Ability to play childhood game ‘hops’ away

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 29, 2003

You can never tell what’s going to bring out ‘the child’ in anadult.

My sister, her nine-year-old son and I were left to pass thetime (for hours) in a waiting room Monday at the Blair E. BatsonChildren’s Hospital in Jackson.

Stuck away in a corner was a rolled up mat. My sister thought itwas for napping children and wanted her fidgety son to put it touse.

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She unrolled it with high hopes.

What she found was a Hop Scotch grid.

She looked at me.

I looked at her.

“Let’s play,” we said.

The nine year old looked at us like we were crazy as we searchedthe waiting room for ‘rocks’. Pieces from a large puzzle seemedlike the best option.

“You go first,” I said to my sister.

She stepped up to the edge of mat and paused as she looked itover.

“I don’t remember how to play,” she said. “Do I throw my rockbefore I jump?”


Good question.

That’s when the debate started. (We’re adults, we don’t havearguments.)

My memory of hopping on squares drawn off in Duck Hill dirt said”no.” Don’t throw the rock before you jump. Hop on one foot ontothe single square; land with two feet in the double square; makeyour way down the layout and back; then throw your rock into thefirst square.

“No, that’s not right,” she said. “You throw your rock into thefirst square, then you jump over it. You move down the squares,come back and pick up your rock so you can throw it into the nextsquare.”

You do not.

“You do too.”

Show me.

Sister threw her rock into the first square and started hopping.She made it to the second double square.

“I can’t hop anymore.”

When I stopped laughing, I also got my comeuppance.

“It’s your turn,” she said.

Playing by her rules, I threw my rock into the first square andstarted hopping. I made it to the second double square.

“What’s wrong, Miss Smarty?”

I can’t hop anymore.

Agreeing that a woman pushing 50 and another dragging 40 mighthave outgrown Hop Scotch, we called the game a draw and put the matback in the corner.

Uninterested in what we were doing, my nephew sat quietly,bouncing a small rubber ball he had been given in one of thehospital’s testing areas.

“Wish we had some jacks.”

Write to Nanette Laster at P.O. Box 551 Brookhaven, Miss.39602, or send e-mail to news@dailyleader.com.