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Leaners and Ringers

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johnmack161, Horseshoes game, CC BY 2.5

I stumbled across an old photograph online where people were playing horseshoes. This reminded me so much of my father who was quite the horseshoes fanatic. We often had horseshoe pits he carefully paced off with his non-scientific method of determining the appropriate stride to measure one yard.

We often spent our summers camping at a local campground – Hickory Hills. There  was a small lake for paddle boats and a snack bar with an outdoor jukebox where all the kids would gather in the evening to hang out together. I have fond memories of Creedence Clearwater songs floating through the warm night air. It was magical and also happened to be the place where I met my most enduring summer love — Chuck — but that is another story for another day.

Even at the campground, we had horseshoes. I remember playing often. My dad was a master at it. He made ringers (the horseshoes go around the stake) and leaners (the horseshoe leans on the stake) frequently. Not bad for a 40’ toss. All four of us (me and my siblings) ended up fairly proficient at the game, too.

I can still remember the weight of the oversized ‘horseshoes’, the stance and the way to toss for an accurate landing. Funny how those things come back easily when we think about them. I remember the sound of the horseshoe landing on the stake and the sound of the horseshoe falling on top of other horseshoes that did not quite make the mark.

Do people even play horseshoes anymore? They must because I see they are still for sale on Amazon, but no photos popped up on Pixabay other than horses, anvils, and falls. Maybe during this time of social isolation, families will fall back to games like this.

We spent a lot of family time playing horseshoes, badminton, softball and croquet. But then we had large yards with ample room for such games. So chime in, did you and your family play lawn games? Do you still?