classic summertime play

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Just about the time the daisies burst open and the tomato plants have grown nearly to my chin, I get a hankering to play croquet.  You can read about the rules and history of the game here, but more than likely you have your own family history of alliances, revenge, and personal croquet vendettas played out on the green grass of your youth.

The lawn’s just mowed.  Can you smell it?

Who’s ready for a little friendly competition?

I call yellow ball!

My sister and I traveled north for two weeks every summer to stay with family. Croquet was a late afternoon event informally scheduled somewhere between the lighting of the charcoal briquettes for dinner and the chasing of fireflies at dusk.  Family, friends, roots, and rocks – all is fair in love and croquet. Playing barefoot is best, and nothing says summer like the wooden thwack of a croquet mallet on someone else’s ball.

A quick search outlined croquet sets available everywhere and high cost to low from L.L. Bean to Crate and Barrel, and of course, Amazon.

Other old-timey fun I’m nostalgic about every summer:

  • Parcheesi   : best played (inside) during a thunderstorm with a big bowl of popcorn
  • kite-flying  : on a beach, in the park or pasture, high-flying fun for everyone (except maybe Charlie Brown)
  • jigsaw puzzles  : our family goes for 1000 piece puzzles – leave it out on a table with plenty of elbow-room, and eventually everyone’s looking for and placing pieces – our recent favorites:  Candy Wrappers and The Games We Played
  • gimp : it’s been awhile, but how about weaving one of those gimp keychains? Here’s a video to show how to weave a square stitch and Michaels has gimp aka “plastic lacing”
  • potholder loom : any look back to how to pass the time in summers of yesteryear needs to include the annual weaving of – many – colored, cotton potholders. Vermont Country Store still has the looms and loops! Caution: this project may come with some crying, however, removing the potholder from the loom is a rite of childhood passage, tears or no, and will one day be remembered fondly.

Of course, there’s always Monopoly, cribbage, checkers, and umpteen card games to rediscover. Don’t forget backyard badminton, a swing on the playground, and a good old-fashioned game of catch!


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