Learning Scat, Summer ’85

Ever enjoy another family’s hospitality when you stay with them for a week in the summer?

#susanstrasser #susanstrasserblog #amwriting #growingupinthe80s

In 1985, my family and I took a vacation to Grand Prairie, Texas, to stay with my Dad’s old Air Force buddy and his family. We enjoyed some good ol’ Southern hospitality and fun, including learning how to play “Scat” or 31. Below follows an excerpt from this chapter from my forthcoming memoir, Growing Up in the ’80s.

Donna and Louis came over again for hot dogs off the grill, and a humongous watermelon. What was the temperature ? This time we ate outside, all cozily crammed under the awning. The melon was so red and ripe in the middle it burst in your mouth! Amy and I started spitting the seeds closely to our plate so as not to be too obvious about it.

“Hey, what’s going on there?” Mr. C. asked, spotting us and our quiet seed spitting-onto-our-plate ways, adding, “seed spitting contest?”  

Amy and I cracked up, giggling, “Mr. C., you’re crazy!”

Anyway, all five of us- him, Donna, Louis,  Amy and I went for it, but Amy and I didn’t even know how to spit well or project our saliva, so despite him trying to show us how to “hock a loogie” we didn’t get it. 

Donna and Louis, however, were experts at this with Mr. C., and Louis won, finally hitting the privacy fence first about 6 feet away. 

Donna asked Mr. C., “Hey, Dad, more Scat tonight?”

“Of course!” he replied. 

Mr. and Mrs.C., Mom, Dad, Amy, Me, Donna and Louis and I all sat around with our beers and sodas as Dad began to shuffle the deck. 

“Now just one at a time, Bud,” Mr. C. reminded him, as we slid card after card until our hands all filled to the required three per person. Dad nodded, counting under his breath, demonstrating complete control of his card dealing duties. 

“Get your pennies,” Debbie announced. So while you waited for your hand, you leaned into the kitty and got your three pennies. 

“No peeking!” Mr. C. yelled, grinning. Of course not, I thought. I loved how cards were dealt in Scat, passing and sliding each one to the person on your left. Not like in Rummy where the dealer just went, “one, one, one, two, two, two, three, three, three, etc., fast and you had to keep up with them throwing the cards at you or looked stupid. In Scat, you weren’t supposed to peek at your cards until everyone’s hand had been dealt like in Rummy and Poker, but didn’t mean you didn’t think about it. Dad dealt to Mom, she passed to Amy, Amy passed to me, then I passed to Mrs. C., Mr. C., Louis and Donna. One card, then two cards each. Mom and Amy began whispering.  The third cards slid around, and still Mom and Amy whispered.

“Psst, psst! Over there, ladies! Somebody have something good?” Donna teased, smiling like her Dad.

Dad flipped the top card of the deck over to start our discard pile, and Mom took the first one. Then she discarded it.

I heard Amy ask Mom, “Do you think I should knock?” 

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