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That’s Not Balderdash

Jerry, bless his heart, sat in the living room, at various times through the evening reading the newspaper, studying the Bible, and playing with the grandkids, while we heathen people circled the table in the dining room roaring with such laughter that sometimes speech was impossible and warm tears were loosed. Balderdash was the culprit, surely the most uproarious game ever invented. Jerry, poor thing, is just not into games that much, somehow missing the crucial gene that sets the body to a quiver as someone calls, “Who’s up for a game of Balderdash or a round of Rook?”

“Guess what time I came to bed,” I said to Jerry this morning.

“It was two or three o’clock, Shirley. I know for I was still awake.”

“It was not! It was only 1:30.”

“Well, I couldn’t sleep. Every time I dozed off, your yelping would wake me up.”

“Sorry…” I weakly apologized. For from such a pure and righteous heart as mine, how could I spit out a sincere sorry for having so much fun on a Thanksgiving evening with my grown children as we circled a table, some so overtaken with glee as to fall from their chairs to the floor, the hours punctuated by nibbles of ham sandwiches, pumpkin pie, and buttered yeast rolls.

A couple of years ago, I wrote of our playing the game Balderdash, that I didn’t have a set of my own, and that I was hoping Santa would deliver on my wish. He did, and since we’ve been home in Crestline this week, I have staggered to bed past the 12:00 witching hour three nights in a row, having engaged in hilarious rounds of this wonderful game.

Unique joy and silvered memories are inextricably linked to family holiday games, where for the day or the evening are laid aside mundane chores, wearisome work schedules, seemingly unsolvable problems, and in their places are set laughter and hope and love.

That’s not balderdash!

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 81 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 64 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

12 replies on “That’s Not Balderdash”

I’ve never heard of, much less played, Balderdash, although I was surprised to see you mention the game of Rook. I havent heard that game called out by anyone since I was around 12, wehn my sister and I played it all the time while avoiding the inevitable call for bedtime!


Granny, thanks for making this Thanksgiving one of the best ever! We had so much fun this past week. Sage has not stopped talking about how much fun she had with all 0f her cousins. Our family is blessed to have “Granny” like you! We love you and please tell Pappy we love him too.


Our family also loves the game of Balderdash. In fact, we used to play it before it was invented. We called it the dictionary game, and we too indulged in gut-wrenching laughter. This Thanksgiving, at my sister Carol’s home, we played Scattergories and laughed every bit as hard as we do with balderdash. Oh such fun and memories! Love you!


We love Balderdash. As Brenda says, you can play with just a dictionary. Until Balderdash came out, I knew the game just as Dictionary.

We played it one time with the PNC of the church that was interviewing my husband for the position of pastor, and we had so much fun! I thought it would be great to be in a church where the leaders knew how to have fun like that (but knew when to be serious also, as in the interview earlier). I was very disappointed when they didn’t call him as pastor. (It wasn’t just the Balderdash – the whole visit seemed to be one example after another of God directing us there, but apparently not.)


Ah, one of my all-time favorite games! I come from a large family that loves to play games, Balderdash included, especially at holidays. I missed getting to do this on Thanksgiving this year, but we’ll be home in Denver the week after Christmas and I plan to get in as much game time with my folks and siblings as I possibly can while we’re there. My siblings and I always refer to Balderdash as “the game custom-made for our family” because it involves making up information on something about which we actually know nothing at all!


Did you know that you can play Balderdash without the game by using a dictionary? Just pass the dictionary around, one person at a time, who picks their word, and writes the dictionary definition as everyone else writes their made-up definition. The person who wrote the correct definition then reads them all and everyone votes. Point values are assigned. You get one point if someone chooses your definition, one point if you guess the right definiton and if anyone ever is smart enough to write down the correct defintion, they get a point. I think this is very similiar to Balderdash though there is no game board. That is kinda fun, cause everyone can relax around the living room.


Our family also loves Balderdash and has played it on many holidays. Yesterday, though, we had a good game of Catch Phrase going. Most of us love to play board games, but we have at least one family member that is not unlike Bro. Buxton…! LOL


Awwwww…I wish I had been there. 😦 Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I was home; and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I just wish I could have been in both places. I told Chloe on the phone that I wish I could just “beam” myself over there for a few hours, then “beam” back. Ha! Well…next time. 🙂 Love ya!


Sounds like so much fun. Actually, I love it when serious -minded people (and I consider you as responsible and serious-minded as Jerry) are able to let it all hang out and just have fun. Life is too short not to laugh. I think God likes a big belly laugh at the appropriate time. We had fun yesterday but not to this extent; folks went home earlier. 🙂


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