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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, July 17, 2005

ring tennis

Back to yesteryear Hickman Road. My next older sister and I used to play games in the backyard with most any material we could find. One such that caused us much enjoyment was played using spare boards to form a seesaw affair except we would jump on this contraption - we just called it jumping jacks.

My sister, being a little older and outweighing me, would jump on her end and send me high into the air. Gravity being what it is, I always came back down and tried to land on my end of the board. If I succeeded, she would bounce up as well, but not nearly so high. The hilarity began when one of us would miss our end of the board, or better yet, land with one foot on the board and the other on the ground. The next jump from the other side would send this foot higher than it was meant to go, flipping the foot owner backwards. Seldom ever any injuries, but we both usually wound up on the ground, because we were laughing so hard . . . .I guess you had to be there.

Somewhere along in that space of time we came into possession of a ring used to play a game called ring tennis, I had not seen one before, nor have I seen one since. It was about as big around as a normal sized Frisbee and looked like a small white tire or a very large skinny doughnut.

We threw and caught it much like a Frisbee, but we soon tired of that because of a lack of challenge. We then modified our game by adding a half broomstick and made it a rule that the ring could only be thrown or caught therewith. The stick thrown ring had a much greater velocity and catching it was also somewhat of a developed skill. We were the best stick ring tennis players ever since we never knew anyone else who played the game and it never caught on nationally, or statewide, or even city wide - just our back yard wide.

There may have been some boredom available back then, but I really don't remember taking ownership of any. Without the availability of TV, we were always finding interesting things to do - climbing trees, building forts, letting a caterpillar crawl up your arm just to feel the tickle or even following an ant trail to see where it went.

We didn't have any idea that we were supposed to grow up getting into trouble and cause our parents to have headaches – or heartaches. In fact, if we made my father uncomfortable, he felt that it was his duty to at least make us the same - except different. The discomfort he applied to our sitter downers lasted for a while, made us mentally recount our many sins and put a determination in our mind not to have a repeat performance.


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