Some things ARE all fun and games

Groton Public Library attendees (left to right) Laurene Kushner, Carol Keegan, Pauline Satterly, Cathy Bishop, Margaret Botos, Chris Snyder and Laura Watson as they make plans for their Oct. 17 meeting with guest author Sorayya Khan.
Groton Public Library attendees (left to right) Laurene Kushner, Carol Keegan, Pauline Satterly, Cathy Bishop, Margaret Botos, Chris Snyder and Laura Watson as they make plans for their Oct. 17 meeting with guest author Sorayya Khan.
Photo by Linda Competillo

There are quite a few “sayings” many adults may have heard through the years, and one of them that I can remember hearing many times over was, “Life isn’t all fun and games you know!” I think that mostly came out of my father’s mouth, but I’ve heard it a time or two from others as I grew up also.

Perhaps life is not all fun and games, but at the Groton Public Library, fun and games have been an integral part of the culture for the young children and school-age students who visit there for at least the past nine years that Sara Knobel has been its director. Now, the library’s newest addition to its offerings allows adults to have fun and play games too!

The “Adult Takeover Game Night” kicked off on Thursday, Sept. 19 and will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. every first and third Thursday of each month. During those time slots, the front section of the library is open and available for any adults who would like to play board games, and refreshments are provided.

Lifelong Groton resident Dana Jacobs, who has also been a Groton Library clerk since 1995, will be on hand to teach any of the vast array of Euro and designer games the library has on hand, but game-players are also welcome to bring their own board games in to play.

Some of the games available are Ticket to Ride, Quirkle, Trans America, Indian Gold or, one of my personal favorites, The Settlers of Catan.

When I stopped in on the inaugural night, I found Russ Brown, Dewey Dawson, Alexandra Parlett and Richard B. Swansbrough intensely focused on a game called Qwixx, which Jacobs explained as a quick-playing dice game designed for two to five players who race to accumulate the highest score while marking off sections of the numbered score pad.

Dawson, Parlett and Swansbrough had come together because they heard about it and thought it sounded like fun. Brown had never met the three before that night, but they were having a blast playing it, and it sure looked like a lot of fun to me!

At another table, Jacobs was explaining how to play King of Tokyo to Ruth Dilger Williams, her grandson, Braedy Dilger, and Scott Sharpsteen. Sharpsteen had never met the other two at the table before but readily sat right down to play along with them.

Sharpsteen explained that he had heard about the game night from another friend on Facebook. Being a lover of board games, he traveled down from Cortland to participate and brought his 6-year-old daughter along, who was happily and avidly reading in the back section of the library while her dad had fun with his newfound friends in the front end.

Dilger, though not quite yet an adult, is in the ninth grade, and said he wanted to come because he enjoys table-top games and wanted to show his support of the library for hosting such a thing.

Williams, who is well-known in Groton for her involvement in helping with the free produce on “Healthy Tuesdays” and preparing the monthly community meal at the library, said she came because she wanted to expand her world view beyond food. Dilger said he wanted her to come so he could get her to “expand her horizons” in general.

Dilger recognized me from seeing my column in the paper and particularly from an article I had written in November 2018 when he played the part of Mortimer in the Groton Junior High School play, “Meet the Creeps.”

The Groton High School musical this coming March will be “The Little Mermaid,” and Dilger said he is already excited about being involved in that production.

“I’m a theater kid,” he said. “I don’t really like sports at all.”

All-in-all, it was quite clear that everyone in the library that night was engaged and enjoying themselves and the people they came there with and meeting new people with whom they could share their enjoyment of board games as well.

Meanwhile, over in the far front corner of the library, the monthly Library Book Club was meeting. The club generally meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. Some of the members said they wondered whether the game night would make it difficult to hear one another during their book discussions. They were quite pleased that both groups could enjoy the evening without disrupting the other.

The club members were excitedly discussing the fact that they will be hosting a guest author at the Oct. 17 meeting - Sorayya Khan, as they discuss two of Khan’s three novels, “Noor” and “City of Spies.”

Khan was born in Europe, grew up in Pakistan and now lives in New York state. She based her writing in “Noor” on her childhood, and “City of Spies” earned her the “Best International Fiction Book” award at the Sharjah International Book Fair in 2015.

Khan is also the recipient of a Fulbright research award, a Malahat Review Novella prize, and a Constance Saltonstall Artist grant. Visit her website,, to learn more about her work, and consider joining the Groton Library Book Club group next month to meet her in person.

Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit news ideas to Linda Competillo, or 607-227-4922.

In brief:

Helping the homeless

A public information meeting for “My Brother’s Keeper Sleeping Bag Group” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26 at the Fellowship Hall of the Dryden Methodist Church at the Dryden Four Corners. Refreshments will be available at 6:15 p.m.

All are invited to learn, see and participate in the “magic” of transforming donated materials into sleeping bags for the homeless. There is no commitment in coming to this informational session, just a chance to see recycling in action and how you can make a difference.

More than 3,800 sleeping bags have been made by this community group in the last 27 years – that means many warmer nights for those in need, with the added benefit of recycling the donated materials. The meeting will cover donation information and future dates for constructing the sleeping bags.

Contact Joyce Church (607)-708-8077 with questions.

Rotary calendar sale

The Groton Rotary Club is selling the 2020 Waterfalls of the Finger Lakes calendars, contributing all proceeds to its water project in rural Uganda, “Water for Water.” The calendars retail for $15.95, and the club sells them for $12. Available at Brittany Station or from any Groton Rotarian. Call (607) 898-4994 for more information.


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