For three wonderful years, we lived in a perfect house.
Oh, don't get me wrong, all of our homes have been wonderful.
And very comfortable.
But this particular house was all of those things.
And a little bit more.
Because it had a stairway that was perfect for playing 'Troll Under the Bridge'.
It's a real game.
You can look it up. It will be found somewhere under 'Tolley: Favourite Games'.
Okay, my Husby made it up.
But it was still fun.
The stairway in our house consisted of a short upper set of six thickly-carpeted steps.
Ending at a wide, also-carpeted landing.
Then a 180 degree turn before descending the last six steps to the basement.
A beautiful hunting/trapping/escaping set up.
Which was very well used.
My Husby would pretend he was a troll and lay on the stairs.
His head just poking above the top stair.
All of his little Billy Goats Gruff could try to run past him along the upper hallway.
Screaming and giggling wildly.
One by one, he would nab them and demand to know who they were.
One by one they would answer, “I'm a Billy Goat Gruff!”
Whereupon (good word) he would shout, “No Billy Goats on my bridge!” and set them behind him on the landing/prison.
Then, as he hunted for more victims, the entrapped would escape back up the stairs, still screaming and giggling.
And join once more with their fellow little goats in teasing and tantalizing the troll.
This went on for some time.
Usually until Dad got played out.
Then, one day, we moved from that house.
Subsequent (Ooo, another good word!) houses had similar, but not quite as perfect designs for playing Troll Under the Bridge.
The family made do.
Move forward 20 years . . .
Our present house is entirely unsuitable for the game.
It is a bungalow with one long, very dangerous, grandma-nightmare-inducing stairway.
We have put a gate at the top, which is rigidly patrolled whenever grandchildren come over to play.
A great disappointment to grandchildren who have been raised on stories of Troll Under the Bridge, as fondly told by their parents.
But in our front room, we have a large hassock. (Ottoman, pouffe, footstool.)
And it stands in front of our couch.
With a two-foot space between.
Hmmmm . . .
A few pool noodles strapped together with a bit of duct tape.
Propped between the couch and the hassock, the scene for the new and improved Troll Under the Bridge.
Which the next generation of Tolleys has taken to with great enthusiasm.
With just as much noise and exuberance as their parents.
There are a couple of subtle differences, though.
- The grandkids are a bit craftier than their parents had been.
Our nearly-four-year-old grandson, when seized and questioned by the troll, answered readily, “I'm a troll.”
My Husby/Troll blinked.
This was a first.
But, since trolls are allowed on the bridge, the boy was allowed a free pass.
- The troll gets played out rather quickly.
He is, after all, an older troll now, with lots of grey hair and a few creaking joints.
Usually, he is finished long before the shrieking hoards are even close to admitting defeat.
And after they leave, he collapses on the couch and takes a nap.
Ah, the price of joy.