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									   oFF TASK                                                                                         course (f) I get to know a bunch of kids to help create a pre-Thanksgiving dinner
                                                                                                    outside of my usual role.                   with friends, each also called me and
                                                                                                        Plus, as my principal pointed out yes- asked how to bake the turkey and make
  By P am e l a B ee ma n
                                                                                                    terday, I’ve got an alternative career if I gravy, stuffing, or side dishes. These
                                                                                                    need it. Deal ‘em!                          were some of the longest conversations
   games club                                      kids play and we help them figure out                                                        I’ve had with my college kids—and some
                                                   whether to hit or stay. Then I get creative      linger                                      of the very few that weren’t about money.
   Here are some reasons why I insist we           (or bored) and make up variations, like          My yearly Christmas present to my I liked it—I got to feel smart and needed,
   play 21 at my lunchtime, middle-school          the Trivia Challenge: We draw for a wild         family is … Thanksgiving. For a basi- which pretty much hasn’t happened
   Games Club (“The Only Club on Cam-              card and then whoever is dealt that card         cally cheerful person, I have a distinctly since they were preschoolers.
   pus With No Dues, No Sign-Ups, No Per-          has the chance of winning four bonus             Scrooge-like response to the modern             I have done this routine often enough
   mission Slips, and Only One Rule!”). The        chips if they can answer a question from         Christmas season. It’s better now that that most folks at the feast know my two
   rule is “Make Sure Ms. Beeman Is Hav-           my Weird Trivia deck (Did you know that          the kids have mostly moved out; when rules. Rule one: Everyone out of the
   ing a Good Time.” I’ve found that that          the Statue of Liberty’s fingernails weigh        they were little, trying to balance all kitchen an hour before the meal while
   covers it, they totally get it, and it works,   100 pounds each?). If they want to ask           their various holiday performances, I go crazy with the last-minute details.
   because I can always take my toys and           for help from another player, they can           concerts, celebrations, and gift ex- Rule two: After the meal … linger.” Stay
   go home, and send them all back out to          split the bonus chips with him. If I get         changes on top of decorating, shopping, at the table. Chat. Bask in the glow of the
   lunch….                                         the wild card, they can try to stump me          and wrapping was never my best thing. candles. Have coffee and pie. Chat some
       Anyway, I worry a little about what         with a question and if they do I pay ev-         I have photographs of the kids 
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