alskuefhaih
asoiefh

Monday, August 02, 2010

Pre-Farm Day: Fun & Games

-
-
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’m off work this week, part vacation, part sprucing up for Farm Day. Phoebe's steps need cleaning, and the parsley, sage and basil (and the corn, kohlrabi, tomatoes, mint, cucumbers, beans) have to be set free from those choking, unsightly weeds.

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 . . .
-
-

45 comments:

Loring Wirbel said...

Depends on the degree of hand-eye coordination necessary - volleyball or Jarts is about as far as I will go. Well, softball sometimes.

Ruth said...

Well, Loring, you might also want to consider the abilities of those you play with. If you played Jarts with me, I might poke your eye out.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, it does sound like fun, but like you, I'm more of an observer when it comes to sports of any kind. But now of course, if you had some horses to ride, that would be right up my alley.

Mrs. M. said...

I have two vivid memories of games and G'ma...

playing tennis and shuffleboard with her in Hawaii on two separate vacations (my ages 7 and 12), and she explaining the rules completely of each game!

the second, any word board game in the dining room in Grand Ledge...boggle, scrabble,etc.! Who could beat G'ma at a word game?

Would love to be at Farm Day! Maybe next year we'll be MI residents...

Susan said...

Well, that would be corn hole down here. They even paint them with OSU stuff on them. I'm actually pretty good at hand/eye coordination games and I love badminton, but I hate sweating, so it kinda takes the fun out of it. Maybe I should play it in the winter. I could paint the shuttlecocks bright red so I can see them in the two-foot deep snow!

We didn't have girl sports when I was in school, so I didn't grow up in that culture either. Pity. Have a fun Farm Day!

Ruth said...

Pamela, and you must look romantic and lovely doing it. Would you believe I have never, ever been upon a horse.

Ruth said...

Mrs. M., no one could beat her, because she knew every word, like ai the three-toed sloth. And aa - was that lava? And I know, I could have listed many other games she told me the rules of. The thing is, she played most of them!

Is it possible, is it really almost that time that Laura will be graduating and you might move to Michigan? It's beyond believing. But fun!! :D

Ruth said...

Susie! Hahahahahaha. Oh man, I could not pull that corn hole out of me head, though Don had told me at least 3 times. (My mother would not have forgotten, bless her.) I think Don has recruited Lesley to paint the boards. Hmm, I wonder what they'll be. As it is Don got green and white corn bags (Spartans, you know).

I think badminton in winter is no stranger than seeing men play golf in the snow in Edinburgh in November.

Thank you, the weather looks fair for Saturday . . .

George said...

The key to play, Ruth, is to always remember it's just play. Forget the false dichotomy of winning and losing. There's always a win in a loss and a loss in a win. If in doubt, you can always find encouragement in Emerson's essay, "Compensation." Have a great Farm Day -- and good luck with the sandbags, beanbags, or whateverbags.

Dee Dee said...

I am so looking forward to Farmday. I'll fancy myself roughing it in the borrowed RV. I'll saturates my senses with fruit trees, especially the new Wedding Plum.I can't wait to be around the sound, sight and smell of all the beauty of other growing living wonders on the farm now and all the ones that will be arriving to your farm in the next few days. As for sporty activities, I'll just have to watch Joe playing badminton left handed while eating peanuts.

Kamana said...

sounds like fun.and i so agree with that quote. writing helps to think, doesnt it?

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

It all sounds fantastic even the games as If my kids were there and they available it'd mean I would get to sit and chat and be idle! lol!!!!
It really should be a wonderful day sounds like it has all the neccessary ingredients!

Gwei Mui said...

Hmm I did both initally quite a lot when I was growing up in Yorkshire, jax (you bounce and ball then have to pick up as many metal cosses - jax as you can) Skipping, two balls against the wall, french skipping, rounders, tag, stick-in-the mud and British Bulldog. When I moved down south I developed the saunter away thing partly becuase the children were suspicious of me and also I'd discovered books

Ruth said...

Thank you, George. I can see you'd have been one of those kind friends in the neighborhood who would help me laugh and not take myself so seriously.

Forget about winning or losing, sure, I can do that. What about finding the ball that I just threw into the air god-only-knows-where? :)

Ruth said...

Dee Dee my precious sister, all the living things here (especially me) will wake up, look with big eyes and feel better when you come with your borrowed RV. You have the energy of the universe, the cosmos inside and out.

That line about Joe is so right and so funny that my hat's off to you for saying it. But then, you do know him best. I'll be watching with you.

VioletSky said...

Oh, how I wished we played games as a family when I was young. Now, I hate playing anything because I just feel so uncomfortable not knowing any of the rules. I think games may have helped me feel less self conscious. Or not.
I would sit in that circle with you and watch and talk....

Ruth said...

Yes, Kamana, like that old saying, How do I know what I think until I hear what I say?

Ruth said...

ABOCC, well yes! Everyone else can have fun while we talk. The perfect set-up. :)

Ruth said...

Gwei Mui, I didn't play jax, but we had them. I never knew the rules. Those red bouncey balls I played with at recess, that was fun. Well yes books are another reason to sit while others play. There are a few vacation shots of me reading by the side of a pool while Don was in the water with the kids. :|

Ruth said...

Violetski, it would be nice to sit and chat with you. But I'm just like you, I regret not playing games because of how they develop your mind and body, something so difficult to do later in life in the same way.

Pauline said...

Love the idea of Farm Day reunions and lots of games (Go, Don!).

I grew up in a game-loving family. Because i am not a natural athlete, I made up games for my siblings and I to play so that, though I did not shine at neighborhood baseball games, I could best them all at word games :)

Todd said...

Ruth,
With that dexterous mind of yours, I look forward to the opportunity to teach you and Don double-deck euchre this weekend! A game of actual strategy and daring that I think you might enjoy. We'll see!
Can't wait to see you!
Love!

Shari Sunday said...

My mother and my brother loved games. Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit were two of their favorites. They were very good and very competitive. My mom taught us kids and the grandkids to play Poker, too, and she tolerated no stretching of the rules for even the youngest child. I love to watch my family play games and sports even though I do not play anything. I was nearsighted as a child and would not wear my glasses. Hand and eye coordination just never happened. Well, I did get into bowling for a while. I liked it because I didn't have to catch anything. Anyway, thank God for games. They added a lot to my mother's life and that old Scrabble game is sacred to my kids even though we never play it. I enjoy Sodoku now and then and I have learned to love watching football. Happy Farm Day!

rauf said...

many subjects pending Ruth one of them is rural sports in India, most of them dying. i remember my sisters playing Billa, you don't need much space, draw 6 rectangles and hop on one foot on each rectangle. it was all girls game. Gilli Danda is all boys game, no equipment just a long and a short thick stick, very interesting games
Kho-Kho is another fast paced game for children

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHnHDFM7eH0&NR=1

and many many indoor games played by old ladies
which don't need any equipment.

This time please add a carrom board for farm day Ruth

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp2CnAQ4WRk&NR=1

children love it, the problem is they refuse to get up and leave the board.

Elizabeth said...

Do hope your family games day will be an amazing success.

LOVE the throw the bean bag throught the hole thing.
I remember:
Scrabble with my father
and poker and vingt-et-un
French cricket at school....
and on the beach in the summer
trying to get Granny to run into the sea to catch a ball
My mother was rather boring -- saying
"Oh, well, darling, I'll play if you REALLY want me to."
Who wants to play a game with someone who is not madly keen to win?
So many memories. Love your blog.

Babs-beetle said...

I definitely grew up playing games. It started with games like marbles, conkers and Five Stones when I was very young, then progressed into Rounders, Netball, bowling and any other game available. I have always been a keen games player, but sadly I can't participate in most any more. The day I realized that I couldn't run around competing any longer was a very sad day for me.

The sand bag game looks like one I could still enjoy though.

Oliag said...

Your Farm Day sounds like so much fun!

Growing up we played very unstructured games...at family picnics we would play croquet and bocce and horseshoes and kickball and kick the can and hide and seek...but the rules were never very strict...and still I was never very good at them. Nowadays my kids always seem to start a game of Spud...Never heard of Corn Hole!

I'm so out of shape right now it is frightening!

ds said...

Yes, a'a is a kind of lava (board games were big in our house growing up, and here also, until...I don't know). Croquet, horseshoes, volleyball, badminton, and "invisible man" baseball all played out on the lawn.

Enjoy the vastness and beauty of your bounty--vegetable and familial!!

Ruth said...

Pauline, that's pretty ingenious of you. I am pretty good a word games, but I am sandwiched between a mom who was better, and a husband who is better. Oh well, it's fun playing anyway.

Ruth said...

Hi, Todd! Oh I wish I could say "gooodieee" - but all I can say is "aaggghhhh!" like Kevin in "Home Alone." :)

Ruth said...

Shari, now that is a great description of why you like bowling - you liked it because you didn't have to catch anything. :D I'm pretty good at catching. It's the throwing part that is bad bad bad. In my mind I know exactly what I want my hand to do, but my hand only does that bidding maybe 20% of the time. I'm with you, it's fun watching games.

Your mom sounds great!

Ruth said...

Wowee, rauf, my head is spinning from watching Kho-Kho, I would get lost in Nepal somewhere. But they are SO cute playing it! :D

After you said carrom, I asked Don if he had played it, and he said and reminded me what the game was like. I hadn't looked at the youtube yet. Then as he described it, I remembered seeing it, but I think I never played it. I love the board itself, it is very nostalgic. Don said he saw one at a yard sale recently for $1. I wish he had gotten it!

Oh, we play foursquare too, which is such a simple game of bouncing a ball in the right square. Lesley and Peter love it.

Ruth said...

Elizabeth, French cricket sounds elegant, I never knew there was such a game. Maybe I should bring it to the farm, as much as I love Paris.

It's so lovely to see you and your Marrakesh blog again. Talk about elegant.

Ruth said...

Babs, oh that is sad indeed. Once I played in the mother-daughter softball game for my daughter's league. I practiced with Don and got pretty good at hitting the ball. When the game came, I swung too early and ran to first base. Not only was I out, I pulled the quadriceps in my legs so bad that I limped for a month.

I guess it wasn't a 10-year-old who invented Shuffleboard and horseshoes, eh?

Ruth said...

Oh yes, Oliag, I forgot, Don put a horseshoe pit in the orchard a couple summers ago. We had a volleyball net up for years, but no one played. I think no one wants to sweat at Farm Day, so we just play the polite games. I wonder if there is a way to play extreme croquet? I know my nephews Todd and Paul play a mean game of ping pong.

Ruth said...

OK, DS, suddenly I feel cheated. My mother is not here to defend herself either. How come a'a is legal in Scrabble if other apostrophied words aren't? Hmmmmm.

:D

Bella Rum said...

Ruth,
"To write well is to think clearly."

Oh, my goodness. In a recipe I just posted, I wrote flower about three times when I meant flour. Recently, my mind is only limber when it chooses. As for my body, I will begin a yoga class tomorrow. This is a first for me. My flexibility has gone out the window, but I'm hoping this will retrieve some of it.

I'm not much of a game player either but Farm Day sounds like loads of fun. How wonderful that you and Don do that for your family and friends. Enjoy!
Bella

Marcie said...

Somehow games were never a part of my growing up years..but I learned a new appreciation for them thru my husband and raising our kids. There is something about them that simply takes you out of the here and now. Just good fun!!!

Ruth said...

Hello there, Bella. You know, I type the wrong word with the same sound ALL THE THYME. I hope you'll enjoy the yoga, something I have done only a little but think I would really enjoy, for many reasons.

It sounds as though only half the expected group will be coming this year to our Farm Day festivities, which is disappointing. But I hope the quality of fun will not suffer with a smaller population.

Ruth said...

Marcie, you make a very good point. Games force you to live in the moment. They could be zen practice!

(Living in that barn you posted with two Adirondack chairs in Maine could get me meditating too.)

SwedeHart said...

Someday, when I see you again, I would like to learn to play double deck euchre! Poor me- no one in the great wild west knows euchre, and when you try to teach them, they just don't have the skills.

When I stayed with G'ma & G'pa, we always had a bowl of ice cream together and played UNO before bed.

My mother-in-law, Shauna, loves to play games. She and I pick up all the newest games and play them when we get a chance. She's an artist, so when we get together for lunch, we always grab the childrens menu and have a coloring contest. Then the waiter(ess) has to judge for us!

caroldiane said...

Farm Day what a lovely tradition - with all the games and conversation! My home was full of games too - that was what you did on Sunday afternoon before the roast went in! My mom still assists me with crossword puzzles and we call her when we can't remember one of the rules to canasta!

Terresa said...

Farm day sounds like such fun! If I lived in your neighborhood, I'd want to join in.

**And your insight always floors me, especially this:

"Recently, as I’ve focused more on writing, my mind has gotten more limber."

So true. The only regret I have is that I didn't continue writing every single day of my life (I stalled out in college & thereafter in my early mothering years).

Writing daily --or as often as possible-- is necessary for writers. I really don't think there's any other way around it.

My words are more lithe when I write write write. It's work, writing. But I'm smitten by it, still.

Arti said...

"To write well is to think clearly..." how true. Not only that, your first photo seems to reveal that to take a good picture, you need to think deeply and aesthetically... such a beautiful photo, Ruth. I just love the interplay of light and shadows and the mood it conveys. As for games, i'd a few, but nothing as natural and freeing as those played in the open field on the farm.

Ginnie said...

Some games, Ruth, are downright addicting, so you may not want to get too ready for them if you have other things you want to do. :) When I'm with the kids, we play Spades non-stop...and the time flies. Astrid and I have already decided that when we're there in October, she will play games with Nicholas on his Play Station 2 or Nintendo, because that is HER kind of games, doing them with Jeroen as he grew up. While the two of them play nearby, the 4 of us will play Spades, which will solve the "extra person" problem. It will make a good solution...and everyone will be doing what they love.

BTW, what did Dad do??? Did he ever play at anything? Maybe Mom made up for him! Actually, I remember teaching them Othello and saw them get addicted to it. Do you remember that... after all the kids had left the nest and they were retired!