The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #110753   Message #2616725
Posted By: GUEST,suerisa
22-Apr-09 - 11:29 PM
Thread Name: kids' game: I'm goin' down town to smoke my pipe
Subject: RE: kids' game: I'm goin' down town to smoke my pipe
At a family visit last weekend we got to talking about a game we played in the 50's in Brevard, NC. I've often asked people if they played it when they were kids, but never have gotten a yes from anyone. I finally put the question to Google, and got the mudcat site.

We called the game "Black Spider".

We don't know where it came from. I remember that my brother taught it to us, but he has no memory of doing so, or of where or from whom he may have gotten it if he did.

The game went like this:

One person was the Black Spider. One was the Mother. All the rest were kids.

In our case, The Black Spider lived on the side porch. The Mother and kids lived in the house and used the front door.

The Mother would say to the kids:

I'm going out to smoke my pipe,
I won't be back till Saturday night,
And I'm leaving YOU in charge (picking one kid to be in charge).

Then she'd go sit under a maple tree in the front yard and pretend to smoke a pipe.

The Black Spider would come around from the side porch to the front porch and knock on the door. The kid in charge would answer the door. The Black Spider would ask to borrow some ketchup, or sugar, or mustard, or milk, or eggs -- something different every time. When the one in charge went to get it, the Black Spider would grab a kid and make off with him or her to his house -- the side porch -- where he would assign him or her a flavor of ice cream.

He'd keep coming back to borrow stuff till he had nabbed every kid but the one in charge. Then he'd dispense with the ruse, grab that kid and just haul him or her back to his lair.

The Mother would come home and find them all gone. She'd wail and cry and get all frantic and go hunting for them.

That took her right away to the Spider's door where she'd ask if he'd seen her children. He'd say he thought he saw them go down the straight road, and she'd walk a straight line down the yard and back. "No, they weren't down the straight road." He'd say, "Well, I think I saw them go down the crooked road." And she'd go winding this way and that down the yard and back. "No, they weren't down the crooked road."

"Well, would you like some ice cream?", the Black Spider would ask. "Sure", she'd say, and he'd ask what kind, and she'd name a flavor. If there was a kid of that flavor, the Black Spider would bring the kid out and set him or her loose near the mother and the race would be on.

If the kid could make it to the front porch without the Mother catching him or her, he or she would be spared a walloping.

It was a pretend walloping, pretty much, consisting of holding the kid and giving several smacks on the fanny with an open hand -- all governed by a natural balance between keeping it fun and giving the kid a good motive to run.

Repeat till all kids are home. Change roles and play again, or go play something else.

Did anyone else play it with the heavy being a spider instead of a witch?

Are there any others from the South who have played it?

So good to find reference to the game. Thanks for the posts. I'll keep an eye out for further stories and connections.