Thursday, March 11, 2010

What happened to in like a lamb?


We have experienced neither the lamb nor the lion here in Iowa this March. Instead, we've had this mix of a little bit of snow, a little bit of fog and tonight, as I write this, a lot of rain and lightning and thunder.

I remember when I was a little girl, I used to love to lay in bed in my room on the second floor of our home and listen to the rain as it peppered the roof and the windows. I still like to lay in bed and listen to the rain but don't often get that chance any more. I've always found wonder in the majestic power of thunder rolling across the sky or lightning streaking down in bolts. And the smell of a spring rain comes in second only to a fresh cut field of hay. Wonderful.

Growing up in rural Iowa meant there wasn't always a lot to do when a spring or summer thunderstorm took out the electricity so we would make due with board games and card games. Monopoly, of course, was a standby and a favorite and we didn't need a little thing like a power outage to coax us into a game.

Yahtzee and Parcheesi and Scrabble were also games we'd dust off and play. Did anyone play Cootie when they were a kid? I still play it with the grandkids and they have just as much fun rolling the dice as I did when i was their age. And remember pick up sticks and Jacks??

As for card games, among our favorites were Rook, Canasta, Pinochle, Gin, Pepper and two or three different versions of solitaire. These days I play most of my solitaire on the computer but I often miss the smell of a well used deck of card and the feel of them in my hands.


Friday nights were popcorn nights. None of this micro wave stuff back then. Mom had a 'popcorn' pan and it was a big event to gather around the gas stove and wait for the oil to get hot. Mom would toss in a couple of test kernels and we'd squeal like crazy when they popped then yelling for Mom to pour in the rest of the unpopped kernels. And let's not forget the tons of melted butter she poured all over it. I can almost smell it ...

When the grand kids come to stay, we always make a point of having a popcorn and movie night. And we don't need a power outage to initiate a card game - Go Fish is one of their favorites and they're getting into checkers ... and of course Cootie.

What kind of 'rainy day activities do you remember from your childhood? Baring that, what kind of average, every day traditions do you remember from when you were a kid? What where your favorite games? Favorite snacks? Favorite things to do when you were forced inside on a rainy day, with the electricity off and nothing but each other to provide entertainment? I'll bet if you think about it, you'll remember some things you hadn't thought about for a while and the thoughts will make you smile.

And just for fun, here's a link you and your family might enjoy on a rainy day - it's the Decorah Bald Eagle Cam that was put in place by the Luther College Biology program in Decorah, Iowa. http://www.luther.edu/eaglecam/stream/
The camera monitors a Bald Eagle nest 24/7/365. Currently, the pair of eagles are sitting on at least 2 eggs although there may be three by now. The first egg was laid 2-25 and a hatch is expected any time after 4-4. I check in on them 3 or 4 times a day. Sometimes you can catch both mom and dad in the nest. Sometimes only one or the other is settled over the eggs. It's a wonderful opportunity to see this magnificent bird up close and personal. Viewers all over the world are watching this very popular pair as they await the arrival of the baby eaglets. Have fun.

"Cindy Gerard's stories are ...wildly passionate ... richly textured ...from page one (they draw you) into the heart and soul of the warrior life." W Dean Garner Former, US Army Airborne Ranger

22 comments:

Betina Krahn said...

Cindy-- we played Canasta as kits. And Hearts. And occasionally "War." We also played paper dolls and built blanket tents on rainy days.
And if we started to squabble, there was the dreaded peacemaker imposed by Mother. . . the threat of having to clean out the closets/drawers/cabinets. Great rainy afternoon fun!

Cindy Gerard said...

Oh - HEARTS! Yes. That remains one of my favs.
And was there anything more exciting than a NEW box of crayons and a paper doll book? I used to love to create gowns ... I remember a lot of red and pink and purple :o)

Michele Hauf said...

RAiny days were awesome because mom would get out all the extra blankets and we'd be allowed to shove the furniture around in the basement, and cover them with the blankets and make forts. THen we probably played Operation, Monopoly, or Chutes and Ladders inside the fort while we were listening to the Hokey Pokey on the ole record machine.

Fun stuff!

lois greiman said...

Thanks for the great blog, Cindy. Always fun to remember. In ND rain was quite scarce and a very precious commodity for farmers. After it rained we would all link arms and walk down to watch the ducks swim in the swelling stream.

As for inside stuff, I remember a lot of times with my sister reading out loud to me. Ahhhhh.

Cindy Gerard said...

Michele - loved Operation ... but wait - 'the ole record machine'? You? Aren't you a little young for that??

And Lois - we used to walk in the rain puddles all the time! Sounds ghastly now but I always thought those little oil slicks in the puddles were beautiful!! Ah, through the eyes of a child

Michele Hauf said...

Oh, please, Cindy. I used to have a huge collection of 45s. Remember those curved wire stands for holding records? I still have a record player and records! All my old Disney soundtracks.

Cindy Gerard said...

For real?? LOL. Well, I, too, miss vinyl - oh the frustration of a needle stuck on a scratched record.

Debra Webb said...

Oh my gosh! Your post really brought back memories! Sunday nights watching Bonanza and whatever television movie was coming on! And the popcorn, Lord yes. My younger brother and I were avid Monopoly and Operation fans! Whenever our cousin from Birmingham would visit for the weekend we would start a monopoly game and make that one game last all weekend!

Anonymous said...

Cindy,
Every Saturday during the winter months, Mom would turn on the "oldies" station and we would listen to the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper and get into a very competitive game of either double nine dominoes or Monopoly. Mom and Dad would remember when they were dating and tell stories on each other that would keep Kim and I rolling. Still to this day when we are all together it is inevitable that a game of double nine dominoes is in the plans. Those are some of my favorite memories. As for rainy days... somehow I was usually at Oma and Opa's house in Amana. And, much to Nanny Oma's dismay, we would find every blanket sheet, chair and folding table and make a giant tent in the middle of the basement...and "camp out". My Uncle and I still wish we could go back to those simpler times when life doesn't seem as much fun.
Thanks for the walk down memory lane....and your right about the smell of spring rain....I even opened the sliding door last night and took several deep breaths in....Cindy

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Deb
And jigsaw puzzles. We ALWAYS had a card table set up and had a jigsaw puzzle going.

Cindy Gerard said...

Cindy - Tents out of blankets and quilts seems to be a recurring theme here too. We did the same thing. I can still remember that cozy feeling of being huddled up in that semi dark tent and feeling like you had traveled a world away from home ... all from the comfort of the living room :o)

oklanannie said...

What fun remembering all these wonderful moments growing up! My mom had one of those stove top popcorn poppers that you turned the handle on the lid and it kept the corn moving so it didn't burn. I loved getting to do that! My poppy (grandfather) introduced me to Grapette soda and my sister and I were allowed one a week and it was always on Friday nights with our popcorn.

Rainy days always brought out the card table and a jigsaw puzzle or coloring books. If dad was home, it was Monopoly. He loved playing that game with us.

And rainy days with mom included baking cookies or some sweet treat. We always loved doing cupcakes too! Whatever we made included a big mess for us to clean up.

Thanks for the "blast from the past!"

Helen Brenna said...

Hey! We still have our a turntable downstairs. And all our old records! My kids and their friends love to put on old rock albums.

Cards, reading, games. When we were really little, we'd make tents out of old sheets. Such an innocent time in life. So fun to have grandkids to relive it all!

It was just pouring cats and dogs here about a half an hour ago - must be the same storm passing through MN, Cindy.

Christie Ridgway said...

My grandmother had a special recipe for popcorn. I think she made it in her iron skillet? It always was the best.

I grew up in northern California, so more rain than here in SoCal, and we loved to get out into it. Rainboots and umbrellas and then we'd splash around in the gutters. That was fun!

Ah, War, Monopoly, Hearts. Blanket tents. Good stuff. I'll have to ask my kids about their storm stories. They tell one that makes my hair stand on end about being out on their bikes and lightning...

Cindy Gerard said...

Oklaannie - Grapette Soda? Wow. I think I missed that one :o) Did luv me some Nesbit orange crush though :o)

Helen - that's so cool that your kids like to get out the turntable!!

Christie - I have a recipe for caramel popcorn that's made with butter and sorghum that is absolutely to DIE for. It's really old too, from one of my grade school girl friend's mom's mother!
Oh man... just thinking about it has me itching to head for the grocery store and see if I can find some sorghum. yum. yum.

KylieBrant said...

Like Betina, we also played cards. Hearts, War, Crazy Eights and Slapjack. We made blanket tents over the table or over the backs of chairs. Monopoly was also a favorite, although I had a brother who flung the board when he was losing, LOL.

I've always been a reader, though, and rainy days were perfect reading days!

Cindy Gerard said...

Kylie I had a teeny tiny room with a single bed and I used to make a tent over the bed and lie in there and read. it was my own personal cushy cave and I loved the feeling of being cocooned all by myself with a great book. back then it think it was the Black Beauty books that I was in love with.

Betina Krahn said...

Thanks, Cindy for this little walk down rainy Memory Lane!

Interesting how everybody LOVED those blanket tents and feeling all cocooned and safe. My sons were major tent makers and now my grands love making blanket tents, too. Every couch throw, pillow, blanket, and comforter they can get their hands on goes into their creations. I love watching all that. And I can't wait-- or maybe I can-- until they're old enough for cards and dominoes and the like!

And popcorn-- when did that become a comfort food? The PoolBoy makes fabulous popcorn-- we have popcorn nights when a special movie is coming on and we skip dinner and have mucho popcorn. Yummmm.

Betina Krahn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy Gerard said...

agreed, Betina. Just something about popcorn that is a universal draw. maybe it's the communal nature of the food. I mean, how many foods are there that everyone can stick their hand in the same bowl and eat from it :o)

Betina Krahn said...

Oooooh, excellent point, Cindy!

catslady said...

Oh I enjoyed all the games everyone mentioned (except don't know pepper). I use to make special lunches with a little of this and that for my older sister so she would play with me lol. Canasta was a favorite - I now play something called sock and shoe which is similar. And tripoly - we made our own board! And tiddly-winks, sorry ad so many more!!! And what were those fizzy tablets you put in water?