"Let the Games Begin" by Jill H. Garrett

"With one eleven year old and three teenage grandchildren in our household, one thing remains constant there are constant games. For example, within minutes of climbing out of bed, each-and-all of them are glued to their laptops or iPods. Just this morning, the youngest had draped a lap robe from the tip of his head to his curled-up toes. When I sneaked a peek at him under the cover, he appeared connected to an iPod's glaring screen.

I remain curious about all this, and think 'Best Buy' must be completely overjoyed, because this sort of example sets the mood for purchases of every up-dated electronic device and keeps them in business! Personally, I became somewhat involved with computers, roughly 25 years ago. I know, that puts me well below the curve and qualifies me for computer illiteracy. Why, I was so fearful and suspect of what hitting the "OFF" button might do, like erase everything inside the darn thing, so I left the computer "ON" for 2 straight days. And yes, I'm a bit more knowledgeable nowadays, but I remain baffled with all the special programs. Thank goodness for grandkids!

So, in self-defense, I shared some of my generation's youthful past times with them. There was 'Blind Man's Bluff," "Swinging Statues," "Pick-up-Sticks' to name a few. These "no cost" activities incorporated concentration, agility, and just plain fun! If you've never experienced these, please let me explain.

For instance, "Pick-up-Sticks" involved what appeared to be over-sized toothpicks... brightly colored and about 6" in length. Each person playing began by tightly holding the 30 odd sticks upright on the floor, then, quickly releasing them. What remained were the sticks tangled on top of one another. The trick was to unstack one-at-a-time, without dislodging any of the others, sounds simple. NOT! If there was any movement other than the one you were attempting to pick up, your turn was over. No ho-hums, please! Just consider, mothers could continue watching soap operas, and Dad's might not be interrupted during an NFL game, while the kids entertained themselves. Nice!

Another game was old-fashioned "Jacks." This included around 8, 1/2" metal, X-shaped figures and a small, orange rubber ball about the size of a ping pong ball. The player would gently toss the X's in a small area, select one to go for by tossing the ball up in the air, and with the same hand, pick up one-at-a-time. These were called "onesies". If you were accomplished enough, you'd repeat the pattern, but this turn meant going for "twosies". I believe this would cause an hour-long giggle from the modern-day teens and preteens. But you know what? "Pick-up-Sticks" cost about a quarter, and a Jacks Set was usually a dime. Bet 'Best Buy' computer stuff couldn't begin to compete!

Didn't mention "Mirror Walk," where you use a small hand mirror and place it on top of the bridge of your nose, just under your eyes. Look down at the mirror and begin your walk. It's amazing how doorways cause the participants to "shreek" and almost fall down on their "Mirror Walk." I discovered this is fun when adults try it, especially the "macho" guys! Let me know how that went, after a couple of beers!

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