Cribbage is a quiet game. Two players concentrating, counting, laying down cards and moving pegs don’t usually draw a cheering crowd and TV news coverage; unless those two players are sharp-witted, competitive centenarians. When Harry, the 108 year old from Waverly Gardens, met Don, the 105 year-old from SummerWood of Chanhassen, for the Cribbage “Game for the Ages,” the stakes were high.
The “home” team
Every day, Harry Camp and his wife, Myrna, play Cribbage. Whenever their children and grandchildren visit, they play Cribbage. “It’s the family pastime,” Harry said. When he was only 5 years old, Harry’s father taught him the game, meaning he has been playing for over 100 years. After he and Myrna moved to Waverly Gardens, Harry organized a group of residents who play the game weekly. He has a collection of Cribbage boards given to him by family and friends but his favorite is the one shaped in the number “29.” “That’s a perfect game,” he said, “but I’ve never played a perfect game yet. I’m still working on it.”
The “away” team
Don Carruth says that his secret to a long life includes: 9.5 hours of sleep, three square meals a day (no snacking!) exercise and, most importantly, daily prayer. His greatest hobby is his family, followed closely by Cribbage. Don and his wife played Cribbage twice a day, every day (and sometimes put money on it). He says that she always kept track of the winner and, over the years, they likely tied in wins and losses. Don’s Cribbage motto is simple: “If I get the cards, I win. If I don’t get the cards, I lose!”
Watch KARE11 News coverage from Boyd Huppert’s Land of 10,000 Stories:
How the epic challenge came to be
“A Game for the Ages” was the brainchild of Rob Lahammer, Executive Director of Customer and Employee Engagement at Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS). The idea sparked over a year ago when he was visiting Waverly Gardens in North Oaks, MN. “I saw Harry playing Cribbage in the club room with a big smile on his face because he had just won! How awesome is it to see this (then) 107 year old man playing Cribbage and winning?”
Rob has served PHS for over 32 years. He’s committed to enriching the lives of older adults by learning about what they love most and helping make it happen. Rob’s idea fully ignited when he visited SummerWood of Chanhassen where he met Don and learned that he too loved Cribbage. He enlisted the help of Darcy DeMars, Director of Digital Marketing and Communication at Presbyterian Homes and “A Game for the Ages” was born.
The staff of Waverly Gardens and SummerWood of Chanhassen helped set the stage and arranged for the two competitors to meet. The PHS Communication Team showed up with special shirts for the players and golden trophies. They invited Boyd Huppert, reporter with KARE11 News to cover the story.
On Wednesday, January 9, the crowd gathered at Waverly Gardens. The two competitors played skillfully, right down to a 1 point win. Who claimed victory? Watch Boyd’s story to find out
. As the fans cheered, the players shook hands. Don declared, “See you next year. This time, at SummerWood!”
That is how legends are made at Presbyterian Homes & Services.