Question of the week: Eeny, meeny, miny, mo

Grandma and Grandpa’s house didn’t have much in the way of entertainment for kids. There was never anything worth watching on a Sunday afternoon (this was before I found M*A*S*H* entertaining). There were no toys, no video games, and the only jigsaw puzzles Grandma owned were those really tough 500-piece puzzles.

Despite all this, I was never bored, especially when all my cousins were around. Tía Lupe and her five sons — all older than me — lived directly across the street. Tía Lucy and tía Mary also lived nearby. Together they could add nine kids to the mix. Tío Johnny lived further away, but he’d often visit on Sundays too. And of course, my siblings and I were down for games. We’d easily have a group of a dozen kids ready for a game. [Note: my dad’s younger siblings’ children were too young to play or not born yet.]

We played freeze tag and other variations on tag. When we tired, we’d sit on the broad porch and play war or old maid with a deck of cards (but hiding them from Grandpa who didn’t approve). My favorite game was Colored Eggs.

First we’d ask who was in an who was just a spectator. The spectator cousins — usually the younger ones — would be forced to sit up at the top of the porch out of the way of those in the game. Next, all cousins would put in a single foot to choose a Wolf via the “eeny, meeny, miny, mo” method.

Once the Wolf was chosen, the remaining players would take seats on the porch and silently choose a color for his/her egg. The Wolf would stand out in the middle of the front yard and eye his cousins on the porch steps suspiciously.

Wolf: knock, knock.
Kids (I think we were supposed to be chicks): what do you want?
Wolf: an egg!
Kids: what color?
Wolf: [chooses color] purple!
Kids: we don’t have that color!
Wolf: [chooses another color] sky blue!

At that moment, the cousin who chose sky blue would jump down the steps and begin running around the house in the counter clockwise direction as the Wolf gave chase to get his egg. The rest of us would get up to see from the edge of the porch was our cousin dodged plants, stray cats and parked cars in the driveway and tried to make it back to the porch safe. If the Wolf caught her, then she’d have to trade places and become the wolf. If not, the game would continue with the same Wolf. (Bea, if I have any of the details wrong, please correct me. My guess is your memory about this game would be more accurate.)

I hated being chased or being the Wolf as most of my other cousins were older and could run faster. It was still fun, even if I did end up scraping my knee or dirtying my dress.

La Pregunta: What was your favorite game as a kid?

I’m defining game as an indoor or outdoor competitive activity without any props that required electricity or batteries. The only energy you needed was the kind you get with a large group of kids.


14 thoughts on “Question of the week: Eeny, meeny, miny, mo

  1. chidolitis says:

    Oh, we played that game too except you could be ollitas. My dad taught us all those crazy games he played as a kid, like la vibora. That shit was crazy! I remember one time I got stuck at the end of the snake and got launched into some sharp rocks, thus creating the scar that I have today Or other games such as, las cebollitas, where like all the primos would sit behind one another and grab on to each other. The front prim@ would then hold on to some pole or something stable enough to support our weight. Then the adult would come and “pick” the cebollitas and try and pull all of us off. Whoever lasted the longest without getting picked won! Dang…I wanna play cebollitas now. 🙂

  2. oh man! i love this question! you brought me back to my childhood, we used to play all kinds of games, tetherball and hide n’ go seek!

    we also played lots of card games like war, go fish, and uno! (uno was my favorite, i was so great)

    the colored eggs game sounds a lot like “duck duck goose”, maybe it is, I dont know.

    i was so good at that game, cause i was like a little energy ball as a kid, actually i think im still like an energy ball sometimes, haha.

    miss lu, you are awesome for this post. 😀

    did you have any favorite board games?

  3. We played a version of tag that involved “La Vieja Inez.”
    Then we played Statue Maker and Red, Light, Green Light.
    We did a lot of fence jumping too. “See that fence? Bet I can jump straight over it.”

  4. Veronica says:

    Uff at grandmas in Mexico we would play “la cebollita” one person would hug a pole the next kid would hug the person from behind and so on with all the kids…greating a “chain” and one kid had to pull from the end and the person that let go had to be the puller…sounds kind of dumb but we had so much fun. We also played “mother may I” and a really LOOONG hopscotch drawn in the sand.

  5. Gustavo Arellano says:

    We played “La Migra.” One side of kids was la migra, the other side were “Mexicans” (keep in mind, all the kids playing were Mexican, with the occasional white or Asian kid thrown in). The Mexicans hid, then someone yelled “¡LA MIGRA!” and the migra tried to find them and put them in jail. The Mexicans, in turn, tried to evade them and go to a safe spot. So much fun…

  6. Momo says:

    Leave it to Gustavo to come up with thAt game… la migra… geez (shaking head with eyes closed, then clapping and laughing).

    Well my cousin came up with this game called “Chucky.” He would close all the doors in the hallway so that all of us kids would be in the dark, then, from some corner in the hallway, he would say in a creepy voice “heeere commmmes Chucky!” and all us little kids would run around quietly, freaked out and scared, trying to guess where he was coming from so that we could run away from him.

    Whoever got caught by Chucky would be the first to scream and then we would all scream. The one that was caught was out and had to leave the hallway. The game would start all over again and the last one to get caught would end up being Chucky on the next round with all the kids back in the room. The younger kids that ended up crying wouldn’t be allowed to play any more.

    I guess you can say that it was a kind of marco-polo tag game with the added Chucky fear factor. My cousin played the Chucky role best cuz he was already the bully in the group.

  7. I played the same game, and like notoriouslig, we also called it “La Vieja Inez”; you went up and knocked, “quien es?” – “la vieja inez” – “que queria?” – “un color” – “que color?” – “rojo” – “no hay rojo, vayase con su pata roja” and so forth til’ the right color was chosen. It was kinda tedious though as in the day of multi-crayons everyone tried to find an obscure color.

    I grew up in an area with lots of kids so we had tons of games: ring around the roof (a ball throwing game), British Bulldog (one poor kid tries to tackle someone as they run across the field, thereby joining in the tackling), and my favorite, ManHunt! That one would go on for days. Basically you split up into two teams, you define the boundaries (in our case they were city streets, the game took place over many blocks) and the hiding team has to try and catch all those in the opposing team and put them in jail. Plus, a sneaky member of the hunted team could break out his comrades from the jail. When it got too late and dark, the game would be called off and resumed the next day. It was a pretty intense game.

  8. iPedro says:

    We used to play “Hi”. were my little sister and I would pretend we were joggers and jog back and fourth on the side walk. and when we would pass each other, we would wave and say “hi” to each other. we were actually mocking how when joggers cross paths, they wave and say hello… I know, kind of corny. jeje.

  9. Gustavo Arellano says:

    Momo: I didn’t invent so can’t take credit. But I’m sure us kiddies living in Orange County had something to do with it…

  10. Lucha Libre of course.

    It determined who called the shots for that week or as long as they were undefeated. We beat the crap out of each other and did some crazy movidas. Luckily no one ever got hurt real bad. For reals.

  11. Oh yeah and SWAT. We’d run around with our toy guns through apartments, jumping fences, climbing trees, hiding in the grass of an empty lot (what happend to empty lots?) and then catch the bad guys and beat the crap out of each other again.

    Mud fights. Two teams. Make mud. Fling it at each other. Try to get them in the eyes to you can run up to them and beat the crap out of them. And shove mud down the back of their pants. Those were the ones who lost.

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