Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Kicking the Can

I was foraging in my mom's garage the other day when I spied a rusty red can. It was an old, slightly dented Folgers Coffee can, sitting on a shelf. I peeked inside; it held a variety of nuts, bolts and screws. I smiled because I knew in its younger days, that particular container had seen a lot more action as the central element in our neighborhood games of Kick the Can.

Hot summer evenings in the late 1960s and early 1970s were the perfect time to gather the brood of neighbor kids for a rowdy game of Kick the Can in our backyard. The red can was placed upside down in the middle of the grass and whoever was "it" began counting to 100 by 5's while the rest of us scrambled to hide in trees, behind fences, over the hill and under the boxes by the garage. We could play the game for hours, fighting off the mosquitoes while we made mad dashes to the can to triumphantly punt it sky-high and release any captives that had been discovered and detained.

According to Wikipedia, the game of Kick the Can, along with other "old-fashioned" outdoor games is becoming less and less known to each generation. Past generations remember this game fondly, says the report, and it was enough of a cultural phenomenon at one time that it was a theme in a 1962 episode of The Twilight Zone and was incorporated later in the 1983 film of the same name.

I doubt many kids today would understand the concept of an unstructured, unsupervised game like Kick the Can. But just in case, I decided to do my part. I grabbed the old red can from the shelf, emptied its contents into another container, and then tossed it in my car. Next week, my young nephews and nieces will get a lesson from their aunt on good, old-fashioned summer fun.
'Til next time,
Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

What was your favorite summertime game? Send a brief response to me at and it could appear in a future newsletter or in Good Old Days magazine! Keep your replies coming!


linda said...

Loved playing kick the can, hide and seek, anything as long as it was outside! Thanks for the memories.

Gigi Ann said...

We played a lot of "Red rover, red rover, I dare you to come over". And my son broke a bone in his foot one evening when we were playing "Red light, green light."

Jackie said...

Hide and Go Seek...and tag.

sandy said...

oh that was fun to read - I haven't been here in ages or at Abe's blogs - i need to find them again -

one of my favorite activities was annie annie over - throwing a ball over the roof - and playing hospital - the wagon was the ambulance and the hospital was under the porch behind the lattice work that enclosed the space. what fun that was. Hope all is well with you and Abe!