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Thirteen Things about MARIBETHA memory came to mind this week, I recalled playing games in my backyard as a little girl. Today, I have fun watching my children play the same games. With spring right around the corner, I know it’s only a matter of time before we are outside playing. This week I am listing thirteen games I played as a little girl.

1… HOW MANY STEPS BEFORE THE QUEEN- SOMEONE WOULD BECOME THE QUEEN. EACH PLAYER WOULD ASK “HOW MANY STEPS BEFORE THE QUEEN?” THE QUEEN WOULD RESPOND BY SAYING DIFFERENT STEPS, EG. ONE TINY STEP OR THREE GIANT STEPS. IF THE PLAYER MOVED WITHOUT ASKING MAY I, THEY WOULD HAVE TO RETURN TO THEIR ORIGINAL POINT. THE FIRST ONE REACHING THE QUEEN WON AND BECAME THE QUEEN.

2… RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT—SOMEONE WOULD CALL OUT GREEN LIGHT GO AND WE RUN AROUND THE YARD UNTIL SOMEONE YELLED RED LIGHT STOP. IT DEFINITELY RELEASED SOME ENERGY.

3…PIE GAME- SOMEONE WOULD BE THE PIE MAKER AND THINK OF A CERTAIN FLAVOR PIE. THE REMAINING KIDS WOULD COME UP TO THE PIE MAKER AND ASK, “DO YOU HAVE LEMON PIE TODAY?” IF THE ANSWER WAS YES THE PIE MAKER WOULD CHASE THE ONE WHO GUESSED THE CORRECT PIE. IF THE PIE MAKER TAGGED THE GUESSER PRIOR TO REACHING THE SAFE ZONE, THE GUESSER WOULD BECOME THE PIE MAKER.

4…OBSTACLE COURSE- WE WOULD USE ANYTHING FROM BROOM STICKS TO SKATEBOARDS. THE PERSON WHO DESIGNED THE COURSE WOULD SHOW OTHERS WHAT THEY NEEDED TO DO AND IN WHAT ORDER. WHO EVER RAN THE OBSTACLE COURSE IN THE QUICKEST AMOUNT OF TIME WON THE GAME.

5…STATUES- WE WOULD RUN AROUND THE YARD AND WHEN SOMEONE CALLED OUT STATUE, WE HAD TO FREEZE AND TAKE A POSE. THE GUESSER HAD TO TRY AND GUESS WHAT YOU WERE PRETENDING TO BE.

6… FREEZE TAG- RUN AROUND UNTIL YOU ARE TAGGED AND ONCE YOU ARE, YOU BECOME FROZEN AND CANNOT MOVE UNTIL ANOTHER PLAYER WHO HAS NOT BEEN TAGGED TOUCHES YOU, RELEASING THE FREEZE HOLD.

7… DODGE BALL-ONE OF MY FAVORITES, TRY TO AVOID BEING HIT BY THE FLYING BALL THROWN AT YOU.

8… JAIL BREAK- ANOTHER FORM OF TAG, I CAN’T FULLY REMEMBER THE RULES OF THIS ONE BUT I KNOW WE HAD A LOT OF FUN PLAYING IT.

9… SIMON SAYS- EVERYONE KNOWS THIS ONE RIGHT?

10… MONKEY IN THE MIDDLE- TWO PLAYERS TAKE TURNS THROWING A BALL OVER THE MIDDLE PERSON’S HEAD. IF THE MIDDLE PERSON CATCHES IT, THE ONE WHO THREW IT HAS TO BECOME THE MONKEY IN THE MIDDLE

11… HIDE AND GO SEEK- WHO DOESN’T LOVE THIS GAME? MY FAVORITE, I HATED BEING THE SEEKER.

12… HOPSCOTCH- WE WOULD DRAW A HUGE HOPSCOTCH BOARD IN THE ALLEY NEXT TO OUR HOUSE, EACH FIND A SPECIAL ROCK AND TAKE TURNS TOSSING IT TO THE CORRECT NUMBER. IF YOUR ROCK LANDED ON THE DESIRED NUMBER, YOU COULD HOP TO IT. HOWEVER, YOU HAD TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO HOP ON ANY OTHER NUMBERS THAT HAD ROCKS.

13… COPS AND ROBBERS- SIMILAR TO JAIL BREAK BUT NOT AS MANY RULES, IT WAS ALWAYS FUN BEING THE ROBBER, I GUESS I LIKED BEING THE REBEL.

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My girlfriend recently opened a Shoppe. It’s quaint, eclectic and most of all fabulous. It has always been her dream and now it is her reality. It’s the type of shop you go in, look around a hundred times and still discover new items. On my most recent trip I found my monkey. It was on a coffee table behind a vase. I think he was hiding. There was something about him that instantly caught my attention. He’s carved out of dark mahogany wood which happens to me my favorite; I love the richness in color. He’s in a sitting position but his back is hunched. There is a smooth pouch on his lap. It reminds me of a kangaroo’s pouch. One arm falls to his side and circles around the bottom, no hand is visible. The design of the piece is fluent so you don’t really miss the hand. The other arm curves into the pouch as if the monkey is reaching inside for something. His face is serene. Eyes are closed, mouth is relaxed and he appears as if he is meditating. “I love him,” I called out to my friend. I held him for a moment and thought about where I would put him, “I just don’t know where I would put him.” I proceeded to say.  My girlfriend’s mother was standing behind the counter and laughed when I said this. “If you really love something you will find a place to put it.” Her words stuck with me. Instead of setting the monkey down, I kept him with me as I browsed.  I ended up purchasing him and knew the mother was right. I would find him a perfect spot. On the drive home I chatted with my sister-in-law about my monkey. “I think monkeys symbolize something,” I said. We both racked our brains but couldn’t recall what, if anything, they represented.  It was when I got home and spoke to my older sister the light bulb came on. I was so excited to show her my monkey and see what she thought. She held him for a second and studied him a bit. She handed him back and asked “What, do you have a monkey on your back?”  It was in that moment I knew why I was drawn to him. I recently quit smoking, which was no easy feat. I have always considered it my demon. I have heard other’s refer to the addiction as having a monkey on your back.  Aha, I was taking the monkey off of my back and setting him on the table to act as my reminder. I found him a new spot. I was still curious to know what a monkey symbolized. I searched until I found. A monkey symbolizes benevolence or charity and can ward off evil spirits. How perfect, my monkey is no longer my demon but the very thing that scares the demon away. There will be days I want to give in to my craving but hopefully my monkey sitting upon my coffee table will remind me of the great deal of time I spent trying to get him off of my back. It would be silly to ask him to jump back on and besides now he gives my home some character.