I asked a friend if she liked playing solitaire. I love it, she said, and whipped out her cell phone. No, no. I mean real solitaire, like with a deck of real cards. I guess it’s a lost — or losing — art.

I play a couple of hands of solitaire every day. It’s good for the mind and good for the hands. I win a few, lose a lot. Did you know that solitaire used to be known as Patience? You often need a lot of it.

Most of us grew up playing the version called Klondike, with seven piles, and it was developed during the Gold Rush days to keep miners busy. It was actually a gambling game. At a saloon you’d rent a deck for $50, and every ace and following card you built up above the tableau won you 5 bucks.

I’ve played the game Napoleon devised in exile on Elba, and the physical Clock Solitaire, but my favorite game of solitaire now is called Fascination. Look it up.

How many times do you shuffle the cards between deals?

I say three. And that’s because one long summer stay at The Cape I took a new deck of cards, all in order by suits, shuffled them once and wrote down the order of the cards. At the third shuffle they were the most changed, and by the fourth they were closer to the order I began with.

Like I said, it was a long, long week at the beach …

Saturday sermon

“Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come.”

— President Trump

Feedback and followup

“Just wanted to let you know plastic bags are definitely recyclable, just NOT in the city’s recycling stream,” writes Bill Gorman of Attleboro about last week’s column.

“At the entrances to Stop & Shop on Pleasant Street and Lowe’s in NA, for instance, there are collection boxes just for thin film plastic and I drop my bags and plastic film off every week when I shop for groceries.

“But for now,” he adds, “no plastic bags in the trash, they DON’T belong there. Other than that, another great column in last weekend’s paper!”

So you’re so smart ...

Last week I bet you couldn’t tell me what, after water, are the two most consumed beverages in the world.

“I’m guessing tea and wine,” writes Martha McHatton of Plainville. Sorry, Martha, close, but no free round.

My favorite answer came from Terence O’Neill: “I would say next comes wine, then the 14 Karat Ale from Skyroc Brewery.”

The answer is tea (or chai) and beer.

Now, I bet you can’t tell me, when all the country’s capital cities are listed in alphabetical order, which are the last three cities. Hint: They all begin with the letter “T.”

It’s another month …

“I will be glad to donate to this worthy case,” writes a reader. “Sorry to say I have cheap friends who give nothing at all.”

OK, those who can, please help this contributing columnist to keep writing. We need an average of $150 a month, and we did it in September and October.

Send it as Columns for Kids at the Council for Children, 4 Hodges St., Attleboro, MA 02703.

See you next week.

ORESTE P. D’ARCONTE is a former publisher of The Sun Chronicle. Reach him at darconte@thesunchronicle.com.

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