During the fall and winter months before Sherryl was diagnosed with breast cancer, we spent many dark and rainy nights chatting with each other online and playing a web-based version of Sherryl's favorite game, Scrabble. Then the news of cancer came, treatment began, and our lives changed.
From February through August of last year, Sherryl slept much of the time. During her waking hours, we would either visit in person or have very brief telephone conversations. Logging onto her computer was the farthest thought from Sherryl's mind; there were no online chats. In the meantime, as a result of license and copyright issues, the website that hosted the version of Scrabble we played ceased to offer that board game. It was fun while it lasted.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. Arleen was blog-hopping on her laptop one evening and up popped an Instant Message from Sherryl.
Sherryl: Hi Ar. Guess what!!!
Arleen: Hi Sis. What?!
Sherryl: I found Scrabble online! I've been playing a robot and I can beat his po-po. Want to play?
And so we did.
But, ahem, first a word about the word "po-po." This was the term our paternal grandmother, a "lady" from head to toe, used to reference one's. . . take your pick: rear end, backside, derriere, etc. Sherryl, in her conviction to ensure a habit of child-appropriate vocabulary, has for several years now adopted the same word and inserts it anywhere another not-so-nice word referring to the same part of the anatomy is used. Examples: "Go Niners! Kick their po-pos!" Or, "She was so trying to kiss my po-po." You get the idea.
And now then, back to Scrabble.
Sherryl is an excellent player. She usually wins. But she is the first to admit she likes to take a lot of time -- and we mean A. Lot. Of. Time. -- when it comes to choosing just the right word to play. We ignore the timers because, well, they're just no fun. We used to tease Sherryl that, in the same amount of time she takes to carefully choose and play a word, we could easily complete a whole battery of household chores. Loads of laundry, vacuuming a room, changing the sheets, and emptying the garbage. "Just call me when it's my turn, Sis!"
Over the past week, Sherryl's luck has waned and Arleen has won most games. But the stars aligned again last night for Sherryl and she won three games in a row. Her good luck resumed when she was able to use all 7 letters in the tray and earned an additional 50 points for the word SAVARIN.
If we were to play the word RARA on the Scrabble board, not many points would be tallied. But playing Scrabble online with Sherryl again means the world to us. It signifies that she is at steady state in her "new normal," and it feels like life is relatively routine to us again, too.