Saturday, December 10, 2011

WHISTLE AND HOLLOW! The Dogs Can't Follow

A new one on the porch this year makes four trees she decorates
Although it is a weekend and Julie is staying home to decorate, I still awoke early.  I was dreaming of playing a game all the neighborhood kids joined in playing during the Great Depression of the '30s.  Most of life during that period of humanity around the world was bad, but not everything.


There were seven ramshackled houses on our end of a dirt road alongside of the B & O Railroad track.  My cousins in the end house, next to my family, were well-to-do, meaning there were two employed men during these dire economical times.
Four of the other five houses were also relatives of ours but all were poor as church mice.  The same as today, poor people seem to have the most children.  Go figure!  Almost all were our cousins.  I NEVER KNEW WE WERE POOR.  Thanks to my mother, we had three square meals a day.

Yes, excepting the Shirleys, and my Grandma Elliott, the houses were as shabby inside as they were on the outside.  Mom cooked on an old, iron cook stove, mostly with wood, although we did pick up coal on the railroad track.  The only heat, other than the kitchen stove, was a fireplace in the "front" room.  In the wintertime, all the other rooms were frigid.  But, we slept on good, thick straw ticks under heavy, home made quilts. 

Of course there were no telephone, radios, television, electricity, indoor plumbing, sewers, streetlights,hardroads, or money for the new talking movies.  There were checkers, dominoes, a well worn deck of cards and a river. There were no super markets.  There were five small grocery stores within a mile.  A trip to the store was a real outing, especially so if there was a penny for candy. 

Toys, how about the toys?  There were no toys, at least no store bought toys.  Clothes were handed down and worn out, and then worn some more.  Shoes, yes, in the winter time only.  There was a saying, What  pair of pants shall I wear?  My new ones, my blue ones or the ones I pulled off last?  Of course, they were all the same pair! 

But, we made do.  A good, choice stick served as a gun for hunting, shooting Indians, playing soldier, rolling a hoop or hitting the tin can in a rowdy game of "shinny"

I did get my first "real" gun, a single shot, 16 Ga. Winchester when I was 13.  My son, Mark, has that gun today. At 13, I was a man, a man should have a gun.  Different values in those days.  

A GREAT GAME WAS WHISTLE AND HOLLOW AND THE DOGS CAN'T FOLLOW.. I awoke this morning dreaming of playing that game, also called the "Fox and the Geese".  Although everyone in my dream is gone now, in the dream they were all young and vibrant!

All the kids on the street, excepting the Shirleys, would get together at dusky dark to start a game where three or four "dogs" would try to catch the wild game, turning them into "dogs".  It doesn't sound like much of a game, but we had probably a mile of open field between the railroad track and river in which to play.  It was played in the dark, no lights whatsoever.  The "wild game" would " whistle and hollow", run and or hide.  A game could last for hours.  Was there a bit of "hanky panky" among the older teens?  I don't know, I mean I wasn't one of them.  Hmmm!

When my kids were young adults, they played a similiar game called "Cram".  One couple would hide.  Everyone else, in couples, would search for them.  When they found the hidden couple, they would "Cram" in with them and hide also.  Was there "hanky panky" among these older teens?  OF COURSE NOT!!!!!  I am not aware of any other groups of young people who played such games at that time.  We also had square dances and I know none of the other kids families had such goings on.  

 The teens of my youth all went to war in World War II.  Some never came home.  The games they played prepared them for what they had to do.  My kids, who led in such imaginative games, all went on to become leaders in school and in life.  I HAVE SERIOUS CONCERN FOR TODAY'S YOUTH,HOWEVER, WHO HAVE NO SUCH EXPERIENCE IN LIFE.

Old men dream dreams, young men see visions.  I am dreaming dreams I guess.  But, you know what, I still see visions.  I MUST TRULY BE AN ODD BALL!

I'd like to know.
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God Bless You and Yours


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