As the sun neared the western horizon, the July day began to cool. A hot, tormenting breeze that began around noon changed from feeling as if from a hot furnace, to the slightly damp, cool draft as if from an open refrigerator door. Usually, I liked to spend summer days visiting and playing with my neighborhood cousins, but today the heat had made me feel sleepy and uninterested in doing anything.
Golden evening sunshine slanted through a stand of trees west of the house making long shadows stretching from one end of the lawn to the other. Under my bare feet, the shaded grass felt cool and slightly damp. From the barn my cousins and I heard a calf bellow and the mother’s calm, answering low. Daddy’s half-filled haymows, warm from the heat of the day, seemed to breathe the sweet smell of freshly dried hay into the yard. The clank of pots and pans from the house meant someone was in the kitchen washing supper dishes.
Reinvigorated by the temperature change, three of my cousins, Barb, Donna, Alice and I gathered in the back yard. One of us suggested, “Let’s play ‘freeze tag’. Everyone nodded enthusiastically. Continue reading
My dark age years began one evening when I was about six years old and fresh from the bathtub. I’m sure Mom didn’t expect me to slip outdoors and timidly join the game my big brothers and sisters were playing. I was afraid of the dark and had never done it before.
My siblings called the game “seven steps around the house.” They didn’t stop to explain the rules of the game to me, but I quickly gathered that a player was not to be seen by the person who was IT taking more than seven steps. The overall goal for each player to run around the farmhouse, starting at the back door and ending there. The person who was IT couldn’t stay at the back door to tag players as they ran away and returned from their run. He or she had to run around the house, too.
Bushes in the flowerbeds beside the house quivered as giggling siblings hid behind them in the darkening yard. I heard scampering footsteps pounding the dewy grass when players thought the coast was clear. What fun I had! My clean, bare feet turned muddy. My fresh nighty picked-up a grass stain. Continue reading
My cousins and I stood at the backdoor of their house admiring the pristine white blanket of snow covering their back lawn. Barb said, “Let’s play duck-duck-goose.” The four of us were ages nine through eleven.
Plowing into the unsullied expanse, Donna called out, “I’ll make the circle.”
We fell in line behind her and all went around three times for good measure. Our tracks were wide and easy to see. A weak January sun cast blue shadows in the ruts we’d trampled. Alice, the youngest, complained, “When we play this game in the snow, our tracks show if we cut across the circle!”
Big sister Barb chuckled, “That’s a good thing, because cutting across the circle is cheating!” Continue reading