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Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
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The art of having a good time
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Friday, August 2, 2013


"Heavy, heavy hangs over your poor head."

Some may remember those words from a game that used to be played routinely. I have no idea if it is played anywhere now.

The best games were always played at Aunt Ruby's house when a group of women got together, usually for a baby shower or a wedding shower.

As a little boy, I would usually accompany my mother to such parties, and I remember the ones held at Aunt Ruby's house the best, mainly because of this game.

Here's how it works.

Everyone sits around in a circle with one chair located at a spot somewhere inside that circle. Each person takes a turn sitting in that chair as another participant leaves the room and brings back an item, standing behind the person in the chair so they can't see it.

The item is then be held over the head of the one in the chair, with the one holding the item saying, "Heavy, heavy hangs over your poor head."

Then the person sitting starts asking questions about the item in an attempt to identify it before the item would be dropped or placed right on the noggin.

I don't remember how many questions were asked, but they wanted to guess it simply because it may be an egg or a vase with mayonnaise slathered on the bottom.

But Aunt Ruby always added a bit of twist. And she started by putting the "chair" in a doorway.

During the course of the game, when someone was in the chair who may not have participated before, Aunt Ruby would excuse herself, usually to go to the outhouse.

She then would sneak up behind the person (since the chair was in the doorway, it was easy to do), and bide her time until the item would drop.

Of course, everyone else in the room knew what to expect so they made sure the person in the chair would not make the correct guess.

On one particular occasion, my cousin's wife Michelle, was in the chair. A jovial woman with a big smile and loud laugh, she was always fun to be around and was having a great time, trying to guess what was hanging over her head.

After the last question was asked and Michelle playfully cringed, not knowing what was above their head, Aunt Ruby stuck a sewing needle into their butt.

You talk about a woman screaming and levitating. Good gosh!

Everyone laughed so hard tears came to their eyes, even Michelle, once the sting of the needle prick subsided.

Now, keep in mind that Aunt Ruby was a bit of a psychologist. She knew the ones she could pull that on and get away with it, and the ones who would not find a poke with a sewing needle so amusing.

Aunt Ebb, who usually shunned such female get-togethers, often showed up if they were held at Aunt Ruby's for the entertainment, and the food, of course.

They played many other games, including one that involved clothes pins and a Mason jar. I just can't remember how that was played. It had something to do with dropping the clothes pins into the Mason jar.

I have not been to one of these all-women parties since I was a kid, so I have no idea what goes on these days.

Maybe some of these games are still played, or new ones I have never heard of.

Maybe no games are played at all.

I guess the real question is whether the attendees have a good time.

I can say without any hesitation that every one of those parties I attended when I was young was indeed a great time, even for a kid.

But there are probably few Aunt Rubys running around these days, especially those armed with a sewing needle and not afraid to use it.

Heck, a person could get sued for pulling a stunt like that, even by a family member.

In those days, though, nobody sued.

They just got even.

Michelle put one of her friends up to calling Aunt Ruby and telling her she had won a case of RC Cola at Elmore's store for being a loyal customer.

When Aunt Ruby showed up to collect the case of her beloved RC Cola, Mr. Elmore thought she had lost her mind and called Aunt Ebb.

When word got around about what had happened, you could here Michelle's laugh echoing through the hollers.

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