Learn to play, make a friend
John Morison started playing cribbage while serving on a Naval patrol boat in 1950. Some of the other sailors who were playing offered to teach him, and so began a 60-year love affair.
"It's a good military game. When you're out at sea for 35 days it's a good monotony breaker," said Morrison.
While his days on patrol boats are long over, the longtime Rosemount resident still plays a lot of cribbage.
"It's a really fun game. I just love it," said Morrison.
A couple times a week Morrison meets with a group of eight other veterans at Caribou Coffee to play. The men -- with their coffee cups identifying the branch of the military in which they served -- play and razz each other.
"We've been meeting here since the day it opened eight years ago," said Morrison.
The group started meeting to play to help a friend recover from a stroke. They continue to meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Morrison doesn't just like to play the game. He loves to teach others, too. Each Tuesday afternoon Morrison sets up one of his many cribbage boards on the big center table at Caribou and teaches whoever shows up that day.
A paper sign on the shop's bulletin board advertises for him. Sometimes people come, sometime people don't. But Morrison sets up every Tuesday regardless. In recent months he has also started showing up at Suzie's Kitchen on Thursday afternoons to teach.
"I've taught people aboard ships and everywhere. Now I'm teaching here," said Morrison while playing with some friends at Caribou.
Christina Rost took Morrison up on his offer to teach her. While she had played the game before she wanted a refresher before going camping. She drops by on Tuesdays just to play and chat.
"It's fun," she said.
Kind and good-natured Morrison is an excellent teacher. He's patient and explains the rules simply but directly. He's also easy to talk to, so it's a joy to spend time with him. Play with him for a while and you feel like you've made a friend.
When Morrison isn't playing in area coffee shops, he could be found teaching cribbage at Rosemount elementary schools. He said several of the fifth grade teachers have asked him to come in and teach the students.
"It's a good math game. If they can pay attention long enough they get the game down pat," said Morrison of working with children.
Morrison has lived in Rosemount for 46 years. He loves the community and does what he can to help, even if it's just through introducing people to a fun card game.