Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bloody Knees and a 99 Year-old Lady

Again, it seems like life keeps me busy, much to some peoples' dismay. No, it's not classes, but socializing and other events keep coming after the wife and me. Tuesday afternoon (as we fretted about whether we could--or should--buy our big house) some of the Lake County Historical Society board members and friends led about 50 local kids on an "Old Fashioned Game Day." We played some old games like jacks and marbles and jumprope and outdoor games including Red Light Green Light, Simon Says, and variations on these games and others. I was surprised to learn that a number of the kids knew how to play Pumpumpollaway (or however you spell it), a game that we loved to play on the school playground in Ft. Pierre, a game like tag that begins with a lone tagger in the middle of the playground as everyone is lined up on one side of the field. She faces them and cries out, "Pumpumpollaway, come away or I'll pull you away!" The kids race to safety on the other side unless they're tagged, which puts them on her side. Last one caught (in my experience it was usually my buddy Mark Huebner) is the next tagger.

We didn't have a good building for Annie-I-Over (or again, whatever you call it). Again, I loved the ritual calling-out of of phrases or sayings that went along with the game.

My buddy JS led the kids, most of them 8 or so years old, in various races across the grass--a three legged race, hopping on one foot, rolling across the grass (and trying to avoid the doggie land mines). The race on your knees led some to cry out after they'd scrambled across the finish line, "My knees are bleeding!" But most kids pushed on to the next race, the next game, the next race across the lawn with a potato on a spoon.

After the games, the board had its monthly meeting, and then it was off to house negotiations.

Wednesday I got in 33 laps in the pool early, then went to the funeral of my great-aunt Regina (Schnell) Rensch. The funeral, held not in Latin but English, contrary to her request, was held in Ramona, followed by her burial there and then lunch in the parish hall. Mother dear sang several songs for the service for the aunt she always thought of as a classy beauty, born in 1908.

Wednesday night we had some friends over for food and drinks, good company, and a great time. It was especially a treat to have the year-old daughter of J and CB here, embarking on her own life-long journey. This morning (too early) was "Early Burn" at the community center, followed by work on the house. Anxiety, pain, fatigue, they're just as much a reminder of the fact of being alive as the touching lyrics and melody of "How Great Thou Art" or the underwater image of a girl in the pool held aloft by her soul-like life preserver. Being there, and being aware--two kinds of luck.

Tomorrow I head for Minneapolis.

1 comment:

Amber Kay said...

Jon,
My daughter Shayla was at Old Fashioned Game Day. However, I loved hearing/reading your account of it much better!
I asked her about it and she said, "We played old people games. It was fun. We had some races!"
I asked her to define "old people games"...and well I never really got an answer!!
It sounds like a fabulous time. I'm sure all of the kids really enjoyed it!