Friday, April 18, 2008

Vacation Letter

Dear Diner Folk,

OK, sorry for the scrawl but, I don’t have time to type a letter. Since you are reading this please assume I can not report for my shift. If I’m not back in a week, please give my spare uniform to Brenda to wash.

Kiddo, Take my apartment keys from my purse, go up stairs and bring in my mail please? Oh, and would you send the letter propped up on the bookcase – it’s the rent check. Thanks Kid.

I found very something interesting in the game cupboard, and have to find out where it leads. I’ll be back as soon as I can. If this is what I think it is, it may explain a few things, like why the game of Mancala has been so widely circulated around the world.

It’s played in almost every country, by so many names, yet no one knows how to play the darned thing! It’s the world’s most ancient game, and quite likely, the simplest. Ancient playing boards have been found in some of the world’s most remote places, Carved on a huge block of rock in the ancient Syrian City of Aleppp, on columns in Karnak in Egypt and in the early tombs along the Valley of the Nile. There are boards in the Theseum in Athens, carved in the rock ledges along the caravan routes on the ancient world, and of course, all over Africa. Inlaid with gold and precious stones they have been found in Asia, in the Caribbean, the Baltic Region, Bulgaira, Serbia and Greece. The nomadic Inuit Peoples of North America play the game using ivory or wood and pellets of rock, shell, stone or seed. There is even a board carved in the stones of a remote Castle in Germany.

OK, that being said, there’s more to our little Mancala game board than
you might think upon first taking it out of the cupboard. For one thing the picture
on the cardboard box here, does not show the minute carvings along the outside rim, nor does it show the tiny symbols and inlaids on the side of each “house.” Has anyone noticed that the cups revolve???

These all may be explained away, buy a maniac gamester with a knife, but there is one unexplainable odd thing. My father was a Palaeobotanist; that’s a botanist specializing in prehistoric plants. Our little game board is made of wood from the Wattezia plant – the world’s earliest tree species, only found today in fossils that have been determined to be 300 million years old. Did I say that our little game board is still very much wood?