Don is building a game; these ramps will lie down,
and we will toss small bags of
sand corn toward the holes.
If it were left to me, Farm Day this Saturday (Family Reunion #3) would consist of eating lunch and dinner, and between meals, 30 people (my siblings, their spouses, and their children) sitting around in a circle of lawn chairs, carrying on in discourse, while my siblings' grandchildren are occupied in something or other. So it is a very good thing that Don grew up playing games, sports and excelling at being a kid, which has made this hobby farm where we live a very fun place for Farm Day three years running. (2006 was the first Farm Day, then 2007. 2008 was the last one, as last year's Farm Day was Farm Wedding Day.)
Some fortunate people are nimble of mind and body. My mom was one -- a genius, and a tremendous athlete as a young person. By the time I knew her (I was born when she was 40), she was no longer agile of body, but her mind was a great resource to me, and to everyone who knew her. She also understood the value of games for mental as well as physical acuity and played word games such as crossword puzzles and solitary Scrabble to “clear the cobwebs." It was Mom who taught me the rules of American football, baseball and basketball, so I could watch them somewhat intelligently. At our house, we were not encouraged to play sports, as church was the important thing.
Recently, as I’ve focused more on writing, my mind has gotten more limber. That quote on my side bar by David McCullough is becoming more of a practice: " Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's hard." But I’m afraid my body is still not nimble for games. I do Pilates [sometimes] to keep muscles and tendons flexible, and I run and lift hand weights, to try to stay in some kind of reasonable shape. But games? I didn’t play them much growing up, and I never played in sports or participated in track and field, or did much of anything besides ride my bike around town. It's hard to develop coordination if you didn't do it when you were young. Oh, if you saw me throw something, a ball, anything, you would weep, or laugh. It's OK, I'm used to it. I learned not to cry when my brother taught me to sing, "Hahaha, look at me, I struck out" after striking out at softball for the umpteenth time in our neighborhood. Now I laugh. I didn't play many board games either, and learning to play euchre (a Midwest card game) with my in-laws was terrifying.
Thanks to Don, Lesley, Brian and Peter, game lovers all, there will be badminton, croquet, ping pong, and Ladder Ball at this little farm fest. There may even be tournaments. And this sand bag tossing game in the top photo, that Don is building. I forget what it's called. Hole Bag. Sand Bag. Sand Hole. Hole Toss. I don't remember, and Don isn't here to ask. All I know is I will be great at it.
I wonder if you grew up playing games, or if you're like me and saunter off in the other direction when someone asks, Let's play . . .