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Is It Illegal to Play Scrabble While Driving: Scrabble with my Grandma

Background To Scrabble With My Grandma

This is the story of playing Scrabble with my Grandma. First of all, some background.

In our family, there were games people and there were non-games people, and the twain never did meet. At family holidays and get-togethers, the games people used to get together and play all sorts of games. The non-games people would watch in disgust, and try to find other useful things to do, such as napping, walking, or just general gossiping.

My Grandma was definitely a games person. And she loved to play them with her grandchildren, training would-be games people right under their parents' eyes.

As her first grand-child, I was a willing and compliant tutee. From her, I learned gin rummy, Mastermind, and most importantly, SCRABBLE!

Scrabble Board

Scrabble Was A Ritual

Playing Scrabble with my Grandma was part of my childhood. Beating my Grandma at Scrabble was a rite of passage: it entitled me to the respect of a mature adult, as capable at stringing words together and conquering the triple word score as she was. Of course, I only beat her a handful of times, but still, it was a accomplishment of which to be proud.

Playing Scrabble with my Grandma has shaped my identity, and has been an integeral part of our relationship. It was a ritual for us: like having a martini, or going for a drive. Instead of grabbing a shaker and a bottle, we gleefully got the Scrabble board, allowing ourselves the indulgence of "just one more game." We would sneak out of bed, when I stayed over, and have a game at two in the morning, secretly hoping my Grandpa would wander out of bed, and ask sleepily, "are you girls playing Scrabble again?

During the game, my Grandma would complain throughout, about her terrible letters and abysmal chances: "what in the world can do you do with three i's? Tell me that." And then, just as I thought I had a chance of beating her, she would rush by me in a flurry of unforeseen points, and come out as victor once again.

We were "gentlemen," so to speak, in our conversation, always praising the other, with a bit of sarcasm: "Nicely played there. Thanks a lot for stealing my place, though!" If I took too long, she would sigh impatiently, never telling me to hurry, but eying me up with a look that warned me I should definitely move it along.

No Regular Scrabble Partner

Playing Scrabble with my Grandma was special for both of us. You see, I had no one to play with, no special partner that adored letter combining on a blue and pink board. And my Grandma: she certainly did not have a regular partner: you see, my Grandpa was as much as a "non-game person" as my Mom, his daughter.

We would sometimes regale with laughter at his attempts at playing Scrabble: he might have tried a couple of times, but he didn't even know the basic rules. He hated any other games she loved, too, so she was destined to no game play, except with the occasional game-playing friend, and of course, her gandchildren!

Two Other Ladies Playing Scrabble

Fun Poll!

Road Scrabble

Well, like any thing worthwhile in life, there are always roadblocks and challenges. One of the challenges we faced was trying to stay entertained during a long road trip my Grandma and I took to prepare for a new job I had just been hired for.

Being two games people, we wanted to play some road games to keep us occupied, but after three hours, we got tired of "In Your Store," and decided that a little bit of Scrabble was in order. The only problem was that my Grandma was driving, and needed to keep her eyes on the road, for safety reasons. What we did to overcome that challenge was that I informed my Grandma of her letters, and what and where I had played on the board. She was then able to formulate a word, and tell me where to put it, sneaking a glance now and then to the board, while I watched the road, and kept my hand close to the wheel. It worked! And now we can say that we are such Scrabble fanatics that we even play it while driving!

Fun Poll

Loss of Sight

The other challenge we have faced during our Scrabble playing careers, is the issue of my Grandma losing her sight. For the last few years, her sight has deteriorated with cataracts and macular degeneration. This has been a tremendous loss for her, gradually taking away her freedom to drive, to sew, and perhaps most significantly, to play Scrabble.

Playing with my Grandma as she lost her sight was difficult but not impossible. We had to make sure she had excellent lighting, and we could only play one game instead of three, but we managed. She also used a magnifying glass to look at the board, and even asked about a letter or two. We still managed to do it. A good Scrabble game is definitely worth whatever sacrifices you have to make.

Picture of My Grandma

This is a photo of my Grandma, on the left hand side, with my husband, me, and my Grandpa. (at our wedding)

This is a photo of my Grandma, on the left hand side, with my husband, me, and my Grandpa. (at our wedding)

My Scrabble Partner

In conclusion, I am blessed to have played Scrabble with my Grandma all of these years. As her youngest grandchild, I was the one that made her a Grandma at the age of forty, and we have a unique bond. My Grandma is many things: a wife, a mother, a grandmother ... a cook, a seamstress, an athlete, and an artist. But to me, most of all, she is my Scrabble partner, fellow lover of words, and play, and challenges. May we both have a few more triple word scores and seven-letter plays before we leave this earth!


moonlake from America on September 17, 2015:

My mother-in-law loved games and she would talk her grandchildren into playing whenever she could. She loved Yahtzee. If she could have played in the car she would have. Enjoyed your hub.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on November 04, 2012:

JSParker, I like playing Scrabble on line, too, although there's nothing like a good in-person game. Thanks so much for reading and for your wonderful comment. Have a lovely evening!

JSParker from Detroit, Michigan on October 31, 2012:

No wonder this hub was recommended in the HubPages Newsletter. It's a wonderful story. The video is a hoot! I thought it was Angela Lansbury! These days I play Scrabble with four or five people at a time through Facebook. Sometimes I only make one move a week. It goes on no matter how long it takes.

Wishing you continued success in your writing!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on May 10, 2012:

@Cathleena, thank you so much! It sounds like you have some good memories of playing those games. Our family had some crazy Uno sessions, too. Have a wonderful day and thank you so much for your vote and comment.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on May 10, 2012:

@Cynthia, so nice to "meet" you via Hubpages! That is so wonderful that you also played Scrabble with your Scottish Grandmother. Maybe there is something about us Scottish with Scrabble?

And regarding your little grandchildren, it sounds like it's time you start training them to be your future opponents! Have a wonderful day and thank you SO very much for the wonderful comment and for the votes and share. It means so much to me. Take care!

Cathleena Beams from Tennessee on May 09, 2012:

This was a very fun hub to read. Reminding me of my childhood days and for my family it was playing card games such as Spades and Uno. Our Grandmother lived too far away to join us, but she would have loved to be able to do that. Excellent article filled with evident love and friendship. I am also voting you up!

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on May 09, 2012:

Prairieprincess, I'm so happy to have come across this beautiful, well-written piece about your relationship with your Grandmother (framed by the Scrabble games, of course). I, too, was an oldest grandchild and played Scrabble with my Granny (also Scots), but not so often I'm now sorry to realize! My little granddaughters, 4 and 6, are reading and writing like gangbusters, and I'm thinking they're ripe for a game next time we come together... I will have to find those missing tiles in the meantime. Oh, and your little clip of the two old ladies was a perfect sidebar. From one of my favourite movies-- I'm going to see if I can find it online. Altogether a great experience, my Dear... voting you Up and Awesome (and tweeting)! ~Cynthia

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on April 18, 2012:

@SEO, thank you for your kind words. Nice to "meet" you!

@Audra, thank you so much. It was fun to write about this. Take care!

iamaudraleigh on April 18, 2012:

What a great tribute to your grandmother!!! It was so sweet and from the heart! Scrabble is so much fun! Voted up!!!

seo4site on April 18, 2012:

So amazing)))Thanks for work

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on April 17, 2012:

@Imonly, that's so funny! It sounds like it was in the best interest of your marriage to refrain. Thanks for the comment.

@RHW, thank you! That's so cool that you've got your family playing the game. Go Scrabble!

@Sunshine, thank you so much!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on April 17, 2012:

@Eyes, nice to meet a fellow game fanatic. Thanks for the comment!

@Nell, thank you so much!

@Emily, that's so funny! It can pretty competitive and it sounds like you guys play it cut-throat. Thanks for the comment.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on April 17, 2012:

@Susan, I had just read your hub on your grandparents. It's interesting because my grandparents are both Scottish, too. It sounds like you had a lot of fun with them, too. Thanks so much.

@fpher, thank you! Yes, I do know that you should always keep an eye on the road. My Grandma was actually a professional driver and we always made sure one of us had our full attention on the road.

That's so cool that you play it automatically after family dinners. It's good to hear of people still playing it. Thanks for dropping by.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on April 17, 2012:

@Victoria Lynn, thank you! You are so kind. Yes, my Grandma is quite the lady and she always made things so fun for her grandkids. I am sorry about you missing your Grandma. Thanks for stopping by and take care.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 17, 2012:

Thank you for sharing your fun scrabble memories with your Grandma!:)

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on April 17, 2012:

This is a great game! I love to play it - my kids love it and so does my husband. It is great for the kids to learn new vocabulary words and spelling - they don't even realize they are learning something:) lol

I enjoyed your hub and I'm so glad you had those times with your grandma. That's just awesome!

imonly1american from Maine on April 17, 2012:

I tried playing Scabble against my wife once... it didn't turn out so great because we both have a competitive nature about us. So it became: "that's not a word!" and "you're cheating!"... needless to say I only Scrabble with online friends now! Loved your story, and it definitely makes me want to go play Scrabble now!

emilybee on April 17, 2012:

Scrabble is such a great game. My family used to get really tense when playing it. Personally I like to make up words :) I think I'm like your grandma as I generally complain about having too many weird letters, too :) Great hub !!

Nell Rose from England on April 17, 2012:

Your story brought back memories of when I used to play scrabble as a child, I loved the way you played scrabble while she was driving, and she must have been so pleased to be able to play with her grandchildren, lovely story, nell

Shell Vera from Connecticut, USA on April 17, 2012:

Love it! As a board game junkie I can relate! I appreciate you sharing the various ways you played Scrabble.

Suzie from Carson City on April 17, 2012:

Scrabble is a great game. Our family's favorite. It's automatic that we play after big family dinners. Very sweet story about your Gram.....Thanks for sharing. UP++

NOT a good idea to do anything while driving EXCEPT drive safely with your eyes on the road at all times! Hopefully, you know this.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on April 17, 2012:

I used to play cards on Saturday nights with my grandparents. We played a game called Ramoli, and we'd play for pennies, nickles and dimes. It was so much fun especially if I came away winning :).

I've always loved scrabble and play on Facebook all the time now.

Enjoyed your story. Having bonds like this with grandparents are wonderful.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on April 17, 2012:

This is such an adorable hub! What a sweet story. So neat that you can share a bond like that with your grandmother. Makes me miss my own, but they have been gone for many years now. That's cool about getting up at 2 a.m. to play. And I LOVE that video. So funny! Great job on this one. Many, many votes!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on November 08, 2011:

Hi Kimberley, thank you so much! I appreciate your comment so much. Take care!

kimberlyslyrics on November 07, 2011:

It's all been said!

Truly wonderful!

Great topic too

Thanks Girl!


Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 30, 2011:

RTalloni, thank you so much! She is an amazing lady. And that would be wonderful for you to link this article. Thanks again!

RTalloni on September 27, 2011:

Hooray for your Grandma! What a grand gift she gave you in playing games with you.

And what a wonderful tribute to her you have here. :) Scrabble rules and I would like to link this to my hubs related to this game, if you have no objection. Thanks!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 08, 2011:

Rcr, I am glad it reminded you of some good memories. We used to play us a bit of rummy, too! Great fun. Take care!

Rcrs957 from Kaohsiung, Taiwan on September 05, 2011:

This reminds me of my childhood, only it was rummy! A tradition is such an amazing memory to have with someone. I hope you pass it on!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on July 21, 2011:

Katrina, thanks for dropping by! It's so nice to meet another Scrabble player!

katrinasui on July 21, 2011:

Scrabble is one of my favorite games. I play with my family. I am very fond of this game. Voted up!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on July 03, 2011:

@HWIdeas, I will contact you via e-mail about that idea. Thank you so much for considering me!

@MM, that is so great! Board games are so interactive, and a better alternative than video games or T.V., I think! Tha'ts funny that you get irritated with each other, too. Thanks for sharing!

Movie Master from United Kingdom on June 28, 2011:

Hi prairieprincess, Saturday night is games night and my husband and I like a game of scrabble, we always complain about our letters and get irritable with each other, but I think we're enjoying ourselves!! now our grandson likes a game with us! great hub thank you.

Bruce Chamoff from New York on June 25, 2011:

Thanks, I am also organizing Hubcamp Online for Saturday September 17 and would love to have you as a speaker. It is all from your home and speakers get 45 minutes per presentation to speak about Hubpages success. If you are interested, please send me a contact with your presentation title and description so I can add it to the hub I am writing about this.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on June 25, 2011:

@Hotwebideas, Thanks for the follow; I appreciate it. I have indeed now started to follow you, and look forward to reading through your great information on website-making.

@Case1worker, that's so funny! You are obviously very competitive! I think that it might be good for them, because then it gives them something to shoot for. When I played my Grandma, I remember the point, when I did not want her to let me win, and this gave me a goal: to beat my Grandma at Scrabble!

Bruce Chamoff from New York on June 23, 2011:

CASE1WORKER, you would love my daughter. She HATES it when I let her win. She wants to beat me fair and square, so when I play Scrabble with her, I don't use words higher than a second grade level. It is not easy to do that when vocabulary was one of my best subjects in school.

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on June 23, 2011:

i try not to play games with the kids, i dont seem to have the self control to stop trying to win- even when they were little i never let them win- so i let daddy play whilst i did some knitting- itching to beat them!

Bruce Chamoff from New York on June 23, 2011:

prairieprincess, you're welcome. I am now following you and looking forward to more hubs from you (hope you follow back).

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on June 22, 2011:

Hotwebideas, Scrabble can be a great bonding time. That's so cool that you play it with your daughter. I am sure she values that time with her Dad! Take care and thanks for the great comment.

Bruce Chamoff from New York on June 22, 2011:

prairieprincess, great hub. I cannot say that I play with my grandma, I lost them both, but I play with my daughter and also online with my Facebook friends. ;)

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on June 22, 2011:

Hi Kashmir! Thank you so much for dropping by, and for your supportive comment. Take care!

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on June 21, 2011:

Hi prairieprinces great hub, Scrabble is a great game and it is nice that you and your grandmother are great players and game people.

Awesome and vote up !!!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on June 20, 2011:

Glenna, that's great! Scrabble is such a social game, and a great way to spend a couple of hours with someone, talking as you play. Thanks for the great comment!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on June 20, 2011:

Awww, Stephanie, thanks for sharing. I am sure they will, too! That's so great that you were able to cultivate that skill in your grandkids. That is a nice legacy! Thank you for such a warm comment. Take care!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on June 20, 2011:

Hey Craig, nice to see you around. What a great story about the guy who beat you at chess: a hustler at chess, rather than pool! I love it. That sounds like it could be a hub of its own, couldn't it?

Yes, we are pretty much Scrabble fanatics. To tell the truth, this is the first time that we made the Scrabble while driving public. It's certainly not something to brag about!

Take care and thanks for such a wonderful comment. I do appreciate it!

Glenna on June 20, 2011:

My Mom and I enjoy a good game of Scrabble as often as we can.

Thanks for sharing.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on June 20, 2011:

What an awesome story! I LOVE playing Scrabble with my grandchildren and have cultivated several Scrabble fanatics among them. Now that they are growing up, they present much more of a challenge, but I love it! I hope that they remember these times as fondly as you do. Voted up and awesome!

Craig Suits from Florida on June 19, 2011:

Hiya Princess...

Wow!You guys are Scrabble nuts arent you? Playing Scrabble while driving? That's a new one on me. Your grandma must have been a hell of a challange. I played Scrabble a lot as well but no way without studying the board.

Your grandma reminds me a a chess story of my own. My neighbor brought a guy from NY City to North Jersey where we lived to play me one day. He had a friend with him and they both were supposed to be very good. We sat down to play and I beat the guy easily. He asked if I wanted to play again say for my chess board and I said sure. The guy turned around, put his feet up on the wall and cleaned my clock without looking at the board once. Turned out his friend was his "second" as he was prepairing to compete worldwide to become a Grand Master.

I can't imagine not looking at any board as complex as chess or scrabble and lasting more than a few minutes at best.

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