It's been around since forever, my dad's old poker board. We loved it as kids, with its cartoonish characters. He was a frustrated artist, pressured by his parents to pursue a traditional college education. After marrying, he attended the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, finally able to fuel his passion. He and my mother gave me this drawing from those days.
He carved humorous figures from wood and painted them in the 50s and 60s. They were similar to the characters on the poker board, circus strong men wearing leopard print skins, busty women with buck teeth. Later, he began carving tall, abstract birds. I have a couple of those, one he gave me on my wedding day.
But I've always loved his poker board. I remember countless card games played deep into the night with aunts and uncles when I was young. As a teenager, I played on it with my brothers. It was stored in the kitchen closet along with Mom's cookbooks, bread boards and table extensions.
After three strokes, my dad's in a nursing home. Somewhat chipped and showing its age, the poker board has moved from the closet and now hangs on the wall in the family room at my parent's home, a fitting place for sure.