In retrospect, I made many of my good friends while playing cards. From Crazy Eights to Magic the Gathering, card games were a staple for most of my youth and well into adulthood. There's something about a deck that seems magical, in that one never knows what's going to turn up next.
My brother taught me my first card games: Solitaire, then Crazy Eights, and later a type of double solitaire called Russian Bank. My grandmother tried to teach me Hearts but she always beat me. To this day I refuse to play any computerized form of the game because I believe that the computer cheats. I learned many other games from various friends, some of which I still remember and some I've long forgotten. But all of them were great fun.
For years Mom offered to teach me how to play Contract Bridge, but I settled on Cribbage instead when I found out that my grandfather had preferred it. She was kind enough to buy me a copy of "According to Hoyle" which subsequently became well-used to the point of falling apart, matching my favourite deck of cards which was also showing signs of the abuse that was inflicted upon it during many games of Spit.
When Magic The Gathering came along, a whole new dimension opened up. Not long after I began playing I heard of a group of people who met at a downtown coffee shop every Friday evening to play. It was this group that helped me become the person that I am today, and its members remain my dear friends even though we all stopped playing the game years ago.
Today the only card game I play regularly is Steve Jackson's twisted RPG-based game called Munchkin, which is a great source of hilarity for me and my family. However I still do occasionally enjoy a game of Solitaire just for old times' sake.