“Time is a game played beautifully by children.”

The house was chilly when I finally go out of bed. It had rained during the night and everything is still damp. The sky is cloudy. The breeze is slight if at all. It is a stay home and be cozy sort of day. I’m wearing my sloth day uniform: flannel pants and a tee-shirt under a sweatshirt. I’ve packed away my Red Sox sweatshirts in favor of a Patriot’s red one. I also have a Celtic’s sweatshirt tucked away until later.

Gwen, formerly known as cat2, sleeps on the chair or on one of the beds in the guest room. She wakes up and comes out to greet me when I go in each night to clean the boxes and feed the two cats. She loves being scratched and tilts her head and purrs when I do. She still has giant clumps on her sides but is going to the vets next week for a physical and a shave.

When I was a kid, we used to play a lot of outside games. My neighborhood was filled with kids so there were always plenty to play with. Hide and seek was one we played in the field and in the woods by the swamp. Twenty was the count before the it person could go looking for us, the hiders. We always had a tree as the safe spot, but if we heard olly olly oxen free we knew it was safe to come out.

Red light, green light was another game. One kid, the traffic light, would have his back to us and would say green light. We could move toward him, but if he said red light, we had to stop moving. Whoever didn’t was out. The object of the game was to get to the traffic light and touch him and be the winner.

Red Rover was another game. We’d have two teams, sides. The captains would take turns picking the sides. The strongest went first. The little ones went last. We’d form a line, hold hands then face each other and take turns to call, “Red Rover, Red Rover, let Kat come over!” I’d run as fast as I could to break the opponent’s line. If I didn’t, I’d stay there. The game was over when one side had lost all its players.

I loved Simon Says. The kid who was Simon stood in front of us and gave commands. We could do the ones which started Simon says like Simon Says clap your hands, but if no Simon Says, and we did it, we were out of the game. The winner was the only kid left except for Simon.

Those games filled many summer days. We’d play game after game and never get bored. Usually we’d just get tired and hungry. We’d sprawl on the lawn in the soft grass, rest up and have a snack, all the better to play again.

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6 Comments on ““Time is a game played beautifully by children.””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    We played all those games, too. Generally we played them out in the street because there weren’t any cars coming down it in those days. Just the milk man and bread man. Nowadays there’s a lot of traffic on my small dead end street but the kids still play out in the street. The neighborhood is between kid groups at the moment so only the basketball hoops at either end of the street are in use. The current group of kids are all in high school or college and the next group is still too little to go about alone.

    For the first time in a few days I have not had to turn the heat on for one cycle to warm up the house in the morning. It was comfortable. I could see my breath outside but that ended fairly quickly. It’s been warm in the house all day with all the sunshine. I’ll take it.

    Good for Gwen (formerly cat2) for doing as well as she has. I hope the vet visit doesn’t set her back.

    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      We also had a quiet street. It was a cul de sac with a small rotary at the top. We used to roller skate on the streets and never feared cars. There were always kids around the whole neighborhood.

      This neighborhood has eight kids in two houses. I used to see them walking to the end of the street to get the bus to school, but the route changed, and I don’t see them. They used to scooter or ride their bikes on the street, but they seem to have disappeared. I see them every now and then in front of one house. They are not really old but older now and there are no younger kids in the wings.

      My house was 64˚ when I woke up. We never got the sun the whole day. It stayed cloudy and cool. I watched the news at noon, and I couldn’t believe I could see the sun.

      I hope the same thing for Gwen.

      Have a great evening!

  2. Birgit Says:

    We’ve had similar games. Hide and seek was just called hide but I can’t remember our name of your red rover. Red green light was something like stop and go, maybe with hand claps, no colors. Simon says reminds me of All birds fly high which was usually not played outside. Everyone taps both hands on the table and someone says All birds/cows/stones/feathers/etc fly high. When it’s true and the mentioned thing can fly then we all have to raise our hands, when not then keep on tapping.
    Good luck with Gwen/cat2!

    • katry Says:

      Hi Birgit,
      I love the different names for the games. I especially love All Birds Fly High. That is such neat game. I understand why it can be played inside. It takes such split second responses that it is such fun.

      There were so many other games, but these are the ones I remember the most. It saddens me that today’s kids play so little except with their devices. When my niece’s five year old came home with a note from his teacher that he had been rude to her a couple of times, my niece took away his iPad. He cried. When I was a kid, I would have been punished by being grounded in the afternoon.

  3. olof1 Says:

    We didn’t have red rover but all the other games. I think our name for red light green light was freeze and it is impossible to translate the Swedish name for hide and seek 🙂 I’m not totally sure but I think Simon says has the same name here.

    Lots of rain and a grey sky here today, the kind of weather that make one feel that it is quite ok to work 🙂

    Have a great day!


    • katry Says:

      Hi Christer,
      You are probably right as red light-green light meant we had to freeze to stay in the game. I remember there use to e arguments as to whether or not someone was moving. I think the first person out ended up being a judge.

      Great day today, but tomorrow will start raining late in the day and e totally ugly.

      Have a great day!

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