Catch a Tigerbyjthserra©
Catch a Tiger
Hide and seek, we played it all the time. And at reunions, when all the cousins got together, we played late into the evening. My aunt and uncle's house sat at the top of a hill at the edge of some woods. With the addition of the tree house the yard made an excellent site for hide and seek. Since the younger cousins played too, the games were not all that serious, but we all played hard.
Forty-nine . . . forty-eight . . . forty-seven . . . We all dashed across the back yard looking for hiding places. As the oldest, I usually inherited a little cousin or two trying to take advantage of my experience at hiding. Carol-Ann followed pretty well for a five-year-old. The same age as my sister, at least she listened to me and stayed quiet when we hid. With her short dark hair, I had to work extra hard to camouflage her in the leaves.
At least she didn't give away my hiding spot when I sacrificed her. When caught she just stood up and stared intently at the seeker, her brown eyes seemed to redirect the seeker's eyes through shear will. Too young to realize I sold her out, whenever my hiding place was jeopardized, she made a pretty good teammate.
As we got older, we played flashlight tag. Basically hide and seek in the dark. By that time Carol-Ann figured out that when she teamed with me, she usually got caught. She now ventured on her own to find hiding places. Our cousins from the city, Mary-Lee and Joseph came visiting and joined in the games. Joseph, or Jofis as my sister called him, was a bit timid of the woods. While not the youngest of the bunch, Carol-Ann and my sister were younger, he wasn't used to wide open forests.
With very predictable hiding places, I used him to help me hide in places very close to home base. The seeker always headed directly to Joseph's hiding place, so I could quickly get to home base without getting spotted. While he didn't make a loyal teammate like Carol-Ann, he remained useful to me.
Later, when we played hide and seek for the younger ones, I would hide with Kay, Carol-Ann's big sister. Although, Kay was two years younger than I was, closer to my brother's age, we were both at the point we noticed the opposite sex. While we never were kissing cousins, we both got a bit of a thrill sneaking off and hiding together. I think we both felt the slight tingling in our stomachs, as if we were doing something secret and forbidden.
Unlike her little sister, her light hair was easy to camouflage in the leaves and tan grass. Her blue eyes matched the sky and I kidded her that she could just stand still and she would blend into the tall grass and blue sky. Being the two oldest of the cousins, we rarely were caught unless one of us just wanted to be it. The only time we were in jeopardy of being it was at the start of the game, when the youngest would pick out the first seeker.
"Eenie, meany, miney, moe! Catch a tiger by his toe, if he hollers let him go. Eenie, meany, miney, moe!" Carol-Ann recited.
"Okay Paul, it looks like you're it." He hung his head as we all scattered for hiding places.
Older now, we all went our separate ways. Kay moved to Northern California, my brother to Southern California, I moved to Texas. No longer playing hide and seek, our games were more serious now. Carol-Ann remained in the Poconos, my sister packed up for Germany, and I am not even sure where Paul moved. We talked in emails, letters, and an occasional visit while on business trips. Husbands and wives, and a couple of kids added to our group.
"... moe!" Carol-Ann recited.
"Okay Paul, it looks like you're it."
Many cancers, detected early with proper treatment can be successfully treated and, in some cases, eliminated. Paul, Kay’s and Carol-Ann's brother, a middle child, was my brother's age. Smaller than us and not as athletic, we tended to trample him in football and baseball. He did play a pretty good hide and seek. Fair haired like Kay, he camouflaged well and avoided being it most of the time, unless he got picked at the beginning of the game.
Later, cancer picked Paul. Living so far away, I only got tidbits of information: surgery successful, chemo starts soon, lymph nodes removed, no apparent spread. I got the email from my aunt; it looks like Paul will be okay. He now works on being a cancer survivor.
Suddenly the cousins all became statistics. Hide as we might, the percentages found us. Cancer found Paul. I wonder now how well the rest of us will hide with heart disease, car wrecks, or more cancer, all seeking, playing percentages. The games are so much more serious now.