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Reindeer Games . . . Or Cow Games

Matthew is really good at spotting houses with Christmas lights while we are in the car. He is also learning to count. So, I decided I would share with the boys a game I played with my brother around Christmastime — counting houses with Christmas lights. Back in the day, my brother and I would count the houses with Christmas lights on our respective sides of the car and the one who had the most when we arrived at our destination won. Of course, we didn’t really win anything, except the privilege of saying “I won” but when you’re 7 years old and you just beat your 5 year old brother, saying “I won, ha ha!” was enough.

Needless to say, the boys were less than excited to hear about that game. I guess either the thrill of competition just isn’t there, or the lack of technology makes the game boring . . . I don’t know, but they weren’t really interested.

Thinking about that game brought back memories of car trips with my family . . . the “you’re on my side of the car!” arguments, the races to the front seat for shotgun rights, the sounds of “stop looking at me!” reverberating though the car . . . Good times. Anyway, our family vacations consisted of camping trips or visiting relatives in Alabama. To keep us occupied in the car on these long trips, our parents came up with games to play. Most likely, you played some of these games yourself — the license plate game, for example.

We played another game that I guess is called The Cow Game. I haven’t heard of any other people playing this game, but I did find it suggested on some websites, so I know someone else out there played it, too. Just a warning: It’s a little morbid.

Here’s how you play: each kid gets a side of the road corresponding to his/her side of the car(sorry for the kid in the middle) and the object is to count as many cows as you can before you come to a cemetery on your side of the road. If you pass a cemetery, it means your cows died and you have to start all over. At the end of the trip, the one with the most surviving cows wins. Morbid, huh? But traveling in Georgia and Alabama, there were lots of cows and lots of little churches with cemeteries, so it was actually a pretty good game to keep us occupied. Maybe it’s just a southern thing.


3 Responses

  1. I too enjoyed counting Christmas lights with Brian. I have actually attempted to get Steve in on the game, but for some reason he just isn’t as excited about counting Christmas lights as I am. Hopefully, I can trick Grant into playing with me a few years from now. WE did however play the cow game when we made the trip to Oklahoma when Matthew was born!

  2. Memories…On our last trip to Jax, I tried to institute the “Cow Game.” It didn’t go over well. James said it was boring, Anna just kept talking about her “stuffed” cow she sleeps with every night. I tried to keep the game going, but it became dangerous at 75 mph on I-10 to keep my eyes in a pasture. So, we put a movie on.

  3. Suuure…it’s ALWAYS, “sorry for the kid in the middle.” Who will stand up for the poor kid in the middle with no cows (excepting, I suppose, for those cows who are in semis ahead or behind the vehicle)? Aha! That’s it! Middle children get ALL the cattle trucks, and no cemeteries unless ol’ dad happens to drive through one while looking for a shortcut through the middle of Louisiana…but I digress. Next vacation, I’m SO gonna go to Lubbock, sit in the middle of the backseat, and kick some serious bee-hind at the Cow game!

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