Skipping Rocks

Skipping rocks in appalachia
 I learned to skip rocks at an early age. There was a pond just below Pap and Granny's house, I learned to swim there too. 

I always thought of skipping rocks as a solitary thing. Granny forbid us kids to go to the pond without adult supervision so if I was down there skipping rocks I was doing it very quietly so as not to get caught by Granny. The pond was also very small so you had to be careful about hitting other people if you weren't alone.

The pond is long gone, filled in for many years now, yet I can remember the excitement of when it was first built by my uncle. The side where the creek flowed into the pond was the best place for finding good skipping rocks. There was a slightly raised mound over the water entrance. I could sit there forever looking through the small flat circular rocks that had been churned out of the creek when the pond was first built. 

Chitter is left handed and she had a terrible time trying to learn to skip rocks. The most skips she could ever get was about three. The Deer Hunter can make a rock skip clear out of sight. 

Did you know can buy rocks that are guaranteed to skip? Go here to see the guaranteed skipping rocks


p.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing on Saturday September 2 at 1:00 p.m. at the Andrews Brewing Company's Bluegrass Festival in Andrews NC and Sunday September 3 at 12:00 p.m. at the Heritage Festival in Blairsville GA.

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Counting Out Rhymes

Counting Rhymes

There are as many ways to decide who goes first in a game as there are games! We've already been over counting taters. Today I wanted to share some counting out rhymes with you.

See if you remember any of them. Most of the rhymes are said as children are standing in a circle or line-with one lead person pointing out each person as they say each word-eliminating players in the group until only one is left to be 'it' first. 

One two three,
Momma caught a flea,
Flea died, Momma cried,
Out goes Y O U!


Ennie meenie minie moe
catch a tiger by the toe
if he hollers let him go
ennie meenie minie moe 


My momma told me to
pick the very best one
and it was Y O U!


One, two star blue;
All out 'cept you.


My mama and your mama were hanging out clothes'
My mama hit your mama right on the nose.
Did it hurt? Yes.
Y E S spells yes and out you go.


Bee bee bumblebee,
Stung a man upon his knee;
Stung a pig upon his snout.
I declare if you ain't out. 


Acker backer
soda cracker
Acker backer
Acker backer
soda cracker
Out goes you! 


William Trembletoe
is a good fisherman.
He catches hens
puts them in a pen.
Some lay eggs
some none.
Wire briar limberlock;
three geese in a flock.
One flew east, one flew west
one flew over the cuckoos nest.
There I met my father.
He had rings, many pretty things.
Be gone you dirty dish dog!


Drawing straws was also used to decide who went first. Seems like when I was little we always accused whoever was holding the straws of cheating so we didn't use that method much.

Flipping a coin to decide something is still common today-but have you ever heard of flipping a rock? I read a book or a story or something-that detailed two boys flipping a rock to decide who went first. They wet one side of the rock-then called out either wet or dry as the rock was flipped in the air.  


*Source: The Frank C. Brown Collection Of North Carolina Folklore

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Old Granny Wiggins Is Dead

Old granny wiggins is dead game

I came across the game Old Granny Wiggins Is Dead in the Foxfire 6 Book. The name grabbed my attention, then after I read the entry I decided it was a game I would have played when I was a kid if I had only known about it-heck I might play it now if I can find someone silly enough to play it with me.

In the Foxfire 6 Book Pearl Bates described the game like this:

You get as many players as you want sitting or standing in a circle. We usually sat outside in the grass. The the lead person says, "Old Granny Wiggins is dead." And the next person says, "How'd she die?" And I say, "She died this way," and I do something like wave my left hand up and down, and keep on waving it, and that next person has to start waving his or her hand the same way. I repeat the same sequence with every person in the circle until they are all waving the same hand. When we've come all the way around the circle and they're all waving. I start a new round and add some motion this time like waving the other hand the same way. We go all the way around the circle until everyone is waving both hands, now. Then we used to add patting one foot and go all the way around, and then add patting the other foot, and then bobbing our heads. When everyone in the circle then is waving both hands and patting both feet and bobbing their heads, I give a signal and we all fall over dead on top of each other. We'd get a big laugh out of how we'd fall. We always did pretty much the same sequence with the hands and feet and head, but I guess you could add other signals like wagging a shoulder or something if you wanted to. 

Have you ever heard of the game Old Granny Wiggins Is Dead? If not would it have been a game you would have played? 


p.s. Go by the Edie's Cookies booth on Saturday at the Depot in Murphy (10-2) and mention the Blind Pig & the Acorn for a free cookie. BTW-Edie makes the best cookies EVER!! Go here for more info about Edie's Cookies.

*Sources Foxfire 6

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Playing Telephone

Old fashioned game telephone

Have you ever played the game telephone? It's a fun game to play-especially if you're in a group of giggling girls. I remember playing the game at summer camp and at slumber parties.

One person starts the game by whispering a phrase to the person next to them. That person passes the phrase along to the next person. Each person repeats the process until it reaches the last person in the group. The last person shares the phrase with the whole group-the fun happens when everyone sees how much the original phrase changed along the way. Now that I've explained it you can see how telephone is the perfect game for a bunch of giggling girls.

Paul used a version of telephone in his classroom-well sort of. When the class was studying propaganda-word of mouth-eye witnesses or something like that. Paul would pick one student and one fellow teacher to be in on his game.

Paul would reprimand the student who was in on the game for some imaginary misdeed in front of the class-the discussion between Paul and the student would get pretty heated and end with Paul leaving to go to the Principal's office with the student. 

The fellow teacher would then enter the classroom and ask the other students what happened. Paul said it never failed-the students would totally misrepresent what happened between Paul and the student. After the students had been questioned-Paul and the student returned to class and let everyone in on the game-then I suppose they talked about eye witness accounts or whatever it was he was trying to make a point about.

Talking about the telephone game makes me think of making prank calls as a kid-you know ones like "Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Well then let him out!" or "Is your frigerator running? The you better catch it!" or "Your cows in my garden. Oh you don't have a cow well I don't have a garden either!" I was too backward to actually say any of those things to someone on the phone-but I was always willing to sit in the corner and cut up when someone else did. 

I asked the girls if they ever played telephone-when they told me how some of their lunch table telephone games ended in elementary school I wished I hadn't even asked-I could have done without knowing all that!

Ever play telephone?  


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Roosters and Violets

This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig in April of 2010. Since it mentions a game I played as I child I thought I'd re-post the piece.

Wild violets 

In the gardening world folks either love wild violets with a fierce devotion or hate them and their spreading ways with a passion. Me-I love their little cheerful faces so much that I don't mind if they spread till they're a purple carpet for me to walk about on.

Carpet of violets

In fact-in Granny's yard that's exactly what they've done. Spread until it's like a real life violet vale.

When it comes to wild violets-there's a long list. Just to name a few: the birds foot, the common blue, the marsh blue, the longspur, and the list goes on. In my world-the color of the flower is enough identification for me. (if you're interested in knowing the name of each violet-go here for a great page of photos with names attached)

White and purple wild violets

Around my house the most common are deep or light purple.

Wild wood violet

As you look around in the woods, you can find dainty little white ones-some have deep red/pink veins that look smudged around the edges-some have brown veins that look like they were drawn on with a fine tipped marker. The tiniest ones that grow along the creek bank are totally white with no markings at all.

Yellow violet

Deeper in the woods you're likely to see this yellow beauty. With their longer stems and high leaves-these yellow violets always make me think of stately ladies watching over the area making sure all is in order.

Playing games with wild violets

No one left a comment about my fighting chickens with violets tease-so maybe no one ever played the game I did as a kid.

I can't remember who showed me how to play-maybe an older cousin-maybe an Uncle-maybe even my Mamaw. I do remember exactly where they showed me. We were on a little bank that ran near the bottom of Pap and Granny's driveway-the bank isn't there now-bulldozed away as driveways were needed for new houses.

Look at the photo above-does the violet make you think of a Rooster? See the furry comb like things in the center of the flower-see it's head?

Fighting chickens with wildflower violets

It only takes 2 people to fight chickens with violets-each person picks their rooster. Then you link/cross them over each other and pull.

Fighting roosters by using wildflowers

The toughest Rooster wins-when the looser looses his head in the fight. I'll leave you with 2 questions: 1. Are you a violet lover or hater? 2. Did you ever fight violet Roosters when you were a kid?


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Drop The Handkerchief

Drop the handkerchief

Drop the Handkerchief is a game I remember playing in the gym of the old Martins Creek School. The game is very similar to Tap Hand or Duck Duck Goose.

Everyone stands or sits in a large circle. One person is picked to be 'it' and given a handkerchief. The it person walks around the outside of the circle and picks someone to drop the handkerchief behind. The people in the circle are told not to turn around to see who's going to get picked-but of course the people on the sides can see whats happening on the other side-and their faces always alert you when the handkerchief has been dropped.

Once the handkerchief is dropped, the it person takes off running with the handkerchief person running in hot pursuit-both people try to get back to the empty spot in the circle before the other does. The game continues as such-with the person left out of the circle becoming the handkerchief dropper. 


Not many people carry around a handkerchief these days-of course the game could be played with something else just as well.

In today's 'green' world it looks like handkerchiefs would make a comeback-who knows maybe they are. I know at least one gentleman-one of Pap's best friends who still uses a handkerchief. There are probably other friends of Pap's who still use them-but I only know the one gentleman I'm thinking of does for sure. Pap sometimes carries one and sometimes doesn't.

While googling around about handkerchiefs I discovered a few interesting tidbits:

  • The Art of Manliness: this site tells all the reasons men should get back into the habit of carrying a handkerchief. 
  • Nordstrom: you can get 7 handkerchiefs for $12.50
  • Etsy: you can find a gazillion vintage handkerchiefs.

Did you ever play Drop the Handkerchief? Do you carry a handkerchief on a regular basis or know someone who does?


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Mumbly Peg

Mumbly peg

Mumbly peg (or mumble peg) is a game I've seen boys play during my lifetime-I've even seen grown men play it once or twice. I've never played it.

The game is played with various rules depending on whose doing the playing. The general gist of the game is: a circle is drawn in the dirt; the players take turns trying to flip an open pocket knife off their arm or balled up fist and make it land in the circle. 

I've seen it played where you start with the knife on one knuckle and as you flip the knife and get it to stick you move to the next knuckle. The Foxfire 6 Book shares a version of the game where you keep moving the knife up-starting on your fingertips then moving to your elbows, shoulders, and eventually your head! Trying to flip the knife so that it sticks in the circle drawn on the ground. The version of mumbly peg in the Foxfire 6 Book details the game as being a point system-for example if the open pocket knife sticks straight up on the large blade you get 10 points. If the knife sticks like the one in the photo above-you only get 5 points. 

Some versions of the game end with the winner getting to keep the knife.

Have you ever played or seen mumbly peg?


*Source Foxfire 6

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Freeze Tag

Freeze Tag

Did you ever play freeze tag? Ed Ammons sent me this short description of Freeze Tag:

How to Play Freeze Tag

This game is to be played outside. First we will choose who is to be “It” by counting taters or drawing straws, etc. Next we will establish “out of bounds.” Now we will all gather in the middle of the field. When “It” says GO, everyone scatters in different directions. It then proceeds to chase the participants with the purpose of tagging them. When you are tagged, It will say “Freeze” and you must stay in the spot where you are touched. If you step out of bounds, you are frozen. You must stay frozen until the game is over or until someone who it not frozen can come and touch you (thaw you out.) If someone steps out of bounds to unfreeze you, they are frozen too. They must be able to reach over the line to touch and unfreeze you. If IT can manage to tag and freeze all the players, It is the winner and the game is over. If another game is to be played, the first It gets to choose the next one. If It cannot freeze everyone then the games goes until it is too dark to play or everybody gets tired and quits.

Seems like I might have played freeze tag, but I'm not sure. I know we played lots of tag type games-usually the boys against the girls. I was a pretty fast runner when I was young (forget about it now!) so I usually fared well in tag/chase type games. 

If I got too tired from all the running games at school, I slipped alongside the old brick school building. We were told not to go on that side of the building because it bordered the highway. But we did.

All along the length of the foundation there was a small ledge-the perfecting resting place to get your breath or tell secrets when no one was looking. Just thinking about it makes me want to get in my car, drive over there, and sit on that little ledge again. But I can only sit on the ledge in my memories, since the school burnt down years ago.

Freeze tag memories for you?


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Blowing Bubbles

Blowing bubbles in appalachia

Blowing bubbles is a right of childhood. At some point-either at home or at school- children experience the joy of blowing bubbles.

According to the website, History of Bubble Blowers, bubble blowing as a child's activity goes back to ancient times. The same website states the first patent for a bubble blower was in the early 1900s. (click here to see all the bubble world records-who knew!)

Blowing bubbles

Bubble blowing solution is easy to make-and you can make bubble blowers out of almost anything-straws, pipe cleaners, wire, even empty thread spools (Granny taught me that one). 

Old fashioned way to blow bubbles

So many things we teach our children pull us quickly back into our own childhood days. On the day I first taught the girls to blow bubbles, they were so small they got more solution in their mouths than on their wands. As I blew bubbles at them I marveled at the swirly colors and the way the bubbles reflected the sky-the trees-and the 2 prettiest chubby little faces I had ever seen. I thought wow how did I forget how much fun this is and why did I wait so many years to blow bubbles again.

Are you a bubble blower?


p.s. Today Friday, April 26 is Pearl Cable's 93rd birthday-don't know who Pearl Cable is? Click here to meet her

Pearl Cable

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Playing Marbles

Playing Marbles

I've always loved marbles not necessary to play with, just to hold in my hand and look at. I remember when I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade playing marbles was popular with the older boys. I say older, but the school only went to 8th grade.

During that time my big brother Steve acquired a whole collection of marbles. He had the regular sized ones and the big marbles that he called dough rollers. Steve was picky with his stuff and didn't like Paul and me prowling through his things, but I took advantage of the times he wasn't home to look at his marble collection and marvel at the pretty swirly colors. 

Chatter and Chitter collected marbles for a while and even as an adult I was still mesmerized by their pretty colors. Once the girls decided they were too big for marbles they shot them all off the front porch with their sling shots. Now you can find marbles all over the place around our house. Whenever I find one  I put it in my pocket and take it back to the porch.

Jack In The Bush Marble Game

Ed Ammons recently shared a marble game called Jack in the Bush with me-he wrote up the game as if Chatter and Chitter were playing it:

Jack in the Bush

A game for two players, played with marbles or pennies. To start each player takes an equal number of pieces and hide them from the other’s view. The first player takes out a number of pieces and holding them in her cupped hands says:

Chitter “Jack in the Bush!”

Chatter “Cut him down!”

Chitter “How many licks?”

Chatter “Shake ‘em up!”

Chitter then shakes the pieces inside her hands so that Chatter can hear them. Chatter listens to the pieces and guesses how many there are. If she gets it right, she gets all the pieces. If she guesses wrong she must give Chitter the difference between what she guesses and the actual count. If she guesses 5 and there are 8 then she must give up 3 pieces. Then Chatter takes her turn”

Chatter “Jack in the Bush!”

Chitter “Cut him down!”

Chatter “How many licks?”

Chitter  “Shake ‘em up!”

This goes on, back and forth, until one player has all the pieces and the other has “lost her marbles.”


You can go here to find out how to play marbles a whole bunch of different ways. 

Did you ever play marbles or collect them?


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