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Summer Afternoon, Playin' Canasta — My Voice Sounds Good Cuz It Hasta!

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Summer Afternoon, Playin' Canasta — My Voice Sounds Good Cuz It Hasta!

Brian Ryer

The Beastie Boys rhymed "hasta" with "Shasta" (the cola, not the mountain) but I like my old school reference well enough. Ah, Canasta.  

If you're unfamiliar with this passtime, it's played with a stock of pasteboard rectangles, all with colorful designs based on monarchy and the decimal system, and the following of elaborate rules for matching and scoring and the taking of turns. Dakota and I have taken to whiling away some of the evenings after homework (actual homework, not a Daft Punk reference) and before bed, with a friendly game of two-handed Canasta.

Two-handed refers to the number of players, but you almost need two hands to hold the fifteen cards of the original deal which can quickly multiply as the game proceeds.

I enjoyed playing this game as a child way back BTI (before the Internet) and am pleased it is able to hold my son's interest competing with modern diversions.  An article in the Times today reflected on the significance of hand writing to the development of language skills and general intelligence and it wouldn't surprise me if the playing of cards also made a positive contribution to math, pattern matching and related useful cognitive habits.