Friday, June 29, 2012


My folks moved numerous times while I was young. Our ninth move and where I lived longest was to Lubbock, Texas. The mention of the town resurrects memories--some fond, some not. I don’t miss walking home from school in a sandstorm with sand stinging exposed skin. Nope, not a bit. But other recollections bring a smile to my face.
HOME. SWEET TEXAS HOME, a sweet contemporary romance that received a ♥♥♥♥♥ Review from The Romance Studio, is set in West Texas in and near the town of Lubbock.

I have to admit I incorporated a few events that really happened, like a sandstorm. One of other the parts of the book from my life is the domino game of 42. The game was already popular when I was a kid. My parents played 42, although my mom was not good at it. She preferred canasta. But they went to 42 parties where offered. When Hero and I first moved to our present home, Hero used to play 42 with friends while I played bridge or some other game until that group sort of drifted apart. Friends of ours still play 42 once a month (among other games) at our church. I like other domino and card games, but not 42. All I see are spots swirling in front of my eyes when I try to play. But I've learned it's a popular game in rural areas.

I do feel quite loyal to the game, though, since it was invented nearby where I live in Texas. Here’s what I have discovered about the domino game of 42. Also known as Texas 42, this is a trick-taking game played with a standard set of double six dominoes. Tournaments are held in many towns, and the State Championship tournament is held in Hallettsville, Texas the first Saturday of March each year. In 2011 it was designated the official State Domino Game of Texas. You might say it's not as if there are that many domino games, but I beg to differ. There are Mexican train, chicken scratch, plain dominoes, and enough variations to confuse anyone and played with double six, double nine, and double twelve sets of dominoes. We Texans are serious about our dominoes!

42 Game in Progress
Yawn, like watching paint dry IMO

Christopher Evans, a writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reported in an August 1985 article that the game of 42 originated in Garner, Parker County, Texas in 1887. Garner is a small town west of Fort Worth. According to Evans, before its name was changed, Garner was called Trappe Springs. It was there that two boys, William A Thomas and Walter Earl, reportedly invented the domino game of 42.

Evans reported that Thomas, 12, and Earl, 14, children of devout Baptists, were caught playing cards in the hayloft of a barn.  Playing cards was considered sinful in those days, and the boys were disciplined for their indiscretion.

According to Evans, the two boys set out to find a way to play cards using dominos.  By the fall of 1887, they had devised a four-player game using double-six dominos that incorporated bidding and trumps, very similar to the game of 42 played in Texas today.

Since domino playing was acceptable to their parents and other residents of Trappe Spring, Thomas and Earl began teaching others how to play the game. The game caught on and spread from there. The Earl and Thomas families later moved to Windom in Fannin County (north-northeast of Dallas), and the game reportedly spread from there, too.

You do not have to play 42 to read HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME (or to have written it). Here’s a blurb and excerpt to tempt you.


Courtney Madison has battled poverty her entire twenty-five years but is determined to make a safe and happy home for her teenaged brother after the recent death of their mom. Her mom’s illness left Courtney with a mountain of hospital bills, her formerly sweet brother Jimmy is now cutting class and hanging with a rough crowd, and she’s just learned she’s being downsized in two weeks. Hanging on by the threads of a fraying rope, she learns she’s inherited two million dollars from a kind elderly man she befriended when he was in the hospital across the hall from her mom. She thinks her inheritance in West Texas is the answer to all her prayers--but Courtney learns that while money improves her life, it doesn’t guarantee happiness. This modern Cinderella encounters problems even a fairy godmother couldn’t imagine.

Rancher/entrepeneur Derek Corrigan has incredible instincts for flourishing in the business world. With women, not so much. In fact, his friends bemoan he’s King Midas where money is concerned, but his judgment of women is pathetic--evidenced by his late wife and now the flamboyant woman he’s been escorting of late. As far as Derek is concerned, all he wants is to be a good dad to his children Warren, aged 8, and Meg, aged 5. Derek suspects the worst of his new neighbor and vows to fight his attraction for her. The only way he can protect his children and himself is to keep his private life very private. Besides, he knows what women do to him--they always leave and take chunks of his heart with them. He's been there, done that, had the vaccination and is cured. Isn't he?

Excerpt when Jimmy comes home from school to learn his sister has been injured and that his neighbor Derek is in his sister’s bedroom:

When Jimmy saw his sister in bed, he rushed over. “Sis, what happened? What’s with the towel and the ice packs?” He frowned at Derek. “What’s going on?”
She opened her mouth to explain, but nothing came out.
Derek figured the bizarre situation defied description. He patted Jimmy on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, she’s okay now. We were at the cemetery putting flowers on Sam’s and Maggie’s graves and your sister got trapped in the bathroom.”
Jimmy shook his head. “I don’t understand. How could that hurt her?”
Courtney sighed. “The knob came off in my hand and I couldn’t open the door. So, I climbed out the window.”
Derek held out his hands to indicate the small rectangle. “A small, high window.”
Jimmy looked from his sister to Derek. “I still don’t understand what happened.”
Courtney snapped, “I got stuck, okay?”
Now that he knew her to be okay, the week’s tension suddenly snapped Derek and he lost his perspective on the whole situation. He grimaced at Jimmy. “She, um…” He coughed to keep a straight face. “When she tried to go out the window, she got stuck with her head and one arm sticking outside and the rest of her inside.” He stood like a bird with a broken wing to imitate Courtney’s position. A grin spread across his face in spite of all his efforts not to smile.
Jimmy gaped at his sister. “Courtney? But she’s always so sensible. She’s never does anything stupid.” He began to smile also.
Both males burst into laughter.
“Listen, if you two are so amused, go into the other room to discuss my apparently hilarious antics and leave me to suffer in peace.” In spite of her strained muscles and injuries, she threw a box of tissues in their direction. “Go on, get out of here. Now.”
Derek glanced over his shoulder before he left.
She’d stuffed a pillow over her ears, to block out their laughter.

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1 comment:

Nancy Jardine said...

I never knew there were so many variations of Domino games! Thanks for that, Caroline!