The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Playing Indians, from Growing Up On Coon Fork

By Allie Mae Reed © 1988

Issue: May, 1988

There was one game we played that took a lot of time and preparation. We would take Mom's butcher knife to cut down large iron weeds to build a wigwam to live in. That meant we would walk all over the meadow to gather them. When we would build the wigwams, we would cross the iron weed at the top so they would stand up, and leave an opening in the front for a door. Then we would go back to gather small dried ones for spears. If we had a lot of time, we would cut a sour wood sprout and use it to make a bow. We would bend it, then stretch a string across the ends. We would find poke berries to paint our faces with. The poke berry juice would make my face itch.

There would always be a big argument as to which one would be chief. When we finally reached an agreement, we would get ready and put our hands over our mouths and yell, making a warbling sound and dancing around. Then we would go forth into battle. "Old Running Bear" couldn't hold a light to us, we thought.

After a hard day of playing we would all be very tired and itching from chiggers all over us (from the iron weeds). My, the fun we would have when I was a small child.