Who’s up for a game of kick the can?
Some of us grew up without cell phones, internet, or even cable TV. When you’re that far off the grid, you entertain yourself with old fashioned activities and old time outdoor games. (Safety features have come a long way since then.) We asked our Facebook Brain Trust to share old fashioned games and other things we did as kids. Here’s what they said—what about you?
LIVING OFF THE LAND
Drank water from a hose pipe (especially when we were “watering in” the tomatoes)
Picked cotton by hand
Picked and shelled peas and beans—or played in the garden while our parents picked and shelled
Ate tomatoes right off the vine—just plopped down in the garden row
Ate watermelon out in the patch
“Robbed” our neighbor’s plumb tree. His grandkids were usually with us, and he knew exactly what we were up to, but we thought we were getting away with something.
Sucked the sweet nectar from honeysuckle
Helped hoe weeds from the garden and made fabulous mud pies
Went blackberry picking, wearing long sleeves to keep the chiggers from eating us alive and carrying a stick to scare the snakes away
Dug for worms in the barnyard for fishing with bamboo poles and red-and-white bobbers
Caught crab for dinner off the pier in the bay; went flounder gigging with my dad at night
Waited for “the rolling store” to come by every Tuesday after lunch (which we called dinner)
Hand-cranked an ice cream freezer
OLD FASHIONED GAMES (WITHOUT HELMETS)
Played school in the summertime
Played rock school
Went swimming “nekkid” in the creek
Played in the rain
Slid down the neighborhood hill on flattened cardboard boxes
Went roller-skating on Union skates that your shoes fit in
Watched Scooby-Doo and then went to the cemetery to see if there were any “mysteries” to be solved
Played “ghost is out tonight” in the church cemetery while our parents visited inside
After summer revival, dared my cousins to run to the cemetery—at night!
Played in the hayloft and corn bin for hours—built tunnels out of hay bales
Listened in on conversations on the party line till Mama caught me
Went on vacation using an Atlas as our guide and had to stop to use a pay phone if we needed to find out what was going on back home
Threw maypops that grew along the dirt roads
Played all over the farm with just one bit of instruction from Mother: “Watch for snakes!”
Rode my bike to a friend’s house a mile away
We used to go to a neighbor’s house to watch the bug zapper.
Spent the summer barefoot, playing in a creek, coming inside just long enough to grab a PBJ and a Coke. We also used the back of a pickup as a swimming pool.
Went EVERYWHERE barefoot
Caught lightning bugs and kept them in a Mason jar with holes poked in the lid
Rode on my best friend’s handlebars . . . without a helmet
Rode my banana seat bike with handlebar tassels until the streetlights came on
Played with kids all over the neighborhood until the streetlights came on—our sign that it was time to go home
Blocked off the neighborhood roads around my Aunt Martha’s house in Elko, GA, so our family could dance all night at the 4th of July Peterman reunions
Played lawn darts—the actual metal “weapon” type
Fried eggs on the asphalt while waiting for customers at our lemonade stand
Filled Mason jars with slimy frog’s eggs from the pond so we could raise tadpoles
Hopped over my Lemon Twist (better than any Hula Hoop)
Played kick the can outside at night
Jumped in the pluff mud so our sneakers would get sucked off
Played in mud puddles and smeared it all over ourselves
Always ran out the screen door, which would invariably slam just as an adult yelled, “Don’t let that screen door slam!!!”
Took unsuspecting visitors snipe hunting at dusk
WHAT MAMA'N'EM DIDN'T KNOW . . .
Hiked in the woods for miles with no one else but the family dog
Walked in the woods all day without ever leaving family property
Road my bike down the train track
Climbed to the top of a silo at our dairy farm
Jumped off the barn roof
Chased the mosquito truck on my bike
Rode my bike all over town, with my parents having no idea where I was
Played on the creek and under the creek bridge without an adult hovering nearby (though there might’ve been a water moccasin or two)
CARS, PICKUPS, AND COTTON WAGONS
Sat on the armrest during family trips so I could see out
Stood on the seat next to Papaw during rides in his pickup
Yep, stood on the seat. Granny’s arm was my seatbelt.
Rode in the back of a pickup with a bunch of friends
Sat on my Dad’s lap and steered the car on road trips
Rode down the highway while sitting on the open tailgate of a pickup with my legs dangling off
Slept in the back window of the car during long trips
Went with Daddy to get tractor parts and always took a nap stretched out on the seat of his truck with my head in his lap
Rode with the postman—a relative—from my house to my friend’s house, handing him mail along the way
Drove a tractor to the store
Drove all over town when we were 15
I used to ride to the gin in my daddy’s cotton trailers. The first time, the man who owned the gin told Daddy not to do it again. Did it again. Next day.
Slipped tools out of my uncle’s barn to cut down small trees and build a fort with my cousins
Built a fort out of hay bales left in the barn loft
Built forts out of pine straw all day long
Built Gilligan-style forts with bamboo and everything
Mounded piles of pine straw to build forts or jump in, disregarding red bugs and chiggers, which caused itchy legs and arms for days
AND THIS JUST IN . . .
Never heard of data usage, social media, or streaming (without water, that is). Not that we want to give up Facebook and Netflix. There's something to be said for progress.
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