aloud to Raymond, because it sounded like such a lovely, homey, old-fashioned event. And we’d missed it by only a few hours. (It was late Friday night.)
To which he responded: “What’s crokinole?”
Ah, these poor benighted born-in-the-U.S.A. folks. They just don’t know anything about our rural Ontario traditions.
So I explained about the big round (or octagonal) board, and how you’d flick the little wooden disks toward the hole in the centre, meanwhile trying to knock your opponents’ wooden disks out of the running (kind of like shuffleboard, or curling, or bocce, I explained). And also the all-important part about how if one of the wooden disks you flicked pinged against one of the metal stick thingies close to the centre of the board, it would hurt your finger. Why on earth it would hurt your finger after you’d already flicked it is beyond my comprehension, but there you go. It’s part of the game. (As our friend Jim Withers said in a crokinole-themed comment he made on an earlier post that mentioned vintage board games, “it’s one of the great mysteries.”)
Anyway, Raymond kind of looked on blankly as I told him about all this. But I think if I got him into a rousing game of crokinole the natural competitor in him would emerge, and he’d have a whale of a time.
So the question is: When is the next Eldorado Crokinole Party?
Postscript: Thanks to readers who sent in stories of their own fondness for crokinole, and their happy memories of playing it; you have inspired Raymond and me to try to find a board – preferably a vintage one – for the Manse.
Scott Anderson (a Hastings County native, from the village of Blessington, down in the southeast corner of the county) sent the photo at right of a board that has been in his family since before he was born, and that holds pride of place in his family cottage.
It was purchased from Eaton’s in 1920 and he still has the handwritten receipt for $5 – how cool is that?
I now have crokinole-board envy.