The perfect place for children to play


Sometimes, in the midst of living life, we forget the importance of fun and games in the big scheme of things.
My sister Debi has been helping me with some remodeling projects lately as we prepare to sell our home of 25-plus years and move to another.
Just yesterday, as we worked at the new house, she reminded me of all the games we used to play as kids.
“This place is going to be perfect for all of those games!” she said with great joy and excitement.
She said this because of a sort of window-opening from one room to another that has a few shelves built into it.
“Just think how much fun THIS would have been for us as kids – we could have played library or post office or school for hours on end!”
Outside games. The great outdoors offered even more fun than the indoors when we were kids.
The corn crib inside the hog barn, filled to the rafters with ear corn back when we were very young, was the perfect place to play. We spent hours upon hours inside that corn crib, pretending those ears of corn were books (for playing library) or the brittle husks were dollar bills and the ears of corn were blocks of precious gold (for playing bank) or important pieces of mail (for playing post office, of course).
I remember once, our mother came looking for us, admonishing us for scaring her to death when we didn’t show up for dinner. The corn crib was about half empty at that time, which made for some really fun adventures. One person could stand at the “window” while the other sisters created their own sections inside the corn crib.
I have no idea why this narrow old corn crib held such fascination for us, but we lost track of time when we were in it. That is, until I spotted a mouse scurrying along, hiding in the stacks of ear corn. Then the fun came to a screeching halt.
We could spend hours at the farm pond, ice skating in the winter, swimming and diving until we were blissfully exhausted in the summer. That pond was the greatest gift our parents ever gave us.
The original wedding planner. The hay mow captivated us for hours on end, too, after it reached that half-empty point. We worked so hard moving bales around, creating caves and tunnels and amazing little rooms.
Once, my sister Debi insisted we build a chapel way up high in the hay mow so that her Barbie doll could have the most amazing wedding ever. Ken was the lucky guy, and Barbie deserved the very best wedding we could conjure up. And, I am here to tell you, my sister was the original wedding planner! I remember carrying shoe boxes filled with important trinkets to the chapel in the hay mow for that big event.
Step by step. On rainy or snowy days, we spent lots of time playing on the stairs in our house. We played school there, with good students getting promoted to the next “grade” by moving up a step. If someone acted up or did not listen while the older sister-teacher read a story to us, that unlucky student might get sent all the way back to the first step. If a student made it all the way up to where the stairs took a curve to the landing, you might even get to be a teacher’s assistant.
My new house has that very same curve in the stairs. The bank barn has an amazing hay mow. The pond is situated in a great place. One of these days, we will move there, and I can hardly wait to have my nieces’ and nephews’ children come to play.
I will get to be the teacher, for sure! Lucky me!


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.