Believe it or not, mingled in with all the tech toys and gadgets in my house there actually resides a deck of playing cards. I always enjoyed playing card games as a kid and now I have fun playing with my kids.

One of my favorite games is cribbage. My father and I spent countless hours playing when I was young, but it wasn’t until I was 21 years old that I found someone else who knew how to play, my father-in-law (to be) Joe.

It was nice to play again and brought back many memories, including the fact that cribbage is a game I just can’t win! To ease my wounds Joe explained that he played while in the Navy, and made a good deal of extra money that way.

Fast forward, past my marriage and the birth of my son. At age 12, my son (who is now 20) learned how to play cribbage from observing my games with Joe, now referred to as Grandpa Joey. He also took turns playing, or should I say losing, against Grandpa Joey too. Fortunately, my son found a way to take some of the sting out of losing – he played cribbage online where you don't have to see your opponent's winning grins!

Playing online allowed my son to focus on the game since many real-world distractions are removed such as scoring and listening to Grandpa Joey’s taunts and “helpful” hints. He did have to read them though, as many players engage in online chats during the games.

Eventually, my son started playing with Grandpa Joey online. It was a lot of fun for me to watch my son stay close to his grandfather using technology. So even when Grandpa Joey was not physically in our house, his presence was still felt.

Unfortunately my son could not duplicate the experience with my father, Grandpa Ray, because my parents do not own a computer. However, during one visit to my parents home in New Hampshire my son and I cooked up a plan to play some online cribbage.

I brought my laptop computer and connected my parents to the online world, more specifically, with Grandpa Joey in New York City, so that he could play cribbage against Grandpa Ray.

My father, however, is not computer literate, so the concept of playing online was amazing to him. To make the game run smoothly, my son manned the keyboard.

As they played my son explained everything that was happening on the screen; how the game was progressing, Grandpa Joey’s moves, the running score and the personal chat on the bottom of the screen. It was information overload for my father, but that didn’t stop him from winning the game!

It also opened his eyes to the world of computers. He always viewed them as machines he would have to spend lots of time learning how to use. By playing for that one evening he saw them as more than just machines - he saw that hey are tools for bringing people together over long distances, and between ages.

My father has since passed, Grandpa Joey has moved a little further away, and my son is off to college, but this wonderful memory of how technology connected my family continues to live on.

Author's Bio: 

Ellen DePasquale - The Software Revitalist™ and founder of Efficient Office Computing (www.eocomputing.com) - is a well-known software expert. She brings more than 20 years of software experience to her consulting, training, writing, and public speaking. Ellen has “redefined” software training to be more personalized and goal-based. Her classes and materials are designed around the software features that produce the desired results, rather than the typical soup-to-nuts approach.

Ellen is a passionate speaker and has been invited to talk about software nation-wide by a host of organizations including the Financial Women's Association, NYSSCPA, Executive Women’s Golf Association, and Inc. Magazine. She has participated as both a speaker and a moderator for two international events; Insights (2006 & 2007), Sage Software, Inc.’s annual reseller conference and the American International Toy Fair (2001 & 2002), where she also served on their Honorary Conference Advisory Board. Ellen will be speaking in March at the Small Business Summit 2010 in NYC.

Author of It’s About Time: Time Management Tips From The Software Revitalist™, Ellen has also been published in many top business and technology magazines including Crain's New York Small Business, The New York Enterprise Report, Small Business Computing & Communications, Success, Worth, Accounting Technology, The CPA Journal, Working Woman, Inc. Technology, and PC Magazine.