Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Look Up

It’s winter here in our corner of Canada.
 This means cold.
 And snow.
 Fortunately, I like snow.
 Though cold and I regard each other with suspicion bordering on outright dislike.
 And now, I’m thinking about summer.
 Because that’s how I roll . . .
 When I was growing up in the Deep South . . . of Alberta, the kids of our neighbourhood played together.
There were running games.
 Hiding games.
 Games of skill.
 Games of brute force.
 Games of pretend and make-belief.
 And not one of them electronic.
 In fact, the only thing that interrupted our play was the setting sun.
 Or our parents calling us in to supper.
 One of our neighbourhood favourites was a game we affectionately called, ‘Anti-I-Over’.
 Okay, I don’t know where that name came from.
 And maybe you played a similar game but by a different name.
 But we loved it.
 I will describe . . .
 The game consisted of at least two players. 
And a ball. Preferably a softball or something softball-sized.
 Each player took up a position on either side of the house.
 You heard right.
We were standing on either side of the house.
 Where visibility was . . . limited.
 Then the person with the ball would shout, “Anti-I –Over!” and throw the ball.
 In an arc.
 OVER the house.
 The person on the other side would brace themselves, waiting for their first glimpse of the incoming ball.
Then run and try to catch it.
 It took speed.
 And lightning reflexes.
 And a good arm.
 Because it took a bit of oomph to get said ball over the house.
 Oddly enough, no windows were ever broken in the playing of this game.
 Although no few balls ended up in the rain gutter and had to be fished out by someone with authority.
 And ladder skills.
 This summer, I introduced my grandkids to this game.
 We started simply.
 One on either side of the pirate ship. (The one in our back yard. And yes, we have a pirate ship in our back yard. Don’t ask…)
 One would yell, “Anti-I-Over!” and the other would brace for the retrieval.
 They loved it instantly.
 And played it for hours.
 Happy sigh. My work here is done.
 Nearly.

18 comments:

  1. YES!! Except we called it Andy-Over ... which is suspiciously like Anti-I-Over, isn't it? (Reminds me of another splendid old game where a line of kids repeats a phrase to each other down the line and what comes out the other end is not what went in the first person's ear ...) I loved Andy-Over and played it with my brother, but not as often as I liked because he was older and more accurate and - I suspect - bored. Let's just say I spent a lot of time throwing/retrieving/throwing/retrieving before the ball went over the peak :)

    Now, I like to follow directions as much as the next non-assertive person, but I just have to ask about the pirate ship ... sounds like a post or more to me :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andy Over! My Husby wants to know where that name came from. And was Andy pleased with it or not! :) Heehee! Sounds like it must have come from the same root. I will attach a link to the pirate ship blog post just for you!

      Delete
  2. Reminds me of teaching two grand daughters "cat's cradle." They passed it along, of course, and even grandsons show off their nimble cat cradle finger work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cat's Cradle! I love that game! Hmm . . . something else to teach the grands!

      Delete
  3. Nope.....hadn't heard of that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grab a ball, Delores, and let's head outside! We're going to have some fun!

      Delete
  4. I think that Karen, who lived next door, got a black eye once. But as soon as the initial shock (read painful experience?) was over, she was back playing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen! That was her name! I could remember Annette and Lori but not the middle girl! Wasn't she the one who was always getting injured?

      Delete
  5. Our farmhouse was 2 stories high, we were lousy at throwing balls, so we threw it over the smoke house. That worked much better for me, who usually had to fetch the ball.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. My brothers would definitely have seen your house as a challenge. Me. I would have been fetching. Sigh.

      Delete
  6. Awe Diane, this reminds me of when I was growing up and we played endless games outside for hours on end. We entertained ourselves... my youngest really missed out on that... too sad...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do think a lot of this newer generation missed out on the outdoor play. It really is too bad!

      Delete
  7. You have a pirate ship in your backyard????
    ".................." that's me, lost for words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And pirates! Of course we call them pie-rats . . .

      Delete
  8. also I have never played thta game. I don't believe we ever threw things over the house. We were usually on the roof, my brother and I, aiming peashooters at passersby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peashooters!!! Oh, you're our kind of people!

      Delete
  9. Loved that game then and still do!
    Love,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's you and Jerry I remember playing it . . .

      Delete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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