He was five or six when he first challenged her
To play a game of checkers.
Fresh-faced and eager from battles with friends,
Young master of jumping and double-jumping,
Connoisseur of cornering and kinging.
Ready to wreak havoc on his grandmother,
A simple farm wife, unskilled in the battle of the board.
He didn't contemplate that the checker set
In the old farm house was hers....
Their battles raged,
Sometimes every day,
With, "Want to play again?"
His constant question.
I would watch her lose,
Seeing what my little boy,
The often conqueror,
Could not see in victorious glee.
Twenty-five years later,
We sit again at the old farm table,
And the two are pitted in their checkers game;
The same, but wearied box waiting
While the battle rages on the old scarred board.
Her hand, uncertain, moves the pieces slowly
As though she is off somewhere thinking,
And he, now patient, waits in a treasured time,
For her to contemplate and make her moves.
He is twenty-nine, and she is eighty-nine,
And though the opportunities rise,
Through my misty eyes,
I see my son, pulling punches.
Braden and my Mother, in their annual summer games....