Volume VI, No. 1, Fall 1978




WE'VE GOT A PIG IN THE PARLOR

A COLLECTION OF OZARK PLAY PARTY GAMES

by Rebecca Baldwin and Patsy Watts

illustrated by Patsy Watts


I turned the doorknob slowly and pushed the door open with a sigh of apprehension. One by one, I pushed the chairs against the wall to make an open space in the middle of the room. The blank tile floor seemed to mock me--its dull scuffed finish said, "Don't tread on me." The others' laughter rang through the halls of our high school as they came to join me. I could sense their reserve and at the same time their giddiness. The instructor said, "Clear your throats and stomp your feet. We're going to learn some play party games!"

Play party games were the main source of entertainment and social activity for youth our age years ago. Words, melody and movement all mingled together to create a fun and energetic outlet for children and youth alike. Any child who could learn the words and keep up the pace could play and even twenty-year-olds would join the fun.

Play party games, sometimes called singing games, are catchy little tunes with lyrics and actions. Although common entertainment of today, like dancing and card-playing, was looked upon with disapproval, play party games were not. Usually every Saturday night someone would have a play party and people would come from miles around by horseback or wagon to attend. In the warm months they were held on the moonlit dewey lawn and in the winter furniture was pushed back and carpets rolled up to make room for as many as twenty or thirty people.

Besides a fun way to exercise, play parties offered a perfect chance to meet a pretty girl or handsome boy or even begin a courtship. Some games were just right for boy and girl friends and others for uneven numbers and mixers. Some were kind of silly and some were quite complicated. But all were, and still are, fun.

Logically, before one can write about how to do something, one must actually do it first. That explains the episode in an unused classroom on a chilly afternoon with a bunch of giggling, self-conscious youths who had never heard of play party games five minutes before. As the room heated up and laughter became louder, I began to think, "This isn't so bad. I'm really enjoying myself!" And as the bell rang, I hurried off the even more scuffed floor, chest heaving, humming the catchy lyrics, "Green gravel, green gravel, the grass is so green..."

[49]

GREEN GRAVEL

(1)Green gravel, green gravel,
   The grass is so green.
   Three matrons, three matrons,
   You're 'shamed to be seen.

(2) Dear _______, Dear _______,
(3) Your true love is dead.
   He (she) wrote you a letter,
   To turn back your head.

Formation: Large single circle, players in any order facing the center with hands joined.

(1) The players skip around the circle.
(2)Continue skipping, but add the name of one of the players. (Everyone sings the same name.)
(3)Players stand still. The person whose name was sung drops hands and turns around facing outward. She says the name of her boy friend (girl friend). Then without turning back around, she rejoins hands with the players beside her and repeat (1). This time a new person is chosen and she (he), too, must turn around and say the boy or girl friend's name. The game continues until everyone is facing outward and has revealed the name of the person each likes.

FARMER IN THE DELL

(1)The farmer in the dell
   The farmer in the dell,
   Heigh, ho, the derry-o,
   The farmer in the dell.

(2)The farmer takes a wife,
   The farmer takes a wife,
   Heigh, ho, the derry-o,
   The farmer takes a wife.

(3) The wife takes a child, etc.

(4)The child takes a nurse, etc.
   The nurse takes a dog, etc.
   The dog takes a cat, etc.
   The cat takes a rat, etc.
   The rat takes a cheese, etc.

(5)The cheese stands alone, etc.Formation: Large single circle with players (usually young children) in any order hands joined. Inside the circle stands one extra player who is the farmer in the dell.
(1)The circle skips around counterclockwise While the farmer stands in the center.
(2)The farmer chooses a girl to be his "wife" and she joins him in the center.
(3)The circle skips around again until the wife chooses the child.
(4) The game continues as the child chooses a nurse, the nurse chooses a dog, etc., as the song dictates until the cheese is chosen.
(5)The players inside the circle, except the cheese, rejoin the circle and continue skipping around singing the last verse

LOOBY LOO

If you have ever carried water to an old wash tub to take a bath, you may have had an experience similar to this one. This is a story of a child taking his weekly bath on Saturday night. Most every week they heated water, but this Saturday they didn't, and he had to bathe in cold water.

(1) Oh, here we go Looby Loo,
   Oh, here we go Looby light,
   Oh, here we go Looby Loo,
   All on a Saturday night.

(2) I put my right foot in,
   I take my right foot out,
   I put my right foot in,
   And shake it all about.

I put my left foot in, etc.

I put my right hand in, etc.

I put my left hand in, etc.

I put my right elbow in, etc.

I put my left elbow in, etc.

I put my little head in, etc.

I put my whole self in, etc.

Formation: Large single circle with players in any order.
(1)Everyone sings and skips around the circle.
(2)Circle stops and everyone imitates the actions of the leader. He acts out the words of the song, putting his foot in cold icy water, etc. The more exaggerated the actions are, the funnier the game is!
(1)Repeat the chorus between each action. The leader can add new verses, prolonging the action as desired.

[51]

NEEDLE'S EYE

(1) Needle's eye that doth supply
   The thread that runs so truly,
   Many a lass did I let pass
   Because I wanted you.

(2) You, you, you, you, you, you,
   Many a lass did I let pass
   Because I wanted you.
 

Additional choruses:

Many a guy did I let by...

Many a feller I kicked down the cellar...Formation: Single circle in any order. Players join hands. The "needle's eye" is formed by a boy and girl forming an arch over the circle of players.

(1)The circle moves clockwise through the eye.
(2)While the circle is moving, the player on the inside catches a new partner by lowering the arch and imprisoning him between their arms. This player then becomes the inside of the arch, the inside player crosses to the outside player's space, as the retiring player goes under the new arch and joins the circle, thus keeping the circle moving smoothly. This game is a good ice-breaker and can be played with an uneven number of boys and girls.

[52]

GOIN 'N' OUT THE WINDOW

(1)Go in 'n' out the window,
   Go in 'n' out the window,
   Go in 'n' out the window,
   As we have done before.

(2)Go forth and choose your lover,
  Go forth and choose your lover,
  Go forth and choose your lover,
  For we have gained the day.

(3)I kneel because I love you, etc.

(4)I measure my love to show you, etc.

(5)One kiss and then I leave you, etc.

Formation: Single circle of couples facing the center with hands joined in arches. Several extra players are in the middle of the circle.
(1)The players inside the circle weave in and out counterclockwise under the clasped hands of the other players.
(2)The extra players inside choose a partner and stand facing him.
(3)They kneel down in front of the partner they choose.
(4)The players on their knees stretch their arms measuring the amount they love their partners.
(5)The players inside the circle take their new partners in skating formation and skip around inside the circle counterclockwise back to place in the circle. In skating position partners cross arms to hold left hand in left hand and right hand in right hand. The players without partners go to the center. Repeat the game.

COME MY LOVE

(1)Come, my love, and go with me,
Come, my love, and go with me,
Come, my love, and go with me,
And I will take good care of thee.

(2)You are too young, you are not fit,
You are too young, you are not fit,
You are too young, you are not fit,
You cannot leave your mother "yit."

(3) You're old enough, you're just about
right, (etc.)
I'll ask your mother next Saturday
night.
Formation: Double circle facing counterclockwise, with boys on inside. Hands may be crossed, skating style. Extra boys (or girls) in the middle.

(1) Partners march in time to music.
(2)Partners drop hands, boys reverse directions and girls continue in the same direction. Extra players join in.
(3)Boys take new partners and swing them. Those without partners go to the center and repeat from beginning with new partners.

[53]

SKIP TO MY LOU

(1) Skip, skip, skip to my Lou;
(2) Skip, skip, skip to my Lou;
(3) Skip, skip, skip to my Lou;
(4) Skip to my Lou, my darling.

(6)I've lost my girl now what'll I do? I've lost my girl now what'll I do? I've lost my girl now what'll I do? Skip to my Lou, (5) my darling.
 

I'll get another one, a better one too, etc.

Flies in the sugar blow, shoo fly shoo, etc.

If I can't get a red bird a blue bird'll do, etc.

Pickles are sour, and so are you, etc.

I'll get her back in spite of you,

(Other verses may be added and new ones made up to make the game funnier and more interesting.)

Formation: Large single circle facing the center, with the girls on the right of their partners. Extra boy(s) is in the center.
(1)Everyone sings and claps hands in rhythm with the verse started by the extra boy in the center of the circle who skips counterclockwise around the inside of the circle.
(5)The center boy steals someone's partner by taking her hands and skipping in skating fashion all the way around the circle and back to her own place.
(6)The boy whose girl was taken skips around the circle behind the couple during the next verse and at (5) steals another girl, skipping around the circle with her.

Repeat as long as everyone is enjoying the game.

If the circle is especially large, there can be several boys skipping around the circle at the same time. This way everyone gets to play more.

Variation:

(1)The girls take three quick steps to the center of circle and then back.
(2)The boys all go to the center and form a smaller circle inside the larger one.
(3)The boys join hands and promenade to the left.
(4)The boys drop hands, turn around quickly and swing the girls behind them. The players that do not get partners go to the center and the game is repeated.

[54]

OLD DAN TUCKER

(1)Old Dan Tucker came to town,
   Swing those pretty girls 'round
      and 'round.

(2) First to the right,

(3) then to the left,

(4) Then to the one that you love best.

(5)Get out the way, Old Dan Tucker,
   You're too late to stay for supper;
   Supper's over, breakfast's cookin',
   Old Dan Tucker jes' stands a-lookin'.

Variations on lyrics:
(1)Old Dan Tucker was a fine old man,
Washed his face in the frying pan,

(2)Combed his hair

(3) with a wagon wheel

(4) And died of a toothache in his heel.

(5)Get out of the way, Old Dan Tucker,
He's too late to get his supper.
Supper's over and the dishes washed
Nothin' left but a piece of squash.

Formation: Large single circle of couples holding hands with girls on the right of their partners. An extra boy (or boys) stands in the center as "Old Dan Tucker."

(1)Everyone in the circle keeps hands joined and skips to the left in rhythm.
(2)"Old Dan" picks a girl and swings her to the right by linking right arms.
(3)He takes another girl and swings her to the left with left arms.
(4)He then picks a third girl, swings her, leaving her original partner to be "Old Dan" the next time.
(5)Couples all join hands in skating position and skip around the circle counterclockwise. The new "Old Dan Tucker" goes to the center and the circle is reformed at the end of the chorus as the game repeats.

SHOO FLY

(1)Shoo fly, don't bother me,
   Shoo fly, don't bother me,

(2)Shoo fly, don't bother me,
   For I belong to somebody,

(3)I do, I do, I do,
   And I ain't gotta tell you who,
   For I belong to somebody,
   Yes, indeed, I do.

Formation: Large single circle of couples facing the center with the girls on the right of their partners.

(1)Everyone joins hands and takes four steps to the center of the circle. Then, still holding hands, everyone takes four steps backward to their places.
(2)Repeat (1).
(3)The circle is turned inside out: one couple lifts their inside hands and the couple on the opposite side of the circle starts across leading the others. Everyone in the circle keeps hands joined. One by one the couples pass under the arch. When everyone is through, the couple making the arch turns under their own hands. In this way the circle is reformed without anyone dropping hands. Every one in the circle is now facing out. (Song may need to be sung twice to get the whole circle turned. Repeat (1) and (2), walking backwards Repeat (3), only this time in reverse as the circle is turned right side out again.

PIG IN THE PARLOR

(1) We've got the pig in the parlor,
   We've got the pig in the parlor,
   We've got the pig in the parlor,
   And it is Irish, too.
(2)Oh, your right hand to your partner,
(3)Your left hand to your neighbor,
(4)Your right hand to your partner,
(5)And all promenade.

And all promenade,
And all promenade

(6) Swing your left hand
   lady 'round,
   And all promenade,

(1) We've got a new pig
   in the parlor, etc., or
The same old pig's in the parlor, etc.

Formation: Single circle facing in with girls on boys' right, hands joined. An extra player is the "pig" in the center.

(1)Circle left.
(2)Partners join right hands and turn half way around.
(3)Boys turn the next girl in the circle completely around with left hand.
(4)Boy returns to original partners and join right hands.
(5)Partners promenade counterclockwise in skating fashion.
(6)Boys swing the girls behind them and

keep them for new partners.

The "pig" tries to get a partner during any of these actions. If the "pig" does get a partner the new "pig" goes to the center and the song is repeated, starting with "We've got a new pig..."

If the pig does not get a partner, repeat the song, starting with "The same old pig's..."

[56]

MILLER BOY

(1) Happy is the Miller who lived by
      the mill.
   The wheel goes 'round with a right
      good will.
   One hand in the hopper and the other
      in the sack,

(2) The wheel turns a-round and we all
      turn back.

(Repeat first three lines)

(3) Ladies go forward and gents fall
      back.

Formation: Double circle facing counterclockwise with boys on the inside. Partners join hands behind their backs, with girl's right hand in the boy's right hand and her left hand in his left hand. The extra player(s), the Miller Boy(s), is inside the circle.

(1) The circle moves forward with a skip-hop, skip-hop or a fast walk with a skip now and then between the steps.
(2)The circle reverses directions without dropping hands, girls remaining on the outside. To do this, partners turn out in opposite directions, keeping their hands joined.
(1)Repeat but now the circle is moving in the opposite direction.
(2)The circle is again facing counterclockwise.
(1)Everyone skips forward.
(3)Couples drop hands. The girls continue in the same direction. The boys step back to get a new partner. Extra player(s) tries to get partner at this time. Those without partners become the new Miller Boy(s). Repeat game.

[57]

OLD BRASS WAGON

(1) Jolting up and down in the old brass
      wagon,
   Jolting up and down in the old brass
      wagon,
   Jolting up and down in the old brass
      wagon,

(2) You're the one my darling.
(3)Right and left in the old brass wagon, Right and left in the old brass wagon, Right and left in the old brass wagon, You're the one, my darling.

One wheel off and the other one a-dragging, etc.

We'll all run away with the old brass wagon, etc.

Variations:

Lead her up and down in the little brass wagon, etc.

One wheel off and the axle is a-dragging, etc.

Two wheels off and the axle is a-dragging, etc.

Formation: Two facing straight lines with boys in one, girls in the other, partners opposite.

(1)The head couple joins both hands and gallops between the two lines to the end, and then back to starting place.
(2)The head girl and boy switch sides by hooking right elbows and turning in the center.
(3)The head boy and second girl hook left elbows as the head boy proceeds down the line turning each girl alternating first right, then left elbows.

As the head boy leaves each girl, she hooks right elbows and turns with her partner, thus switching lines. While the head boy is doing this action, the head girl is doing it on the boys' line. Continue until the head couple has turned everyone. Then they stay at the end.

Repeat with the second couple as new head couple and continue until every couple has been head couple.

[58]

RED RIVER VALLEY

(1) Now you lead right down to the valley,
(2) And you circle to the left and to the
   right.
(3) Now you swing the girl in the valley,
(4) And you swing with your Red River Gal.

(1) Now you lead right down to the valley,
(2) And you circle to the left and to the
   right.
(5) Now the girls make a wheel in the
   valley,
(6) And the boys doe-si-doe so polite.

(1) Now you lead right down to the valley,
(2) And you circle to the left and to the
   right.
(7) Now you lose your girl in the valley,
(8) And you lose your Red River Gal.

Formation: This game is for more girls than boys. Two trios each consisting of two girls with a boy between and standing three abreast face each other. It takes at least eight trios to form the big circle needed for the game.

(1)Each trio links elbows and walks diagonally forward, passing the opposite trio on the right.
(2)As each trio faces a new trio, join hands and circle four steps to the left, then four steps to the right.
(3)Each boy swings the girl on his right while the one on the left stands still.
(4)Now the boy swings the left-hand girl.

Repeat (1) and (2).
(5)The four girls in each pair of trios form a right-hand star.
(Two girls join right hands as the other two girls join right hands across the first pair.) They circle eight steps clockwise back to their starting position.
(6)The two boys doe-si-doe. (Each boy folds arms in front, shoulder level, and advances forward, passing other boy's right shoulder. Each boy now returns to starting position by backing past boy's left shoulder.) Repeat (1) and (2).
(7)Boys take the right-hand girls" hands and turn them under their right arms as the girls cross over to change places with the right girl of the opposite trio.
(8)Boys turn their left hand girls under their left arm in the same manner while the girls cross over to change places. Now each boy has two new partners to repeat the game.

[59]

TOPSY DOWN THE ALLEY

(1) Here comes Topsy down the alley,
   Here comes Topsy down the alley,
   Here comes Topsy down the alley,
   Down in (2) Alabama.

(3)Hand on the shoulder and promenade,
   Hand on the shoulder and promenade,
   Hand on the shoulder and promenade,
   Down in Alabama.

Formation: A double circle facing counterclockwise with girls on the outside. Extra girls stand in center.

(1)Partners face each other and clap while the extras go counterclockwise down the alley that is formed between the partners.
(2)On the last two counts of ba-ma, the girls try to keep their partners by placing their left hands on the right shoulders of their partners before an extra girls does so. If the extra reaches the boy before his partner does, the extra takes the girl's place. The girls now goes to the center for the chorus. (The extra has an advantage by being in motion and closer to the boys.)
(3)Couples promenade with girls' left hand on boys' right shoulder and boys' right arm around girls' waist. Reapeat as desired.

PAWPAW PATCH(music the same as "Topsy Down the Alley")

(1)Where, oh where is sweet little Suzy,
  Where, oh where is sweet little Suzy,
  Where, oh where is sweet little Suzy?
  Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch.

(2) Come on, boys, let's go find her,
  Come on, boys, let's go find her,
  Come on, boys, let's go find her,
  Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch.

(3) Picking up pawpaw, putting them in the pocket, etc.

Formation: Two straight lines with boys in one line, partners opposite them in the other line, all facing forward.

(1)The first girl skips around the out side of the two lines and back to her place. Players sing name of the girl.
(2)Same girl leads the boys around the lines in the same route, single file, then all come back to place.
(3)Partners join both hands and head couple leads partners around the same course, making scooping motions with their joined hands. This time the head couple remains at the end of the line, forming an arch with both arms. The other couples go back to place, passing through the arch. When the new first couple reaches their place, they often wring the dishrag. Others follow in turn.

[60]

Repeat until every girl's name is used. (Boys' names also.)

BINGO

(1) A farmer's black dog sat on the back
      porch,
   And Bingo was his name.
   A farmer's black dog sat on the back
      porch,
   And Bingo was his name.

(2)B, I, N, G, O,
   B, I, N, G, O,
   B, I, N, G, O,
And Bingo was his name.

(3) (Spoken) B, I, N, G, Oh!

Formation: Double circle facing counterclockwise, with boys on inside.

(1)Partners join hands in skating fashion and, starting with left foot, march counterclockwise.
(2)Partners drop back into a single circle, boy behind his partner, join hands and continue marching.
(3)Partners face each other and begin a grand right and left. Partners join right hands on spoken letter B. Boys continue counterclockwise, girls clockwise, passing each other extend--ing their left hands to next partner, on I, right hands to next on N, and left hands on G. At the OH! the boys hug or swing their fourth players who become their new partners with whom they repeat the game.

Special thanks are extended to Eula York and Ruby Watts for their helpful contributions.

[61]


Copyright 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.


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