Sunday, January 30, 2011

Poker Face

The sign usually appears early in the week on community message boards throughout the county:
Poker Run. 
Brockway Supper Club. 
1:00. p.m. 
$5 per hand.
On open winters, which we haven't had  in quite some time, the poker run would involve 4-wheelers.  But when the snow has set in with drifts several feet in height, the snowmobiles come out in full force.
The game goes like this:  You put in your $5 and every one who is participating draws one card at the Supper Club and your draw is written down.  The group heads out across the prairie, heading to a neighboring farm to the north, where they draw another card.  The person who lives there jots down those card number results and sends them along with the last member of the snowmobiling group.  Repeat that last step 3 times and every one has a hand of five.  Best hand by poker standards wins.
They traveled 42 miles in all on a cold and blustery day. 
I wouldn't let Little Man go along for the first part of the trip because the windchill had the potential to be brutal.  He was not impressed.
He faked a nap and then talked me in to dressing him so that he could join Danish Cowboy for the last leg of the journey on the five miles back to Brockway.  It took the group a long while to get to our place.
It turned out to be a very long while filled with staring out the window and opening windows briefly to listen for the whining sound of the machines.
I even ventured outside a couple of times to look for the group off to the west.  Empty hay wagons, cows and cold were all that I could see.
When at last the group did arrive, they came inside, briefly warmed up, and drew their last set of cards.  Little man donned the rest of his snowmobile gear and eagerly went outside with the group of 20 or so people crazy enough to brave the elements.
Little Lady and I did not go along for this segment of the ride because (1) we only we have one snowmobile, (2) did you look at that windhill chart?, and
(3) two-stroke engines, blue smoke, and an obnoxious whine aren't really my thing.  But Danish Cowboy raises a good point:  it would be interesting to see my snowshoes cover 42 miles in one afternoon to try and gather my five cards before the sun went down.

The group that does this is pretty hardy, but they were helped along with some schnapps and the promise of warmth and a meal at the supper club when they returned.  I suppose that the $63 promised to the winner also made a difference because wow...$63. 
Winters get kind of long around here so we have to do things like this to keep our sanity.  On a nicer day, there could have been well over 50 participants.  Good friends, beautiful scenery, schnapps, the promise of $63.  My little boy thought he was pretty cool and I got a bit of girly time with the little lady.  We all met up at the Supper club for an evening of warmth, food and friends.
The cold had worn out all of the participants and we were home by quarter after six.  Snowmobiles flying across the prairie in the dark give off quite a glow, even from miles away.  Danish Cowboy traveled home with our neighbor and the little guy did, too.  He fell asleep just before they reached our place.  We all settled in for another round of snow and wind on Sunday and with it the likelihood of another poker run before the winter releases its grip.

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