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Jump ropes and bladders


Friday, May 11, 2018

If you are still wondering whether spring has finally arrived, there is one sure way to find out. Drive down to your local elementary school around recess time and get a clear view of the playground area. If you see any students jumping rope, then you will know for certain that spring is here. Jump ropes and springtime always go together.

The other day I drove through a neighborhood where some young girls were doing what we used to call “Double Dutch” with their jump ropes. That really took me back. Even though the world has changed dramatically since I grew up, it was reassuring to me to see that in this day and age when young people always seem to be at their computers or on their cell phones, at least a few of them actually take time to get outdoors and to start jump roping when spring comes.

Although there are days when I can barely remember what I ate for lunch, somehow I can still recall many of those silly songs we sang when we were jumping rope as kids. One of them that just won’t leave me is, “Six little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and hurt his head. His mother called the doctor, and the doctor said, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”

I will spare you the agony of quoting any other examples, but these old sayings went on for verse after verse, or at least for as long as we jumpers had enough strength to keep jumping. It was our way of announcing to the world that spring had arrived.

One day while at lunch with a group of friends, we began sharing our own jump rope memories. After listening patiently to the rest of us, Thelma, in her 80s and by far the eldest in the group, simply smiled and shared that just the week before, she felt like trying jumping rope herself so she did. We were all were amazed, and asked her how it went. “My bladder almost fell out !” she replied.

Though we gave her a round of applause for her spunk, the rest of us decided that it would take a mighty cold day in Hades for any us to do any late-in-life jumping rope, thank you. We decided we had been on earth too long to risk life and limb for this pursuit. The arrival of spring would just have to do without our taking part in the annual rope jumping ritual that year.

Since I am able to recall several of these old jump rope verses so easily, it occurred to me that if my college professors had only thought to utilize a few catchy rhymes in their lectures, I might have been a big winner on TV’s Jeopardy by now.

Anyway, as far as jumping rope is concerned, it has been too many years since I actually touched a jump rope, and secondly, I probably wouldn’t know what to do with it if I had one. Last but not least, there is the little matter of my bladder. I don’t know about you but If jumping rope at my age might cause my bladder to fall out, that is a deal breaker for me. I wonder how our bladders would feel about hopscotch.

Joann Duncanson, a former Peterborough resident now living in Greenland, is the author of “Who Gets the Yellow Bananas?”, co-author of “Breakfast in the Bathtub” and author of her latest book, “Eight Crayons – Poems and Stories by an Almost Sane Woman.” She can be reached at joannduncanson@gmail.com.