Tim Horan

“What did we do without cell phones?” is one of those questions that pop up from time to time.

These days kids start asking Santa Claus for a cell phone for Christmas when they are barely old enough to talk.

And they usually get them.

I have to admit I don’t know what games the kids are playing but their noses are usually buried. I think last week my grandson Landon was watching Youtube videos.

The answer to that first question above? “We played outdoors.”

Growing up on a hobby farm south of Abilene, we didn’t have many toys but we still entertained ourselves, usually outdoors.

Recently a golfing buddy mentioned he used to hit rocks with a baseball bat as a kid.

We didn’t do that! Why would we ruin the one baseball bat we had?

We used boards.

The perfect board was split so that it had a handle yet a big flat surface.

We would hit rocks for hours.

When was the last time one of your kids or grandkids made a mud pie?

We were getting facial mud masks without even realizing what a luxury it was. And for free!

While the toy selection was limited, we did have plastic Army men. We would set them up and then shoot them with rubber bands, when we could find them.

There was a game where we rolled metal rings, probably 9 to 10 inches in diameter that I think came from old wagon wheels. Using boards shaped like a ‘T’, the object was to roll the rings down the road. There wasn’t near as much traffic on our country road in those days.

We did have a basketball hoop on the barn that had a dirt court under it. We played “horse” and Dad would shoot two-handed from his chest.

We didn’t win.

Of course we played football.

Dad would throw us passes while wearing his rubber farm boots and taking a break from chores.

Snowball fights were a good way to pass a winter day. We also played some type of a “Duck, Duck, Goose” game in the snow.

Naturally as we got older, the activities got more exciting.

Riding our bikes through Brown’s Park was always fun especially after the road went from gravel to asphalt. I had a banana seat bike with high handle bars. Of course it wasn’t bought new. Mr. Nemechek that lived on South Buckeye converted my old bike, adding the seat and handle bars. He used soldering irons heated with burning coal.

I think I have mentioned the hide-and-seek game when I was still in elementary school. The idea was to climb up on the ladder on the back of the garage, jump from the garage to the roof of the house, climb over the peak, open a window and hide in a bedroom.

Great idea. I must have done that 50 times.

Only one time on the roof of the garage I slipped and fell head first. My left arm hit the last rung of the ladder, breaking both what I now know as the ulna and radius bones.

When the doctor set the break, it was the worst pain I had ever experienced, at least at the time.

We had a row of cedar trees. Best I can tell it was some type of Juniperus Virginia that produced round berries about the size of a dime. Only these berries had little spikes.

We filled buckets full of those little spiked berries and then threw them at each other. They might have stung a bit but not much.

Then there was the time the cousins from Pennsylvania came to visit and we used hedge balls for that game. Metal lids to garbage cans served as shields.

Now, those hedge ball grenades hurt.

I wonder if the grandchildren will be able to remember which YouTube video was their favorite when they get to be my age.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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