( - promoted by Fong)
When I was a little girl living three miles outside of Detroit in a small house with eleven residents (my parents and nine children), my Dad had regular poker games in our garage. The garage was a working garage with a grease pit to fix cars (a 6 foot deep rectangular hole), which he covered with several layers of plywood on weekend evenings, in order to have his regular poker game on top of it. (Ever seen the Roseanne show? It was just like that, only our kitchen was much smaller than theirs.)
Dad was deaf from a childhood accident, but he heard the language of the streets through beer, cigarettes, cars, and frequent "gut checks". Everyone from the shop was invited to poker night, no matter what their faith, color, ethnicity, language, bank account, religion, etc. The only rule to be invited to poker night was you couldn't drive a foreign car. (I talked a lot about that here.)
We had one television, one telephone, and ten people fighting over them, so I read often, and listened to Canadian public radio, where my liberal curiosity was nurtured. I loved meeting all my Dad's friends from "the shop" -- each had a different accent, a different smell, a different look. When I studied Native Americans, my Dad had a friend who was a Native American Chief, and my Dad asked him to teach us. Chief Red Bird, a local volunteer at a state park, brought his daughter and some friends, and had a mini-Pow-wow in our living room. He even made us leather slippers, which we wore when we visited him at Detroit Metropolitan State Park.
Dad didn't discriminate, at least not in the usual ways. Although my father quit school in the eighth grade and only later went back to finish the eleventh grade (there was no special education offered for poor deaf kids in the forties), he was an expert at people. Dad made friends with everyone -- literally everyone -- and he brought them all home for poker. Jewish friends, Italian friends, Greek friends, African-American friends, German friends, Asian friends -- didn't matter. As long as they didn't drive a foreign car, they were all his friends.