When I was younger, my Grandpa McCracken loved to play dominos with me. Both regular dominos, and Giveaway. Now, he was not your typical sweet old Grandpa, he rejoiced in trouncing young people in games, and he excelled in dominos. He gloated, chuckled, he did not pull any punches, and he would not allow my tears to soften his domin[o]-ation. Remember, a holiness preacher.
Contrast that with Steve’s maternal grandfather, Grandpa Key. Earl Key was a rough and tough roustabout on the Oklahoma oil fields. Strong, too. I remember when he was in his 70’s [or 80’s?] he tried to open the pull-up garage door, and not knowing it was locked, he broke the door lifting on it. And he was short. 5 feet tall, so consider the torque that took!
Earl Key was kind of feisty—he was the one who would never call me by my name—to him I was “Be Nice” til the day he died. Tough, feisty, strong, humorous. Unlike my grandfather who loved playing dominos and dominating his grandchildren and great grandchildren at the game, Steve’s grandpa never played a game of dominos after he met King Jesus.
What was the difference between these two men who both grew up in the Midwest in the same decades? The difference was what the dominos meant to them. To John McCracken, dominos were a source of entertainment and fun, and looking back on it, an opportunity to toughen up his offspring.
To Earl Key, dominos were a source of gambling on the oilfields, and for the rest of his life, dominos reminded him of gambling, and competition, and the darkness of his life before Christ.
Dominos. Little rectangles with pips or dots on them. Are they good or evil? What makes the difference?