Tuesday, March 29, 2016


That thoroughly describes our weather today.  We woke up to threatening overcast.  After lunch we started with light mist that didn't quit.  Not much moved around today except a some birds, a few squirrels, the dog walkers and me.   At 4 pm after a day of sitting around alternately crocheting, reading, working word puzzles, and watching tv, I had to move farther than the bathroom.  I took my borrowed books back to the library as an excuse to make myself go.  I used my umbrella only to keep the wind-blown mist off my face--can't stand specks on my specks.  At 7 I walked down the street to dump trash and recycle cans.  The one good thing for the day, we got the bad tire replaced. The tire changer man said that when it was put on they had cut the bead on the tire causing it to separate. We hope that is the only trouble we have with the tires for a while.

In the Washington-On-The-Brazos State Historic Park yesterday, I bought a book called Games From Long Ago by Bobbie Kalman.  Here's one you might try on your kids/grandkids during icky weather.  It's called the Cudgel Game, and was a favorite among boys in the 1800's.  Two blindfolded players are given rolled-up newspapers.  They lie on their stomachs , head to head, holding each other by the left hand.  One player calls out "Are you ready?"  When the other player replies "yes", the first player tries to swat him/her with the newspaper.  They usually miss.  The second player repeats the action.  Ms. Kalmer comments, "There is no point to this silly game, but it is fun to play and watch. I decided that the game sounded too civilized.  I would shout "GO" and let them beat the tar out of each other!

On the subject of cards I learned that in the early 1800's most children's card games were designed to be educational to help children learn about school subjects and household chores like cooking.  In the 1850's people began to play card games for fun.  Decks of cards were very colorful.  Old Maid and Old Bachelor were lively card games.  Parents did not allow their children to play with regular playing cards because they did not want to encourage gambling.

Board games were popular also.  In most board games the number of squares moved was determined by a teetotum or a spinner on a numbered disk.  A teetotum was like a dreidle  (little top) with six sides numbered 1--6.  Many people did not use dice because they were associated with gambling.

One  holiday game was called Bag and Stick.  We call it break the pinata.  One game I had not heard of was the Cobweb Game.  A beautiful spider made of wire and other materials hung from the ceiling.  Long pieces of string or ribbon--one for each player were attached to the spider, then wound around the room in a tangled web.  The strings reached under the furniture, through doors, and even up and down stairs.  The object of the game was to follow one piece of string from the spider to the end, where a Christmas present was waiting.  (That sounded like loads of fun to me!)

Under Team Sports, I learned several things.  Settlers had a game called Shinny.  This game eventually became Field Hockey, but started out  in open fields and empty lots.  Most players used tree branches for sticks, and everything from a ball of yarn to a crushed tin can for a ball.  In some places, organized shinny teams hit leather balls with well-made sticks.  Football is actually a combination of two older sports--soccer and rugby.  In the 1800's football was similar to modern-day soccer.  According to the rules, the team that scored two out of three times was the winner.  In the 1870's university football teams had rules that allowed players to carry the ball.  Defenders tackled anyone carrying the ball so that they couldn't take across the goal line.  These new rules made football the game it is today.  In the mid 1800's, baseball became a popular sport in the United States.  Professional teams played in cities throughout the country, bu it remained a favorite pastime for boys.  The rules haven't changed much since the 1800's, but there are a few differences.  In the past, the batter was called a striker or batsman, and he could hit the ball in a variety of ways.  Some batsmen hit the ball over their head, others hit the ball on the ground, similar to the way a golf ball is hit.   The bat was often homemade:   sometimes it was just a big stick. Of course players did not wear helmets or gloves.

One of the inside games mentioned was pick-up sticks.  I remember playing this game a lot as a kid, and wanted to introduce my grandkids to the game, but am unable to find it.  If anyone has any information on where I can get it, please let me know.  If anyone wants to know of some more relatively quiet indoor games, I will be glad to share more info from my wonderful book.

To further lighten your day, I will leave you with a groaner.    A famous general dies, and his ashes are to be taken to Arlington National Cemetery.  All airlines are booked, and no other planes are available.  Someone comes up with the idea of using a helicopter.  It arrives at 5 am.  The newspapers report the incident with the headline, "The Whirly Bird Gets the Urn."

Yikes! That was really bad!

Louise and Duane

1 comment:

Paul and Marsha Weaver OCT. 17, 2009 said...

Only if you would have told me about the newspaper game when I was teaching. That would have been a hoot to see the boys...especially the wrestlers...trying to hit each other.

Our weather here today is yucky!