Today I was listening to the radio (country station, of course) and I heard an old Alabama song called “Mountain Music”. One of the lines in the song goes like this…
Climb a long tall hick’ry. Bend it over, skinnin’ cats.
That got me wondering, “how many people know what that line means?” Probably not very many people under the age of 50 have ever skinned a cat. And that got me thinking about all of the games boys and girls played when I was a kid. Games like Freeze Tag, Red Light – Green Light, Mother May I, Simon Says, Red Rover, Hide and Go Seek, Roll the Bat, Dodge Ball, Shooting Marbles, Jacks, Hop Scotch, Jump Rope, Musical Chairs, Crack the Whip. The list goes on! Do kids in this day and age even know how to play and interact with other kids without some kind of electronic device?
Well, I’ve skinned a few cats in my childhood. To skin a cat, you go out into the woods (usually exploring) and you find a tall, slender hickory tree. It has to be a skinny sapling for this to work, but you shinny (for all you folks north of the Mason-Dixon that means “climb”) up the trunk of that tree as high as you can go. If you make it to the top, you might have to sway back and forth to get the tree to bend, but when it does bend, you hang on tight and ride it safely (usually) all the way to the ground. That is called Skinnin’ the Cat.
Remember any of these phrases from your childhood?
Tag, you’re it!
Unh-unh, I’m on base.
One, two, three, get off my father’s apple tree!
Suzy, take three baby steps.
Mother, may I?
Yes, you may.
Simon says, take three giant leaps.
Red rover, red rover, send Mikey right over.
Red Light! Green Light!
Now, put up your smart phone and turn off your computer. I’ll count to ten and you go hide.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Ready or not, here I come!
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. ” ~George Bernard Shaw