Scenes from Silver Creek: Games
Summertime in Silver Creek meant playing until the early evening; taking advantage of the late sunlight to play one more round of freeze tag or hide-and-seek. The telephone pole in front of the Carter’s house was always home base, no matter what the game, and anything past the Rubison’s house was out of bounds.
We actually had an ice cream truck that patrolled the neighborhood and we would happily break for fudgesicles or root beer popsicles. Occasionally Mrs. Murchison would call us all down to her house and she’d slice open a homegrown watermelon. She’d put it in a cooler in the afternoon, covered with ice. By the evening it was teeth-tingly cold and full of juice that ran in pink rivers down our chins.
Sometimes we’d sit on her porch and spit seeds onto a newspaper and she’d tell us stories about her travels around the world. Other days we’d gather at someone’s house, the windows and doors wide open, and we’d lie on our stomachs in front of the TV and watch Wild Wild West or the Wonderful World of Disney.
On really hot days we’d run through the sprinklers, shrieking as the cold water hit our pale, overheated skin, and all the kids and local dogs would turn up dripping wet at some poor mother’s house, begging for towels and juice.
Frequently we would make up games. Or, rather, I would. I was usually the instigator in the making up games game. The others were more the follow the rules type. But I liked coming up with my own fun. I think my favorite invented game was “Movie Star Tag.” If you were “it” you had to tag someone. They had 10 seconds to scream out the name of a favorite movie star. If they did, you were still “it.” If they didn’t, they became “it.” I loved that game but often got in trouble because I was the only one of the group who watched old movies. They’d tag me and I’d call out “Clark Gable” and there would be howls of protests that he wasn’t a famous movie star because they’d never heard of him.
We also had a mass war once, worthy of Tolstoy. It was Barbie vs. the world. All the girls got their Barbies and Kens and Midges and Barbie campers and such and would hold the hedge between the Carter’s house and the Hilliard’s place. All the boys, and I, mustered our G.I. Joes and little green army men and our armored division of Tonka trucks and attacked at the weak point, by the zinnias.
It was epic. Shannon Carey cried when her favorite Barbie became a casualty of war, having its head bit off by the McConnel’s dog, Barney. Our side took Valerie Bloch’s little brother, Terence, hostage. We were going to ransom him for brownies but gave him back when he told us he could throw up on demand and threatened to prove it on us. Mikey McConnel’s Tonka dump truck did some serious renovation to a Malibu Barbie beach house and I’m pretty sure a rogue Delta Force G.I. Joe molested someone’s Barbie.
We’d play until the sun went down or until someone’s mother yelled from the front porch to come home. The day of the great war it was a draw, with the official armistice declared by my mother who informed all of us it was past time we all went home and had a bath.