Jan, over at RevGals, writes:
"In less than three weeks, my family, including children and their partners, will be gathering in Seattle, WA for 12 days...With nine adults (from almost 20 years old and up), I am thinking that we need to have some activities pre-planned--like GAMES! (Any ideas will be appreciated.) So this Friday Five is about games, so play on ahead..."
1. Childhood games?
A childhood friend recently befriended me on Facebook and shared a memory of playing "Wonder Woman" with me and a couple of other friends in our back yard. Poor guy-- I think we spent most of our time chasing each other and tying him up with the "lasso of truth."
In general, my childhood games were messy and elaborate and based on raids of kitchen drawers and my mother's fabric cabinet. There was much tent-making...also an alchemy lab under the lilac and snowball bushes, where we invented countless experimental potions and fermented-blossom "perfumes" that reeked to high heaven.
2. Favorite and/or most hated board games?
Hands-down favourite: "The Farming Game," which I used to play ad nauseum with my best friend as we were growing up. According to the box, the game was "invented on the seat of a tractor" by farmers in Eastern Washington State, and since my grandparents were Western Washington dairy farmers, I felt it was somehow a matter of loyalty to enjoy the game...considering how my life turned out, I guess I took it a bit too seriously! I loved going around the agricultural year on the board, rolling the dice for harvest yields, saving up for cattle and fruit tree tokens, and drawing the cards called "Farmer's Fate." The best one involved a true-to-life explosion of Mount Saint Helens, with all players rolling dice to see if their farm had escaped the cloud of ash. I bought a used copy--one of only three items I've ever bought on EBay--and tried to get The Piper & The Piper's Son to play it with me. Sadly, they were not as impressed...but I STILL love it!
3. Card games?
Best all-ages card game: MilleBornes, a racing game in which cards can be dealt to increase mileage or cause hazards. With a little explaining, it can be played with pre-readers, as the cards contain well-drawn visual clues.
In college, I loved playing the game, "BS," because none of my peers would believe that a pre-ministry student who still wore home-made dresses could bluff everybody under the table. I also liked "War," "SlapJack," and "Egyptian Rat Screw." Card games bring out a devilishly competitive streak in me that I find slightly disturbing, but fun.
4. Travel/car games?
Car trips were about equally divided between sibling squabbles and great game-playing in my family. There were I-spy games, like watching road signs to find all of the letters of the alphabet. We played "20 questions" and "Hink-Pink," in which a person thinks of a rhyming term and then gives out a non-rhyming definition, then has everyone guess the rhyme. (ex: "an insect outlaw" is a "mosquito bandito.")
5. Adult pastimes that are not video games?
We own neither a television nor a game console, as we recognize our own potential for time-wasting and addiction! To be honest, the work of farming, our off-farm jobs, and our community responsibilities keep The Piper and I too busy to indulge in much recreation of any kind. Our big outlet is music. The Piper plays not only the Great Highland Pipes, but also Lowland Smallpipes and the fiddle. She also knows lyrics to the most amazing array of songs, from shape-note hymns to bawdy English Music Hall bits and hard-luck ballads. We have friends that can play other instruments and remember or invent even more verses for our favourite songs.
My idea of heaven is a ceilidh: an evening of organic shared entertainment from singers, story-tellers, musicians, jokesters, and poets, with a bit of dancing and lots of good home-made food added in!
Bonus: Any ideas for family vacations or gatherings?
Share stories! Go around the circle and have everyone share "most embarrassing moments" or "a time when I felt really proud" or "the strangest thing I ever saw" or "the hardest thing I ever did" or "the outfit I wore that upset my elders most" or other good conversation-starters. It's good to do this while people have something to do with their hands: shucking corn, building sandcastles, scrapbooking, etc. so nobody feels too self-conscious.
Planning ahead, I'd encourage everyone to bring digital cameras and some old family photographs or albums. Pass them around and share the stories behind the images. Collaborate to identify places and people and dates, then write all this valuable information down. Asking for favourite recipes and family traditions is also a good idea-- get craftier members of the family to put these all into a book.
Preserve and expand your collective memory!
(Check back later--I'll look through the photo CDs my family had made, and post some great old family images from various generational gatherings!)