Little Johnny Wants to Play
When we were stuck inside the house on rainy days, I remember standing, looking out the window. I was whining, complaining that we couldn't go out to play. That's when Mother taught us the song: "Rain, Rain, Go Away. Little Johnny Wants to Play." It was novel for a few minutes. But we soon discovered that singing the song didn't make the rain stop.
But Mother was a woman of many ideas. She brought out her thimble and for a while we played, "Hide the Thimble." After that was, "I Spy." We hid a button: beside the pitcher on the table, hung it on a nail in the wall, or stood it by a vase on a shelf.
On better days, in the evening, after chores we played other games: hiding seek: sheep my pen; kick the can; snd drop the handkerchief.
I always thought the "Halloween Party" was October of our first year in Grandpa's house. But now that I consider all that had happened: the Sweet Corn harvest that September 18, 1941; Pallie's birth at 3am in the morning of Sept. 19; maybe other complications; I don't know, maybe the next year. What I do remember was how wonderfully Mother decorated the house and all the young people of the neighborhood who came for the fun and the games......and their chase after the ghost.
Mother let me stay up. I suppose Donnie and Pallie, regardless which year, were already sleeping soundly in bed. The party was in the long "T" room. Because of the time of year, the heat stove was up. Mother (and probably Daddy helped) had hung a tight wire from one end of the room to the other. It was 6 or 7 feet above the floor. She had hung balloons by foot long strings from the wire. The guests were paired to stand by a balloon and between the two, they were to burst them. The guy on one side, held the balloon under his chin. The girl on the other side might need to stand on a brick or two and hold the other side of the balloon under her chin. They squeezed and tried with might and main to brake their balloon. The first to succeed won a prize.
There was a tub filled with water and apples for dunking. There were treats and every body had a frolicking, roaring good time. And then at some lull in the conversation, one of the guys asked, "Are there any ghost in these old buildings?" Daddy and Lawton's eyes met across the room. I'm not sure of the sequence, but Daddy went through the bed room and got a sheet. Lawton led the crowd of young people out the south door from the living room. He led them east, across the back yard. In the light of the rising moon, the old stone house where Grandma and Grandpa had first lived, lent itself to the developing drama of the evening.
I remember holding Mother's hand as that mob of youth milled about, at the entrance of the Old White Stone building. It was just one room about 12 feet wide and maybe 18 feet long. The wooden roof extended about 8 feet on each side and in the front. They were sure they had seen the ghost inside. One of the guys found an ax and was waving it around. Some how Lawton was able to take control and divert their attention to the other stone house nearer our own house.
Once again a roar went up! Someone had spotted the ghost in that other stone room. It went out the small back window and crossed the yard to the road. Some of the swift guys were on the trail like hounds on a fox. Up the road they went like a strong south wind. The gang was gaining on the ghost. But at Albert and Itha Miller's mail box, the ghost crossed the ditch, jumped a barbed four wire fence and disappeared into the mesquit tree pasture. The crowd of runners came panting back with all kinds of mysterious questions and tails to spin for years to come.