Archive for Thursday, July 6, 2006

Column: Holiday weekend offers more than fireworks

July 6, 2006

Although the Fourth of July and its preceding weekend are great times to shoot fireworks, I have become more partial to playing strange lawn games and water sports with family and friends.

Don't get me wrong, I love shooting fireworks and blowing stuff up, but that only lasts so long. I have found some games and leisurely activities that are fun to do around July Fourth, or just in the summertime.

Last weekend I took a trip to Hannibal, Mo., to see some family. We took the boat out on Mark Twain Lake and had a blast zipping around the cool, refreshing lake.

But the best part of the lake trip was tubing. Of course, I had been a few other times in my life and enjoyed it then, but it just seemed like I had more fun that weekend.

I tried just sitting in the tube at first, but that was a very short ride. I hit a few waves, one tossed me sideways and, needless to say, I was no longer in the tube.

Then as I climbed on the tube, the boat started to take off. I was going to sit in it again, but didn't have a chance. Instead, I was lying on my stomach holding on tight.

The few times I rode on my stomach, I did very well, I must say. I finally figured out how to stay on the tube, even when I was a few feet off of the water.

After a fun-filled weekend adventure, I came home to celebrate the Fourth of July with my family. We always have lots of food and fireworks, but this year we had plenty of games, too.

My personal favorite was the "Canadian Frisbee" game, as it was called. The game had two pieces of PVC pipe about 20 feet apart and about five feet tall. On the top of each pipe was a bottle, usually a glass or very hard plastic one.

Each team would take turns throwing a Frisbee at their opponents' pipe and bottle, trying to knock the bottle off. If the Frisbee hit the ground, it scored one point and if the bottle fell off and touched the ground, it scored three points.

So, each team took turns trying to catch the bottle and Frisbee. Oh, yeah, did I mention that you have to do this one-handed. One major rule is that each player must have a drink in his or her hand, just something to keep you from using that hand.

So, we played this game a few times and my cousin and I were champions for a while. We started losing our touch later in the day, but still had a fun time.

Another game we played was "Goofy Golf." This one also involves PVC pipe, but you try to throw golf balls around the pipe. Two golf balls are tied together and each person slings the balls to their opponents end, trying to wrap it around one of the three levels of pipe.

It's a very odd game to explain, but it's fun and easy to play.

Then the other game we played was the classic washers game. We had two sets of washers and had a lot of fun playing them.

I am not a bad washers player, but not a great one either. I hit the board on about 75 percent of my tosses, but not many of the washers stay on the board or fall in the holes.

It seems like each year my family adds one more game to play for the Fourth of July. I know it will be about 363 more days until the holiday comes back, but I am anxious to see what we have next year.

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