Looking back through the lens of years, I'm wondering where in the world that game came from. We learned it at school, I'm sure, and adapted the rules to fit our circumstances in the side yard at home, but I wonder which teacher first stood before her class and laid out the rules. Probably a teacher who was determined we were going to learn our manners, come what may.
One person was assigned to be the mother. She stood at one end of the yard and we lined up at the other end. When our individual turns came, "Mother" gave us instructions we had to follow. Like "take two giant steps forward," or "hop like a frog three times." The object of the game was to be the first person to get to mother.
If we obeyed without asking "Mother, May I?" we had to go back to the beginning line. If we said, "Mother, Can I?" we had to go back to the beginning line. Sometimes we added the "please" rule, and that set us back even more. The mother in our games usually wasn't all that fair, either. I played with sisters who disliked each other and ordered "baby steps" when they saw each other winning. Life lessons there.
My childhood training in "Mother, May I" came in handy one day last week. I went to my volunteer job, opening the Red Awning Art Gallery where my books are for sale. I was alone and the building creaked as the wind howled, so I needed noise to off set all those imagined footsteps an author like me manages to create in her head. I plugged in the neon "Open" sign and leaned over to the music box and said, "Play music." Nothing happened. I said it again, "Play music." Nothing. I remembered the please rule and added that. Still nothing. I was defeated by a black circle. I felt like I was sent back to the beginning.
|Alexa sitting behind some art work|
on an antique desk at the gallery
"Alexa, Play music."
Who would have thought that some obscure game I played once upon a time would be a part of reality in this century!
Catch of the day,