“Four of a Kind”

Mama never had time to play cards, but she envied the men playing pinochle in the parlor.  They were the husbands of the wives who came out each summer with their children.  It was mainly weekends when the men came out from “The City,” New York City.

My Serke plays Mah Jongg every Thursday with four other women who meet in each other’s home.  Four play at a time and they keep alternating.  Mama had no playtime.

While working in our large farm kitchen, Mama overheard the boisterous laughter of these husbands.  She picked up words and phrases that she used quite often.  The men were oblivious to Mama and the other women.

When she did not care for a couple who were noisy or whose children misbehaved, she would say in a derogatory manner, ”That’s a pair!”

If a shadkhn (matchmaker) made a great match, it was a “royal marriage.”

When she referred to a mixed (interracial) marriage she called them a pinochle (a jack of diamonds and a queen of spades.)

If someone was wealthy it was either “filthy rich” or “they’re flushwith money.”

If someone pulled off a good deal he trumped.  Her boys were “four of a kind.”