The other day my wife told me that I had a surprise coming up soon but she wouldn’t tell me what it was. Imagine my surprise when into the store walked an old friend from when I was growing up. It was Jeff Jones, who lived across the street from me when I was little. He lives in Florida now, but is a big fan of Hill Hardware’s facebook page and decided to stop by when he was in town visiting friends.
His visit brought back many old Summer memories of growing up in Chagrin in the mid ’60’s. There were quite a few kids in the neighborhood back then. There was one boy our age on one side of our house, and three boys on the other side. Jeff lived across the street. My poor sister was the only girl close by (“We are the pressure cooker boys – ha, ha, Linda!”). We would play games around the neighborhood, regular sports such as baseball, football, basketball and tether-ball were popular, along with kid games such as freeze tag, S.P.U.D. and the like. In the evening we often had campfires in the driveway where the adults would sit around talking and the kids would cook marshmallows. A new set of games took over after dark, such as flashlight tag, kick the can and a local favorite “green ghost”. Most people know how to play the others, but “green ghost” had its own special rules.
First you had to tell the scary ghost story around the fire of the lonely Indian brave who tragically drowned in the river just behind our house. One nights just like this he sometimes comes up from the river to to wander the area looking for company. After the story we would get our flashlights out and bravely go looking for him. Somehow our little group would always get separated and this was the cue for one of the older boys to sneak into the barn and put on an old green blanket. He would then creep around in the dark and scare the pants off the little kids when they found him. You can keep your new-fangled video games, give me a Summer night, a campfire and a rousing game of “green ghost”.