Field Research at Lyon’s Pub, Minneapolis

Any endeavor benefits from some fresh air once in a while. I’m so entrenched in research and writing that I often forget to take it easy, breathe a bit, and walk a little lighter. Lucky for me I remembered that on Friday. As I was leaving a downtown appointment on my way to catch the light rail into St. Paul, I passed a few gentleman playing crib outside Lyon’s Pub. It was a beautiful day, start of the holiday weekend, and I strolled on, thinking, “smart guys.” Half a block away I stopped, decided I had plenty of time to kill, and turned around, heading back down 6th street toward Hennepin Avenue and Lyon’s Pub. I interrupted them mid-peg. I introduced myself, said a few words about what I’m working on, and they invited me to sit for a game after they finished theirs. I guess that’s one thing about cribbage–it’s a universal language, provided you know how to count to 15 and 31. We settled into a 3-player game (what my family has always called cutthroat), with a little friendly wager on the side; $3 per loss, $6 per skunk, call it beer credit.

I only sat for a single game–a game which I lost by a good margin–although I did save skunk for respectability and a cool three bucks. I suppose you don’t anticipate a bar game with friends will be interrupted by a random passerby. I don’t know if I’ll make it to Lyon’s again soon, but I did make one important contact. A grandfather of one of the guys was a Japanese POW during World War II. He was incarcerated for over four years. During that time, however, his captors allowed him two things within the cell; a small bamboo shoot for which to fashion a cribbage board, and a scuffed deck of cards to go with it. We exchanged information, and hopefully will chat about it soon. You never know where this crazy game will take you.


4 thoughts on “Field Research at Lyon’s Pub, Minneapolis

  1. I really like what you guys are up too. Such clever work
    and reporting! Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve incorporated
    you guys to my blogroll.

  2. Jordan, I want to add myself to your circle of cribbage players and a Collector of Cribbage Boards. I learned the game from my father, a US Navy Chief in WWII. My second marriage was to a cribbage player who supported my collecting of the boards.
    Come visit us at our convention in Grand Haven, MI Sept. 16-17, next week.
    Wilson Gartner, CBCS 91L

    • Hi Wilson,

      I’d love to join you guys in Michigan, but unfortunately I won’t be able to make it this time. I learned the game from my dad, too, although he was never in the Service. One of my chapters is *Cribbage in the Armed Forces; *you already know about the Navy’s rich tradition of the game! Thanks for swinging by, and be well.

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