How I wish I was a young boy again, happily playing shuttle-cock and whisk-the-whippet with my little chums!
One of my favorite games was called the Hopping-Scotch. As I recall, we would take a piece of lime-stone and draw an elongated rectangle, and then divide the rectangle into a number of self-contained sections. Each of us took turns pitching the lime-stone into one of the sections, and then we would hop on one foot in each section to collect the lime-stone. Should one of us chance to stumble or toss the lime-stone out-side the pattern, that individual was shunned and forced to sing:
Sing a-hey holly golly, Anthony Rowley/With a heigh-ho tiddly-fie-fie!
I have failed at the Hopping-Scotch/And shall not get some pie.
But, I must say, the good old days were not always good. It is a wonder I lived to be so old, when one pauses to consider the constant perils I encountered through-out my youth.
For example, by the time I was five years of age, I had suffered the whooping-cough, pleurisy, rheumatism, the swine-pox, and an extremely rare disorder known to medical science only as "the feathers." I was considered so sickly that, at one point, my father insisted on having my feet pierced and my body exposed to the buzzards, but my blessed mother threw her body over my cradle, refusing to allow her first-born to come to harm.
I was not the only one to have malady and disaster befall him. My younger sister Ida Lucretia had been as merry and gay as a spring zephyr. One day, when she was seven, she put her index finger too close to an operating spinning-wheel and received a small cut. Three hours later, Ida Lucretia succumbed to gangrene-fever.
Then there were the prairie wild-fires, cyclones and dust-storms to contend with. Not to mention the fearsome and wholly unpredictable passenger-pigeon attacks. Evil, ruthless brutes! It was a great day indeed when man finally decimated those winged demons!
Talking about the old days has dredged up bad memories. I wish to speak no more of it. Begone!