This may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but Splash, my recently-turned-twelve-year-old son, has learned how to play pinochle.
I didn't learn to play pinochle until my early twenties when it became clear that the best way to get to know, ingratiate, and interact with my future in-laws was to learn. Pinochle is like a private religion in my wife's family: the stuff of family newsletters, nicknames, and get-together rituals. But to an outsider like me who had only played card games that required no more skill or thought than Spoons or Slapjack, it was completely incomprehensible. If you've never played, here's the Wikipedia article...you'll see what I mean. And forget Hoyle. That guy has no idea what he's talking about. My in-laws play various pinochle variations depending on the number of available players, whims of the most vocal, and need for vengeance off of particular losses. And as if the game wasn't difficult enough, these cultists have made up their own system of coded bidding. But when you're in love, you do things like get baptized into The First Apostolic Church of Double Pinochle Reformed Central Iowa Synod, Montana Covenant. Motto: "Where a marriage is defined as a king and queen of the same suit, and if your spouse is on the other team, all bets are off."
And now, so many years later, just when I feel like I'm beginning to understand the game, I feel a swell of fatherly pride to see him play. And he's good. You better watch out Grandma. In a couple of years, you're going to have some real competition.