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Dad’s Games

Dad’s Games

Dad constantly made something out of nothing. He loved anything to do with flying—even kites. Each March he caught the bug to build new ones. Since our front yard was about 18 acres, it was a perfect place to fly them.

He’d carefully choose thin sticks, lashed them together into a cross and notched all the ends. He’d use thin string to fit into the notches and tie it together at the bottom end.

We glued pieces of newspaper together for the body. When the glue dried we laid the kite on the paper and carefully cut the paper a little larger than the string. The next step was to glue the paper edge over the string. Waiting was the hardest part.

When the glue finally dried, we attached long strips of old sheets to the bottom for a tail. Dad tied a ball of heavy string to the top three corners of our kite. At the first hint of wind we were in business.

Now, we buy flimsy kites at the Dollar Store that last just about long enough to get them home. I always thought half of the fun was time spent with Dad in the construction phase.

When things got a little dull, Dad took a circle of string long enough to wind once around each hand and pull the string tight. With his middle fingers he caught the string looped in his palm with the opposite hand, then shoved his index finger and thumb down through the string to make what he called a cat’s cradle. This is a similar idea.

He had a way to take several sheets of newspaper, lay the sheets atop one another and roll the outside edges to the middle in a tight roll. He notched the rolls every few inches up the length of the paper. Then he licked his thumb and forefinger and pulled the top of each roll to make a Jacob’s ladder. The YOUTube video gives you an idea. This ladder is similar but not exactly the same.

What games do you remember playing as a child?

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