“Sometimes all I need is the air that I breathe and to love you.”
— The Hollies

I had a hankering to play checkers on Sunday afternoon. I haven’t played it for years . . . decades. It was a game I played when I was a kid, and suddenly there I was in a dollar store eyeing the game on a shelf and missing it all these years later. I had visions of Maggie and I playing the game on the dining room table.

I suppose the sudden hankering is no coincidence: the day before, we had been at an exhibition of old board games. I saw several that I used to play, some of which I still have (but never play).

After visiting the exhibition, we went to a craft store where a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle caught my eye. It featured a summery scene typical in my life: a canoe parked by a campsite on the shore of a lake. I envisioned the two of us sitting at the dining-room table piecing it together through the winter months.

Alas, we bought neither. Maggie doesn’t do physical board games and jigsaw puzzles anymore. She has gone digital. She downloads puzzles and games to her tablet — by the dozens.

I suppose I could download a checkers game and play against the computer or against people online. And I suppose I could download some jigsaw puzzles, too.

But I remember both as interactive activities played at a table together with hot chocolate and tea and pastries, with chat and giggles and hugs.

I’m not going to give up. One of these days, Maggie will find a game of checkers waiting to be played on our dining room table.

“Just one game, sweetie. Pleeeease . . . for me?

“Would you like herbal tea with that? A muffin?”

And she will be hooked!

After that comes the jigsaw puzzle . . .

Tell me I’m not the only one. Surely some of you still want to play checkers and make puzzles with special someones?

As Sunday evening wore on, I started wondering what life must have been like for people in days of yore who depended solely on the town crier for news.

And I knew then I was yearning for something many of us have lost in this digital age: the human touch.

We need to put our tablets and smartphones down, and interact with others at the dining room table and in the real town square . . . perhaps over a game or two of checkers.

We must not forget the benefits of such simple pastimes.

— Jillian