Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Nights

It's nights like these that bring back old fond memories of childhood games.

Remember Mother May I? Someone, "Mother", would stand at the end of the lawn and everyone else would be "Child" players. We would take turns asking permission to make certain moves, such as: "Mother, may I take ten baby steps...or...Mother, may I take two tree falls...or...Mother, may I take three giant strides...or run until you say stop?" If you ever moved without her permission, like Simon Says, you had to go back and start all over again.

"Mother" would then say "Yes, you may...or No, you may not." The first one to reach "Mother" would be the winner. In retrospect, what an unfair game! And worse yet, there was some unwritten rule that if you cheated and got away with it, good for you. If "Mother" didn't see you do something, you got away with it. Probably not a very good game, all in all.

Then there was freeze tag where "It" ran around, and the person who got touched by "It" had to freeze in place until another player touched them and set them free. Goodness knows what this was about.

There was hide and go seek and a game we played about hiding behind numbered trees. It seems like there were something like 5 trees. "It" would say: "Pauline behind tree #2!" If that guess was correct, Pauline had to step out. If that was wrong, "It" had to guess again.

Before my time, there was Kick the Can, which sounds kind of fun.

My dad had a furry coat that he would wear, always approaching dark. All I remember about this game was how dang scary it was. We would tauntingly chant "No-o bears out tonight! Daddy killed 'em all last night!" Then he, or whoever was wearing the coat that game, came lumbering out while we all squealed our guts out. Once he somehow broke his finger playing this game and was so humiliated, he didn't tell us for years.

You might call it cheap thrills :o)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

One Size Doesn't Always Fit All

Today is an important day, Father's Day. I'm blessed to still have my dad on this earth and have been thinking about him a lot today...and about gloves.

There are many kinds of gloves. Some are soft and fleece-lined. Some are like ski gloves that keep your hands warm but don't allow for much flexibility. There are gloves just for looks, like ladies wear at fancy dances. Then you have the leather ones to protect the hands when serious work is being done, like fencing and such.
My favorite pair of gloves are Isotoner-like and wonderful for driving and keeping out a little chill. Of course there are boxing gloves and batting gloves and mitts, but right now I'm talking about the other kind.

As with gloves, which have basic similarities, one size doesn't necessarily always fit all...and it's the same with dads.

My dad is the leather-glove-like kind of dad, the one you need when there is hard work to be done. He's never been afraid of tackling a project, has always been responsible and gone the extra mile. He's up before the crack of dawn and doesn't go home til the job is done. He never has to be reminded to do anything and never passed onto someone else something he didn't want to do.

For years I thought weeds didn't grow in gravel, since I didn't see any in the gravel driveways on the property. Then I realized he spent hours spraying weeds or pulling them out by hand. No magic gravel after all. When we went to mow the lawn, we never had to find the mower or see if it had gas in it. There was no risidual grass gunked under it either, and the blade was always sharp. No magic there either, apparently.

It doesn't matter. I still think my dad is magic! Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Elvis has left the building...

My parents had a bird, seems like it was a magpie but don't quote me, that would come sit on their roof each year. It visited for several years and became such a solid fixture that they even named it...Elvis. One year Elvis didn't come back.

After spending the night in my room with the door closed very tightly, trying not to have dreams of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, I got up wondering when and where we would find the errant fowl's remains.

As Gomer Pyle used to say: "Surprise! Surprise!" There, fluttering by the back sliding door, was the bird, (not sure if was Elvis or Priscilla) but it was definitely wanting out. Swirl, the cat, was sleeping in the chair by the door. I walked over, slid open the door and hoped for the best. After a minute, it hopped out and looked around. I didn't see any way it could possibly fly, but more "surprise", it took off and flew over the carport!

Maybe that was because it wasn't weighed down with all those missing feathers we have been trying to sweep up for over a day. Did you ever try to sweep up little soft feathers? They either stick to the broom like little children whose mother is leaving without them or they scoot ahead of the broom like a fly does when you swing the swatter.

Anyway, Folks, Elvis has left the building and I'm so glad!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Scene of the Crime

Today I got home on my lunch hour, having left the back door open enough for the cat to go in and out during the day, and WHOOF! Right before my very eyes was a bird flying around trying to find its way outside. (We do not have a pet bird, just so you know.) At first I thought it had somehow flown in through the 6" opening, but then noticed gobs of feathers everywhere. I thought (hoped) maybe it had battered itself in its attempt to escape the inadverant entry and lost a little plumage.

But then I noticed something else...dark drops of blood across the floor, and then across the other floor...and then down the hallway where I had seen it struggling in flight. It was like something from a crime scene, and would have been, had it not been feline natural instinct. It was awful. The cat was just taking a nap. I didn't know what to do and spent the few minutes trying to search for the bird and encourage it go to outside, but couldn't find it. I had to go back to work and left the front door open, too, just in case. But, alas, I fear it is in here somewhere...somewhere where we don't know enough to look. Kyle cleaned things up because I had to run back to work, and he didn't find it either.

This could be a long night. And not just for poor Cock Robin.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Button, Button, Who's Got The Button?

It's interesting the unnoted-before role buttons played in my childhood. Surely they must make some fantastic buttons these days, but I don't recall noticing any lately. There was a game children played where the person who was "It" kept the button inside tightly-closed hands, palms and fingers together. The children in the circle would hold their hands out together in the same way. "It" would go around the circle and either pretend to slip it into someone else's hands or pretend not to slip it in while actually doing just that. I don't recall just how it worked, but the winner was the one who guessed correctly who had the button and the loser was the next "It." The name of the game was "Button, button. Who's got the button?"

You could thread a string through the holes of a button (the bigger the better and it could only have two holes), tie the end, put your thumbs inside the string and start swinging the gizmo in a circular forward motion. It had the same effect as spinning in a swing, where it winds up one way and then unwinds the other direction and repeats itself, only faster. Once you got it going at a good pace, it would actually make a humming noise, very cool.

My Grandma Rice had a metal can with a lid, much like the one those Christmas cookies come in every year, the ones never purchased by the person who actually ends up trying to eat them. My best recollection is that it was a deep cobalt blue. That thing was chuck full of buttons, hundreds of them, maybe thousands or even millions! I would go over to my Grandma's house, which was conveniently located just next door, and play with those buttons for hours. I would count them, line them up by twos and fours and sixes. I would line them up by size and according to color, by buttons with two holes and those with four and those with loops on the back and no holes at all. Some of them had sparkly middles. Some were flat and some were very fat and artistic. (Where is that box of buttons now, I wonder?)

A couple of years ago, I was in a store and saw a puzzle, a puzzle with buttons all over it. Most of my puzzles end up back in the box for another round, but this one got framed. It took me a while to realize its appeal. Every time I see it, it reminds me of my Grandmother and brings me a moment of pleasure. See for yourself.

Oh, and by the way, I have a little glass jar with buttons in it, but I know better than to suggest to my grandkids that they entertain themselves lining up buttons. We may just have a little button-spinning contest at the next family party, however...that is if I can find some string and a gigantic button.