Welcome to Wiser Now’s weekly email blast which reflects my eclectic interests and, I hope, yours. This week, the postponed Summer Olympics begin in Tokyo. Most of us will never achieve or even strive to achieve those athletes’ prowess, but it is also Old-Fashioned Backyard Games Month, and ALL of us are capable of and enriched by play. I will leave you on your own to whatever parts of the Olympics you most enjoy, but let’s reminisce together about backyard games.

I hope you find these offerings fun, and perhaps even useful, and welcome your feedback. ( And if you haven’t yet pressed the subscribe button so this newsletter doesn’t go to spam, please do so now.

The Quirky Quote
Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor.  ~ Stuart Brown, MD
The Quirky Facts
The importance of play for children has thousands of references on Google and includes advocates Fred Rogers, Maria Montessori, and ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus. But play has nearly as many references for adults as well and is at least equally important for innovation and inventions. As I note in my book, Creating Delight – Connecting Gratitude, Humor, and Play for All Ages, play provides many of the same benefits of gratitude and humor for refreshing our mind, increasing energy, boosting creativity, improving relationships, and changing our perspectives.

The Quirky Observations
If you are old, (meaning B.S. – Before Screens of the electronic sort) and were lucky enough to grow up in a small town or in a leafy suburb, chances are that as a child you ran outside early on summer mornings and only returned for meals until bedtime. (If you lived in the city, you may also have been out all day playing in the street.) Perhaps you played games that required no equipment at all like:
(Note: If you need a refresher on the “no equipment games,” check out this link.)

Maybe you had access to a swimming hole or pool or to a lake for fishing. Perhaps some of you enjoyed quietly reading in a hammock or on a porch swing. Maybe you were enterprising and built a lemonade stand.

Perhaps your evenings were filled with catching fireflies or lying on your back and watching stars. Poet/author James Agee wrote an exquisitely beautiful description of those summer nights sitting on a blanket with his family in “Knoxville Summer 1915” which you can read in its entirety here. If you are impatient, at least read the last idyllic paragraph.

The Questions
Take time to reminisce with family or friends about the games of summer days and nights.
  • Many of the games we’ve mentioned had a person who was “it.” Choosing that person often was a ritual of its own. For example, all the children presented either a hand or a shoe, and one person counted around them, one word for each hand or shoe: “One potato, two potato, three potato, four, five potato, six potato, seven potato, more.” The person on whose hand or foot the word “more” landed was eliminated, and the rhyme began again. Do you remember other rhymes? How did you choose who would be “it”?
  • Did your games have their own terminology? For example, if you played marbles, you might have had agates, butterflies, cat’s eyes, commies (marbles made of clay), crystals and a special “shooter.”
  • Do you remember what “kisses” were in jacks? (Two jacks which when thrown landed on top of one another.)

The Shameless Request
WNW has just won another award – this one from the National Mature Media folks – which we hope means even more people will be interested in it. Please share it, and if you represent an organization that would like a customized version, send me a note at
The Featured Product
My book, Creating Delight – Connecting Gratitude, Humor, and Play for All Ages – is not about backyard games, but it does have lots of ideas for connecting people in positive ways. I hope you’ll order it.

At the same time, I am a big fan of miniatures and over-sized objects and this website: has some of the best of the biggest I’ve seen.

The Quiz
My male subscribers may not relate to this, but I’m going with it anyway. Jump rope rhymes are usually silly, but easy to remember and rhythmic – perfect for jumping to. Can you fill in the blanks?

Miss Lucy had a baby
And she named him Tiny 1. _______.
She put him in the bathtub
To see if he could 2. _______.
He drank up all the water.
He ate up all the 3. _______.
He tried to eat the bathtub
But it wouldn’t go down his 4. _______.
Miss Lucy called the doctor,
Miss Lucy called the 5. _______.
Miss Lucy called the lady with the alligator purse.
Miss Susie has a steamboat, the steamboat has a bell.
Miss Susie went to Heaven, the steamboat went to
6. _______ operator, please give me # 9,
And if you disconnect me, I'll kick you from
7. _______ the 'fridgerator' there lays a piece of glass,
Miss Susie sat upon it and cut her little
8. _______me no more questions, tell me no more lies,
The flies are in the city; the bees are in the 9. _______;
Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing in the
D - A - R - K, D - A - R - K, dark!

The Resources

Answers to the Quiz
1. Tim   2. swim   3. soap   4. throat   5. nurse   6. Hello   7. behind   8. Ask   9. park
My multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what I and people whom I admire are doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. I hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (
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Copyright (c) 2021 Kathy Laurenhue | All rights reserved.

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