Pooh Sticks, Games, and Granny
We call my grandmother Granny. Her name is Dessie but we didn’t know that when we were kids. As far as we were concerned she was the only Granny in the whole wide world. Of course we had a Mammaw(my great grandmother), and a Nana(my other grandmother) but there was only one Granny. In the same way there was only one Mammaw, and one Nana. We visited Granny and Papaw almost every Sunday. We would play games in the lawn or explore their property. We always had a good time.
We played tackle football a lot. If you knew me as a kid you’d know I was a bit sensitive. I’m not the football type, I tried but it’s not me. My brothers on the other hand were tough as nails. So I, being the oldest and wisest of the 3, would choose the position least likely to be tackled. I would be the quarterback for both teams. It was only fair and I got to watch my 2 younger brothers pound on each other until someone got mad. There was almost a routine to it. They would tackle each other progressively harder until one finally said that’s enough. Then, after a scuffle and some yelling, we would have to end our little game.
We would throw rocks at glass bottles in the pond or better yet we would throw rocks at bees nests. We called it rocking bees nests as if it were a sport. “Wanna go rock some bees nests?” Sounds like fun huh? The rules are simple, you throw rocks at the nest, stir them up as much as you can, and don’t get stung. It’s really fun, unless you were the one who get stung. It was a 1 and 3 chance with my brothers. I liked my odds.
Often our cousins would come over and we would play hide and seek or something when the night had fallen. Granny had a bug zapper. Bzzzzp. It was a giant lantern of death that sparked the imagination. We would run around in the lawn until Bzzzp! and then we would fall down. “Dead.” Just like the mosquito. A little morbid I know but it was fun. There was really no point, no way to win, just the joy of living out our imagination.
Granny loved to take walks and often times she would stroll up Deep Creek. It was a glorious day when we got to go walk with her. We would walk up and look at Indian Creek falls, swim a little, and then walk to the second bridge. That is where the real magic happened. It was time for Pooh Sticks. Each of us would find a stick which was easily distinguishable from the others and gather on the upstream side of the bridge. Holding our sticks over the water we would count to 3, release the sticks, and dash to the other side. Who would win? We would watch the water carefully with so much anticipation as the sticks raced in the current under the bridge. “There’s my stick!!!” One would blurt out with the thrill of victory. “And mine!!!” Said another clinching second place. Once every stick was accounted for the game would begin again.
What fond memories. I walked the short little loop up deep creek the other day. When I got to the second bridge. I smiled, found a stick, and dropped it in. I’m imagining the joy filling my Granny’s heart as she watched us play the game. So amused by something so simple. So captivated by our imagination. I walk to the other side and wait for my stick to appear. “There’s my stick!!!” I smile victoriously, so much excitement in such a simple thing.
Featured Image : The original Pooh stick scene illustrated perfectly by E. H. Shepherd from the classic The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne.