Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week Thirty-Eight: Athletic Party

There’s a thrill in good old football.
What a thrill one feels
When a player makes a touchdown
With the whole gang at his heels!
Same is true of good old baseball
When a player makes a run;
But you’ll get a thrill at our party
And have a lot of fun.

Nice Hat, Mr. Nagurski

Yes, we He-Men and She-Women are here to honor the might of our, uh, mighty athletes for their skill and dedication. (Hey Bernie, cue the clip!)

And what better way to honor your local football or baseball team for their awkward, leather-bound, scraggly-limbed victory than by engaging in party activities that resemble sporting events, but in name only. Such as playing a round of Random Utensil Golf?
Bean Bag Golf. As the guests arrive they are divided into couples by the leader and matched to play bean bag golf. The game is played in the following manner:

Different kinds of vessels and utensils are set around over the house or perhaps hung on the wall or placed on top of the piano, and these are numbered as the eighteen holes of a golf course. Have someone get from the country club in your city enough score cards for your guests and change these numbers to fir your course. For example, if the score card shows a 500-yard hole with a five par, you might change this to five yards, three par. Each couple marks their own score, which score is the number of throws it takes each one to get their bean bag in the vessel The rule of the game is that they must stand erect when they toss the bean bag; and if it falls in a place where they cannot stand when they throw it, the penalty for moving it will be one stroke.
The game will create a lot of good, wholesome fun and will consume from twenty minutes to half an hour.

To Cokesbury’s credit, this is the first time in nearly 300 pages that they use the word “wholesome,” which I figured would be featured in every party, certainly much more than whistles and five-and-ten cent stores.

Additionally, I appreciate their use of the word vessel, which always brings this to mind:

Today, we’d probably say container, not vessel. ‘Container’ just doesn’t have that magical ring to it. “The pellet with the poison’s in the container on retainer . . . no, the container on the hanger has the pellet with the poison . . . uh, forget it. I’ll just run into the hills like the Maid Jean said.”

But let’s move on from such obscurities to other obscurities, viz, the naming of athletes:
Cut out from the sporting page of the newspaper or from baseball and golf magazines the pictures of well known athletes, such as Babe Ruth, Bobby Jones, Bill Tilden, Jack Dempsey, and Helen Wills. Also there might be included pictures of those who are prominent in their connection with athletics, such as Conney Mack. Number these and pin them on the draperies and place them about the room. Give slips of paper to the guests, and have them identify these athletes. Give a prize to the one getting the largest number correctly.

Give an even bigger prize to writers who don’t use adverbs in a superfluous manner and who can spell the name of sports-associated greats correctly.
With that all done, it’s time for another bean bag game, because tossing around light bean bags while chatting insipidly with your cohorts is what honoring athleticism is all about.

We could move on to the next game, Bean bag baseball, but as your guests are already tuckered out from tossing around the ol’ beans in bean Bag Golf, we’ll move on to something more exciting. Like this:
Blindfold Boxing Match. This is an excellent fun-maker, but must be carefully handled by the leader. Get two pair of boxing gloves, put them on two boxers that have been chosen, draw a circle, put the boxers inside the circle and carefully blindfold them. Turn each of the boxers around several times, so they will lose their sense of direction, and blow the whistle for the fight to start. They should be blindfolded so that their heads will be protected in case either of them should happen to get hit, but this is not the intention at all. The intention is to have them so widely separated that they cannot hit each other. Have two or three boys act as teasers, and make them think that they have found each other. After the gun has gone long enough, give both a prize as the winner.
Be sure, folks, not to pick trained pugilists for this game, as the teasers – lacking the protection your average, run-of-the-mill blindfold can offer in a boxing match –a re likely to get cold-clocked if a real boxer happens to make contact. And you might consider even among the untrained masses whether it’s a good thing to pair up, for example, two individuals who have had a running animosity between them. Oh, whatever happens, I see this game ending in tears.

To conclude our series of games meant to honor athletes and athleticism, let’s play a game that required virtually no athletic skill whatsoever:
Balloon Volley Ball. Stretch a string across the room about six feet from the floor, or if the ceiling is high, it is better to have it even higher than this. Inflate a toy balloon to use for the volley ball. Each side tries to keep the balloon from touching the floor on their side. If the ball touches the floor on their side, the other side scores a point. Ten points will be sufficient for a game, the first side winning ten points being the winner of the game.

Another way to play this is to forbid the use of hands, allowing players to strike the ball only with their heads. This should not be played, however, with a mixed group.
That last sentence really confuses me. What mixed group? Ladies and gentlemen? That begs the question – why should a game where groping and poking is not allowed suddenly be banned from mixed group play? Are we afraid that men, robbed of their hands, will engage in French-style head-butt lunges in order to come in contact with the “toy” balloon, which you should use as opposed to he industrial balloons you could smuggle home from the workplace? I just don’t get it.

But that’s okay. It’s time for refreshments, which you can dole out once your guests have picked their refreshment partner, which is done by having the men hide behind a curtain and extend their “athlete’s foot,” which the female counterparts must pick to find their refreshment partner. Refreshments, by the way, are “things generally found at athletic games” such as peanuts, pop corn, cracker jack, bottled drinks, and ice-cream cones. If y’all eat your treats in a sitting position, it’s likely that you’ll have hosted the first Athletic Party at which none of the guests broke a sweat.

That’s it until next time, when we get to see Cokesbury’s Spooky Chiller Halloween Party. Owoooo! Owoooo! Heh heh heh. Sorry. Suddenly channeling Count Floyd there.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ah, Sport, Georgie-Boy!

Ah, sport. And American Sport, on top of that. What could be more wholesome? More life-affirming? More Republican? Well, not watching sports, if you ask George Babbitt – a Sinclair Lewis character we’ve neglected here at the Cokesbury Party Blog for quite some time, and I do apologize for it.

Here’s ol’ Georgie’s interest in sports (read the whole thing here):

Baseball, he determined, would be an excellent hobby. “No sense a man’s working his fool head off. I’m going out to the Game three times a week. Besides, fellow ought to support the home team.”

He did go and support the team, and enhance the glory of Zenith, by yelling “Attaboy!” and “Rotten!” He performed the rite scrupulously. He wore a cotton handkerchief about his collar; he became sweaty; he opened his mouth in a wide loose grin; and drank lemon soda out of a bottle. He went to the Game three times a week, for one week. Then he compromised on watching the Advocate-Times bulletin-board. He stood in the thickest and steamiest of the crowd, and as the boy up on the lofty platform recorded the achievements of Big Bill Bostwick, the pitcher, Babbitt remarked to complete strangers, “Pretty nice! Good work!” and hastened back to the office.

He honestly believed that he loved baseball. It is true that he hadn’t, in twenty-five years, himself played any baseball except back-lot catch with Ted—very gentle, and strictly limited to ten minutes. But the game was a custom of his clan, and it gave outlet for the homicidal and sides-taking instincts which Babbitt called “patriotism” and “love of sport.”
Lewis, of course, uses sport and Babbitt’s lukewarm fascination with it as a way to show Babbitt attempting to forget his disaffection with life. What better way to show such disaffection than by throwing a party? That’s what the Cokesbury Party Blog is for, folks. Disaffection in an Affectionate Manner!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Athletic Party Preview -- DON'T HIT ME!

Before you completely flip out, yes, I know Leni Riefenstahl made propaganda films for the Nazis. Even though propaganda, in of itself, is not an arrestable offense – because if it were every actor, actress, writer, pundit, broadcaster and talking head would be in jail right now, sitting in the same cell with Rollo the Mad-Dog Rapist – I know I could have chosen a different film clip to promote next weeks’ Athletic Party at the Cokesbury Party Blog.

But look at the technique here. The camera angles. The focus on the shadows, rather than the persons. Quite remarkable. For a propagandist. Which, if you get right down to it, is what I am. A propagandist for the Cokesbury Party Book.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week Thirty-Seven: Alphabet Party

Oh, those punsters at the Cokesbury Party Book. Check out how they introduce their, ahem, unique party idea this week:
A novel idea for a social is an Alphabet Party.
I’ll pause a moment while you’re lol-ing all over the place. Huh? Well, you know, novels, they’re . . . you use an alphabet to . . . okay, so it’s not that punny. Maybe not even intended as a pun. But you do have to agree with Cokesbury: an Alphabet Party is certainly a novel idea for a social. Especially if you charge attendees two cents for each letter in their full name, in order to defray party expenses, but come on, how much can sandwiches and ice cream cost?

On to the first game, which is a real corker:
What Letter Is? Each one is given a mimeographed or typewritten sheet of paper on which the following questions are written with the answer left blank:

What letter is

1) An insect? B
2) A large body of water? C
3) A naughty letter? D
4) A slangy letter? G
5) Our busiest letter? I
6) A bird? J
7) Part of a house? L
8) Familiar with Emma? M
9) A verb of debt? O
10) A vegetable that rolls off the knife? P
11) A clue? Q
12) A drink? T
13) The letter you love best? U
14) What green apples do to you? W
15) A sheep? U
16) Direction for a horse? G
17) The questioning letter? Y
This game kinda reminds me of this great Bugs Bunny joke:

I have to confess I tell this joke all the time, and always end it with the “hyuck hyuck hyuck” that Elmer Fudd tacks on. This is why I’m PERFECT for the Cokesbury Party Book.

The game also brings this popular tune to mind. Sing it with your guests if they've really got a wild hair and want to get their groove on, yo.

But then of course Cokesbury is taking the alphabet very seriously here. Kinda like James Earl Jones does in this early, kinda creepy clip from Sesame Street:

He really looks a bit beatnik-ky in this clip. Imagine watching this late at night when you’re really tired and a bit freaked out by the thunder and lightning and that weird creaking your house makes when it’s windy out. I’m getting the shivers.

Yes, the alphabet is serious in Cokesbury land. Here’s your next game to prove my point:
Dumb Spelling Match. A number is selected for this dumb spelling match, or if the group is small the whole group participates. When one spells a word incorrectly, speaks a letter when he should make a sign, or makes the wrong sign, he must sit down. The object is to see who can stand up the longest.
With me so far? Too bad. Because I’m confused as heck. Maybe they explain further:
Words are pronounced by the leader, and should be selected in advance, those being chose that have large number of vowels in them. These are spelled by those participating by speaking the consonants and making the following signs for the vowels: for A the player holds up his right hand. For E he holds up his left hand. For I he points to his eye. For O he points to his open mouth. For U he points to another player. If any of the vowels are spoken, if the wrong sign is given, or the word is spelled incorrectly, the player must be seated. Spell down.
Okay. So aside from not really knowing what they mean by saying “Spell down” at the end of the description, we’ve also got a party built to offend those who are hearing impaired. I’ll give this to Cokesbury: Party after party, they find ways to offend. And this is beyond any modern political correctness; it’s just being mean.

But forget that. You want your Alphabet party to be whimsical. Entertaining. Like this one, thrown by the Three Stooges:

Note when the Stooges encourage the “girls” to sing along, the one guy in the audience takes no offense; he sings too. We need more of this kind of cooperation in the world. Maybe that’s what Cokesbury was trying to achieve with this game:
Spelling Fun. Divide into two, three, or four groups. Each group is given an alphabet on cards six inches square with duplicate vowels. If the group is too small to give each one a letter, the leader should give some two letters. If this is not desirable, take out letter such as Q, Z, X, and J that are not so frequently used before distributing the alphabet. It is not necessary to have a whole alphabet for this game. Each group selects a leader. The object is to see which group can spell the most words in a given time. There should be a scorer selected in advance; and if you have four groups, there should be two scorers. The scorer gives each group a mark for every word spelled. The words are spelled by the leader suggesting the word and the players who hold the letter arranging themselves in the proper order to spell them. Every word spelled counts one score or tally for the group spelling it. The winner has the largest number of tallies when the whistle blows.
Sesame Street purists like me, of course, are cringing. When you do the alphabet, buddy, you do EVERY SINGLE LETTER. You can’t do something like this by skipping those not-so-frequently used letters:

This next game reminds me of a joke a friend of mine liked to tell about how people speak in Tennessee, speaking of doing everything politically incorrect:
A,B,C,D Fish. Much amusement can be caused by the following display of letters which have been written on a cardboard in advance b y the leader:

A B, C D fish.
L, M N O fish.
O, S A R fish.
Of course, you know the answer to this one:
Ask the group to read what is written on the card. Perhaps someone will be clever enough to read it: Abie, see de fish. ‘Ell, ‘em ain’t no fish. Oh, ‘es ‘ey are fish.
And so on. Here’s that longer bit, from Tennessee:

M R snakes.
M R not.
S A R 2. C D EDBD I’s?

You have to say “EDBD” very quickly for the best effect. And I could go on like this. But I won’t. Because traffic here at the Cokesbury Party Blog is pretty dismal and I don’t want to drive my loyal followers away.

Now it’s refreshment time. And there’s a game for it:
Ask the guests what they want to eat. Tell them for an answer they must arrange themselves in formation so as to spell out what menu they want. There will be much fun as they try to get each other into formation. This can take place while the food is being prepared. Serve anything that is thought suitable.
But unless you’ve got a grocery store and a bevy of short order cooks on hand, just do what Cokesbury does and serve alphabet crackers with punch or tea, or apple pie a la mode, despite what your guests spell out. After all, if they spell out caviar, they ought to be bright enough to bring it with them.

Next week’s party is excruciatingly more active than this one. Put on your runnin’ pants for Cokesbury’s Athletic Party.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Alphabet Party Preview

There are many ways you could go with an Alphabet Party, and you can be sure that the Cokesbury Party Blog will present at least two options here that Cokesbury itself won't mention.

First, a Madrigal Alphabet Party:

Aw, bless.

And, a bit more awful: A Richard Gorey Alphabet Party:

Turn up the volume for this one. And pity poor Clara. She tries to hold it together to the end.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I Wonder . . .

I wonder, as the kookabura sits in the old gum tree, if he ponders the acceptability of making the tree he perches on into dice.

I probably wonder too many things.

Week Thirty-Six: Fifty Party

Cokesbury maybe possibly hints that some of your more conservative guests might, well, have a problem with this party, as it involves (whisper) dice. Personally, I’ve never understood why some people are shy of dice. What are they aside from being black-and-white polyhedral objects used in a wide variety of games?

Well, there’s the Flanders View:

Lisa: Where are the dice?
Todd: Daddy says dice are wicked.
Rod: We just move one space at a time. It's less fun that way.

But Cokesbury, ever-faithful to the faithful set, offers this delightful anti-dice workaround:

If it is not desirable to use dice, cubes can be made at small expense from wood. Any mill could make them out of wood. Gum wood cut into blocks three-quarters inch square could be painted white with black figured on them. For fifty cents any mill would make as many as twenty-five of these, but of course would not paint them. It is not even necessary to have them painted, and the figures could be printed on with ink [or] have figures printed on them corresponding to the numbers on a dice.
In other words, if your friends are uncomfortable with playing with dice, make some cubic, black-and-white dice-like objects. But they’re not dice. Having these dice-like objects manufactured, painted and stamped to look like dice doesn’t make them dice, per se, or . . . okay, they’re dice. Tell your dice-hating friends either to suck it up, or to stay away from the party or go play with the Flanderses.

Gum wood, Cokesbury advises, is the best wood to use for making your anti-dice dice:

It will be found that in using a wood block, made from gum wood, it is almost impossible to drop the block even a distance of three inches without having it turn over.
You may learn many, many, many more of the qualities of gum wood by visiting this site, populated by a man – or at least a clip art – that resembles Harrison Ford with a Walter Matthau nose:

I’m told this is Gustav Stickley, a name you would certainly anticipate going with a mug like that. Mr. Stickley is credited with being a “leading spokesman of the American Craftsman movement,” which explains his overt fascination with gum wood.

Let me back up a little here. Several paragraphs about dice for this party, and I haven’t even explained why you need them. It’s because you’re going to play a money-making dice game – Cokesbury doesn’t express any concern about you sponging your guests for money with a dice game, note – and you’re going to need a lot of dice to do it.

You’re going to play Fifty, a dice game to be explained in a few moments. More importantly, Cokesbury wants to point out that “this party may be used as a money-making party by selling the sides of the tables at from twenty-five cents to one dollar each, depending upon the financial ability of those who are to attend.”

So let’s tote that up. If, as Cokesbury recommends, you have six to ten tables, four sides per table, that means if you go cheap and charge four bits a side for ten tables, you’re going to gross TEN WHOLE DOLLARS. If you go totally bursar and charge a dollar a side, well, buddy, your gross will be forty big ones, enough in 1932 to buy several hundred ivory-handled backscratchers.

Now that you’re totally pumped with the Vegas casino-like profits of the evening, here’s the game:

The game is scored as follows: Anything double except three and six counts five. Double three cancels all your score for that game as well as that of your partner. Partners must begin again from zero, and mark only the score then made until the whistle blows. Fifty is a game, and the object is to see who gets to fifty first. The leader blows a whistle and all start throwing. Each player gets only one throw and the cubes then pass to the left. They all play until some couple gets a score of fifty, at which time they yell “Fifty.” The game then stops, and all players add up their score for that game. If the game is too fast like this, and it is desirable to slow it up, have the whole group controlled by the head table. All must play until the head table scores fifty. This will eliminate some of the necessity for haste.
Now I’ve read this party several times. I’ve used candles and lemon juice to try to find invisible writing in the margins. But nowhere can I find what happens if, for example, one rolls a double six, or any dice combination that isn’t a double of anything. Are those rolls scored? What do double-sixes equal? I’m so confused.

Cokesbury advises that it’ll take twelve to fifteen rounds to fill the evening. After the game is over, remove your dice-like objects from the table and serve . . . cake and punch or cake and ice cream. No sandwiches. Unless you’ve got loads left over from past parties.

There you go. Now, on to next week and the Alphabet Party. Cokesbury naturally chooses the Roman alphabet, but it’s possible to modify this to Greek or Cyrillic or whatever. Unless, of course, you’ve got guests who are afraid of any letter outside the traditional twenty-six. In that case, get some more gum wood . . .

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Preview: Fifty

First of all, these guys are twenty-five pounds of groovy in individual ten-pound bags. Much too groovy for Cokesbury's Fifty Party, coming up this weekend.

To test potential guests to see if they're ready for a Fifty Party, show them the following photograph. Those who run away in fear might be better off not showing up. Trust me.

If they're okay with that photo, show them this one:

This one probably weeded out those who were faking being stouthearts. This last one will get rid of the weenies:

Whatever you do, DON'T show these photos in reverse order. Those who fled at the first one would likely spontaneously combust if exposed to the third photograph. Even those who made it through the first photo will likely wither at the sight of the third. Don't ask me why.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Week Thirty-Five: Measuring Party

Some time last year, I read a posting on a national news story that went something like this: “Nowadays it’s only the fatties and the Mormons you can make fun of. But at least the Mormons have a sense of humor.” That immediately came to mind when I read Cokesbury’s Measuring Party, which encourages “some organization in the church” to make money for some purpose by charging party attendees a penny per inch of waistline. I can see this party going over very well these days, especially if fatties have developed a sense of humor since that posting was made.

Cokesbury suggests you invite a lot of people. That they be fat may be implied, though it’s telling in Cokesbury’s description that obesity was not yet an epidemic in the United States in 1932:
A hundred people averaging thirty inches waist measure would bring in thirty dollars.
It’s also telling that it’s not only our waistlines that are inflated:
This is more money than the average group will make in one night on a dinner or other feature.
Remember, this was 1932. Most of your guests would have had an onion tied to their belts as well, which was the style at the time.

Here’s the invitation:

This little apron is sent to you,
And this is what we wish you’d do:

A little pocket in front you’ll see,
And for a special purpose it’s meant to be.

Measure your waistline, inch by inch;
Don’t draw in your breath, don’t pull, don’t pinch.

Then for each inch you measure round
In the apron pocket put a penny sound.

This game is fair, you will admit;
You “waist” your money, we pocket it.

Now if the size of your waist you will not tell.
Just slip in a dollar – ‘twill do quite as well.

All “waist” money which the pocket pays
The Woman’s Council will use in the wisest ways.

Bring your apron with you and don’t be late;
Place: First Christian Church; September 1, the date.

So dig up the cash and put on a smile,
And we’ll throw care away for a little while.

The assumption here is that you’ll substitute the name of your group and the place of the party in the invitation. Unless of course you want to enrage your feminist/atheist or feminist and atheist friends with the obvious cultural underpinnings of holding the party at a Christian church for a woman’s organization. Since both are said in company, it’s a guarantee they won’t be burning their bras. Cokesbury also advises sending overalls to the men, rather than aprons. Unless, of course, you’ve got metrosexuals in your midst who aren’t shy about being seen in an apron. Or if the fatties on your list just want to go with a muumuu.

Of course you’re not literally sending aprons or overalls. That would be cost-prohibitive and wasteful, unless, of course, you were planning on later hosting a Hobo Party or School Days Party, in which the garments could play a costuming role. Still, you’re better off following Cokesbury’s advice:
These aprons and overalls are very little trouble to make. They can be made from scraps of material. Just a piece of cloth cut in the shape of an apron or overall with a bit of binding around it will suffice. Be sure to get the pocket on it, for that is the important part.
From here on out, you’re pretty much on your own, party-wise. With this many people at your party, it’s “impractical,” Cokesbury says, to play games. So you’ll want a program. They do offer some advice:

Orchestra. “Almost any orchestra will be glad to give their services for such a program,” Cokesbury says. If, of course, they’re not busy recording music for George Lucas’ next film and you can afford their massive fee. Orchestras aren’t as charitable these days as they were in the ‘30s.

Recitation or Monologue. Humorous, if possible. I’m sure Kenny Kynoch is available. (Understand my ramblings by reading the latter half of the School Days Party entry.)

Comic Skit or Black-Face Comedy. “If there are two who are good black-face artists, they may be able to use material given in Chapter LII, ‘The Minstrel Show.’” That’s a party the Cokesbury Party Blog will handle with nuclear criticality care, to be sure, if I’m not sued into oblivion by the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton before then for even bringing the subject up.

Of course, they haven’t sued Neil Diamond. Yet.

You’re on to refreshments now. The obligatory sandwiches are mentioned. As is this doozy: “Almost any bakery will donate paper plates to a church organization for a party of this kind as a means of advertising.” Try that today and you’ll get laughed out of the store with a sizzling donut hole stuck to your melting forehead.

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.

No, that’s a crummy commercial.

Be sure to tune in next week for Cokesbury’s exciting Fifty Party. No, I don’t know what it means either.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gonna Have A Good Time!

I hinted last week that I wasn’t exactly sure how I’d present the next few parties Cokesbury has in store for you, as they shifted gears enough to make presentation on my part a bit more challenging. I toyed around with a few ideas and then it hit me: Just let the parties sell themselves. That’s what they’ve done all along.

So as you prepare for next weekend’s Measuring Party, keep this song in mind.

It might make your party more financially rewarding if you can find a lot of Fat Alberts to attend.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Week Thirty-Four: Indian Party

We’ve all been to parties like this, where the evening goes so entirely awkward from the first second that the party ends abruptly, early, and with an air of relief. Marge Simpson knows the feeling – she attended that infamous New Year’s Eve party at Lenny’s, “and he didn’t even have a clock.”

Cokesbury’s Indian Party is like that. It wouldn’t even be held in these politically-correct times (but if you think this is bad, wait until we present, with much trepidation, Cokesbury’s minstrel show). And although Cokesbury declaims in its introduction to this party that the “Indians were a picturesque people, and some of their manners and customs are well known to all,” it seems the only customs mentioned in the party are those you’d see in a vaudeville act about Indians in full wampum-paying, scalping, peace pipe-smoking glory.

Here’s the invitation, patterned, Cokesbury says, after Longfellow’s poem Hiawatha:

By the side of Tenth and Olive
Stands the wigwam of the princess,
And she sends to all the village
Messengers with wands of willow
A sign of invitation,
As a token of the feasting,
And she bids us all assemble
For an Indian Party, Friday
And at eight we are to gather.

With Longfellow’s romantic ode thus butchered, it’s time to move on to other incorrectness, such as costumes.

Request should be made that everyone come in Indian costume as far as possible. If costumes are not available, each guest should be provided with a feather headdress made of paper. These may either be made or secured from the March Brothers publishing Company, Lebanon, Ohio, at a low price. A blanket and beads can be worn in such a way that they make an effective costume.
In other words, try to look like these guys. (Old-timey Indian action starts at 2:14) Bonus: Watch this clip from the beginning and try to spot Jackie Coogan/Uncle Fester. And don’t get me wrong. This film, The Shakiest Gun in the West, is one of my favorites. But that doesn’t mean they depict the Indians correctly.

With your authentic Indian costumes on display, it’s time to move on to some authentic Indian games, showing that indeed, as Cokesbury says, Indian manners and customs are known by all:

Big Game Hunt. Before the guests arrived the hostess has hidden around the room animal crackers with numbers on them or animals cut out of cardboard with numbers on them. The guests are told to find them, and the tribe that finds the largest number will get a prize. Prizes for the evening may be feathers to put in the headdress. In this case each one in the tribe that finds the largest number or whose total score, taking the numbers from the animals, makes the largest total wins.
This is, of course, mirroring the fine Indian tradition of scurrying around the house looking like an idiot, trying to find animal crackers, trying not to tread on the crackers and trying not to eat the crackers before the score is tallied.

Then we move on to this game:

Indian Tribes. The guests are supplied with sheets of paper, typewritten, using carbons, or mimeographed:

What Indian tribe is
(1) A girls name? Sioux
(2) Flowing streams? Creeks
(3) Known by its caws? Crow.
(4) The name for a South Atlantic state? Delaware.
(5) Slang for “you’re wise to it.” Huron (You’re on).
(6) A vowel and an herb? Osage
(7) The lower extremities of a Negro? Blackfeet.
And we stop there. See? You’ve managed to offend two races in a single party. Care to try for a trifecta?

And note: I love the celebration of ‘modern’ technology in this game. The sheets are typewritten. And duplicated using carbons or a mimeograph. A mimeograph! How quaint.

Let’s move on to the word you’ve all been waiting for:

Squaws’ Relay. An equal number of squaws are chosen from each tribe. They stand in parallel line facing a goal. The goal is about twenty feet from the head of each line and is made by a circle drawn on the floor about eighteen inches in diameter. In this are placed five Indian clubs or Coca-Cola bottles. Each squaw runs to the circle, the first taking the clubs out of the circle, the next placing the clubs back in the circle. The tribe that finishes first wins.
Squaw squaw squaw. Once again Cokesbury presents a party meant to make progressive heads just explode.

Here’s another chance for some good old-fashioned Indian fun:

Archery Contest. Secure from the five-and-ten-cent store a bow and arrows. The target may be the usual target with circles on it, numbered so that the center circle about four inches in diameter counts twenty-five, the second circle, twenty, the third fifteen, the fourth ten, and the fifth five. The score of each one is kept and the score by tribes. A prize should be given the best individual archer and the prizes to the best tribe.

Another way to do this would be to cut from cardboard the shapes of animals, mounting these on bases so that they will stand up. Have some larger and some smaller. Graduate so that to hit the small one will count twenty-five, the next largest twenty, and next largest fifteen, and so on. Give prizes in the same manner as described above.
Just remember when you get a bunch of enthusiastic folks in the same room with archery equipment, hijinx can result. Observe:

On to something perhaps a bit more sophisticated. No more politically correct, of course.

Medicine Dance. Squares or circles are marked off on the floor in such a way that couples marching around will not be able to avoid them. Somone plays a lively tune, such as “Turkey in the Straw” and all march. When the music suddenly stops, whoever is inside a ring must take a seat. This is done by couples, and if one of the two is in the ring, both must be seated. The object is to see which couple can remain on the floor the longest. This may be done twice if it goes over well the first time and there is plenty of time.
Turkey in the Straw. That song just oozes Indian sophistication:

That’s George Rock on the trumpet, by the way.

One last game. Because Indians do a lot of hopping. And spelling, apparently.

Hopping Relay. Six contestants are selected to represent each group and are arranged in lines at one side of the room. At the opposite side of the room a large blackboard should be provided. The first contestant in each group should be given a piece of chalk and at the signal will hop on one foot to the blackboard, write the letter “I,” hop back, and hand the chalk to the second man in his line, who hops to the board and writes “N,” and continuing until the word “Indian” has been written.
And so on. Maybe after this party, you’ll understand how Chief Joseph felt:

That’s it. Time for refreshments such as apples, nuts, pop corn, and “laughing water (lemonade), wolf meat (hot dogs).”



Aaand be sure to tune in next week, when you’ll see the author stumble over how to present the next few parties in the book in a way that makes sense. It might not be easy. So next week might be a Measuring Party. Or it might not. Stay tuned.