” Man is a gaming animal. He must always be trying to get the better in something or other.”

The day is cloudy but bright. It looks as if the sun will be making an appearance sometime later. It is 41°, cooler than the last few days but seasonal for March. The wind blew all day and all night. I was lucky my deck glass table top didn’t break because the wind toppled the umbrella which then took the table along with it. I didn’t expect that to happen as the umbrella is through a hole in the center of the table so the wind was a mighty wind. Today is calm; nothing is moving.

 The Globe mentioned that Rex Trailer of Boomtown fame, a local program we all grew up watching and can probably still sing the theme to, has been designated the state’s official cowboy. At first I thought it a bit strange that this state would have a cowboy, a state fisherman maybe, but not a cowboy then I gave it some thought. Every Saturday morning Rex Trailer did it all: rode his horse Goldrush, played the guitar and sang cowboy songs, did the best rope tricks and once, in 1961, rode a covered wagon from Greenfield to Boston, a distance of 94 miles, to raise awareness about children with disabilities. He made us all want to be cowboys. I would have given anything to be on Boomtown, maybe even be made sheriff for the day. 

I grew up with television. I doubt there were many days in my life when I didn’t watch something. The Mickey Mouse Club was a program I never missed when I was a kid. As I grew older, my interests changed, and I watched shows like Dark Shadows and Bandstand and so many more. It wasn’t until Ghana that I had to do without TV. There wasn’t a single set in my town. Reception never got that far north. We learned to entertain ourselves.

 Bill and Peg, my friends and next door neighbors, were also PC volunteers. Most nights we got together, listened to music and played a game. One game was the alphabet game. The letters went down the page in a line in order from A to Z then we’d find a sentence and put one letter of each word next to the alphabet letter. If you had A with a B next to it, you’d have to find a well-known name with those initials like Aaron Burr and then you did the same for all the letters. One of my fondest memories of this game is Bill’s choices. It was often a name neither one of us, Peg and I, had ever heard before. Bill always said the guy was a football player. We voted against him every time.

My mother had sent me a Password game. We played it so much we had just about memorized every card. Unsuspecting company would play against us. We never lost. Despite the absurdity of our clues, we always guessed the right word.

The red ball attached by an elastic to a paddle was our favorite. We’d go into the back courtyard and challenge each other. Our eye hand coordination was really bad at first then we got spectacular. I can’t imagine what our neighbor thought when he heard us from the yard counting in unison: one, two and sometimes all the way up to over 200. When the elastic broke, it broke our hearts.

Games are still a huge part of my life. My friends and I always play a game when we’re together. Phase 10 and Sorry are our current favorites. We keep track of the winners of each game, and we always make fun of the loser. I won’t quote any of the responses the loser usually gives. This blog is Rated G.

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17 Comments on “” Man is a gaming animal. He must always be trying to get the better in something or other.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    “words with friends”….totally rocks, always have four or five games going at one time. The IM feature adds to the whole experience. As it’s computer driven, I play with my sister in London, my friend in Shanghai, a buddy in Columbus as well as the kids.

    Give it a try but dodge the Facebook link

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I love being able to keep in touch through games. I’ll have to get my two sisters going at it!


  2. olof1 Says:

    We never had any tv shows like that over here, no cowboys at all actually 🙂 But we had Captain Zoom, a space traveler that came to earth having troubles understanding why we behaved like we did 🙂

    We did play a lot of games back in the days, unfortunately non of my friends now days like playing games. It’s when i visit my sister I finally get a chance 🙂 Your Sorry is most probably the same as our Fia with a push 🙂 My sister and I can play that game for hours in a row 🙂

    Windy over here today and with the wind warm and sunny weather will arrive they say. All snow that fell yesterday is gone now and I won’t complain :-.)

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      We had Major Mudd who was a spaceman, and he was great fun. His show was local in Boston.

      Luckily all my friends play games, and we usually make an evening of it. We all played when I was growing up so we know a lot of different games.

      We’ll be chilly then back to warm, again. This is crazy weather.

      Enjoy the evening!

  3. Hedley Says:

    A night out with the Antelope

    My late Mother loved Barry Manilow, even though she had a tendency to mispronounce his name. So, when the great man comes to town, I tend to go as a mark of respect, along with all the other Fanilows. Tonight, along with Mrs Hedley, and my sister and husband, we are in the very last row of the Fox Theatre to enjoy an evening of memories and no doubt we will all be somewhat teary eyed when he sings “Can’t smile without you”

    Gary Antelope rules.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      That is a lovely tribute to your mom, far more than I could manage. I’m not sure I could sit through an entire evening with Mr. Manilow. Luckily my mother was a Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis fan. I took her to see Tony once as a birthday present, and she smiled the whole time.

      • Hedley Says:

        And what a night out it was ! 5,000 rather old people on their feet waving their glow sticks (not subliminal, everyone was handed one when they went in) and singing “can’t smile without you”…bring a tear to my eye…you bet

        thank you Barry Mantilow, which is what my Mother called him, it was a great evening.

  4. Bill S. Says:

    Bill & Peg here checking in.

    No tv, no radio, no newspapers or magazines, no cell phones, no computers, just a small cassette recorder to listen to tapes, over and over again. It was enough to make one turn to alcohol and drugs. Somehow we survived. I’m not sure if today’s PC Volunteers know how easy they have it, able to phone home or skype whenever they want.

    The flyback was a lot of fun. Up until then I hadn’t used one since I was a kid. And those really were names of football players….

    • katry Says:

      I think the same thing about today’s volunteers. Many have blogs by which they stay connected weekly or even daily. There is also Skype for a face to face.The PC headquarters in Accra even have their version of an internet cafe.

      On some of the blogs the volunteers get together to watch movies, newish movies, on their computers. I remember watching Indian films with subtitles and westerns made in the 30’s.

      Remember we had to book a phone call home the day before so they could set up the connection. Letters took two weeks.

      Nope, I still believe they were made up names!

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I remember Rex Trailer. I was on his show once and got to sit on Goldrush. State Cowboy? Okay, I guess. He was in our 4th of July parade a few years back. It took me a minute to recognize who the old guy on the horse was and when I did, I felt really, really old. 🙂
    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      How lucky you were to be on Boomtown. I’m jealous!

      I think it’s amazing he’s still riding. From all accounts he was a good guy who went to hospitals and did public service when asked.

  6. Bob Says:

    I remember the first daytime TV shows when I was five. Dave Garroway hosted the Today show and there was a soap opera called “Love of Life”. Every day I would watch the test pattern until it was five O’Clock in the New York area and I would watch Howdy Doody with Buffalo Bob Smith. You and I grew up as the TV generation. I wonder if Woody, of Toy Story fame is based in part on Rex Trailer. John Lasseter, the creative genius of Pixar studios may have gotten some ideas from that New England based TV show.

    Later on I had my first crush on Annette Funicello of the Mickey Mouse Club fame. Later on I had other ideas involving her when she was in those beach party movies and I was a pimple faced teenager.

    The red ball and the paddle was one of the many toys that I enjoyed mastering after breaking numerous rubber bands. My grandmother lived in a very poor neighborhood in Brooklyn NY and there was a small toy store on the corner called “Cheep Charlie’s”. They sold all kinds of cheap toys that broke before the day was over. The owner and his wife, who were named Gordon and not Charlie, sat outside the dimly lit store until a kid showed up with a dime. The store was dark, dirty, dingy and the toys were displayed in open cardboard boxes on unfinished wooden shelves. I think the most expensive item was a dollar.

    Today was not as windy but it is cloudy with a little rain. Tomorrow should bring the storms.

    • katry Says:

      I was a Howdy Doody fan and I loved Superman though usually the street lights came on just before Superman so we had to go in the house. I only remember the afternoon shows, not the daytime ones.

      The Mickey Mouse Club was my all time favorite. I also loved Spin and Marty and the other serials they had.

      I found the paddle and ball, but the paddle was plastic and just wasn’t all that fun then I found the wooden lone I remembered and tried it a few times. Over time, my eye hand coordination just isn’t what it used to be!

      We had rain during the night-the streets were damp this morning.

  7. Coleen Burnett Says:

    Hey Kat!

    As I do not yet have computer access except at work (that will change very soon!) I miss playing my games 🙁

    My favorite online games are on Pogo.com. My very favorite game there is Poppit. You pop balloons to score points. Why nobody knows. I am afaid to send ANYBODY to the site as it is so addicting and mindless… 🙂

    My first memories of kid’s TV was a show called “Birthday House” with a guy named Paul Tripp. I also remember “Winky DInk and You”, which stopped the action so you could draw on the screen with a crayon. Of course, you were supposed to put a plastic sheet over the screen so’s not to damage it, but at the age of 3 or 4 I usually forgot that part. 🙂

    I guess you could say my media career started very early :0

    Waving from Jersey…and hey, have you seen any spring games on TV yet?


    • katry Says:

      Hi Coleen,
      I play games when I’m home alone so I’d miss my computer too. I alspo go to Pogo and love playing word womp, cribbage and dominoes. With my friends, we play card and board games just like when we were kids.

      My friend talked about Winky Dink and You, and he is from New Jersey so maybe it was a local show. I found a DVD of old programs and one of Winky Dink was on it. Needless to say, it wasn’t at all as my friend remembered.

      Waving back, and I’m watching one now! NESN has been putting games all starting this week. I’ve watched three so far. This is a horrible addition baseball!

  8. Jeff in San Diego Says:

    In this reader’s opinion (and there is nobody’s worthless opinion I holld in higher esteem than my own), any talk of games that includes songs about said games is not complete without this gem from the late 1960s:

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