Back in the late fifties and early sixties (yeah, that was last century) we kids on Lefferts Avenue, in Brooklyn, used to play a game called, Hot Peas And Butter. Somebody went and got their father’s best butt beatin’ belt and a “papa” was chosen (either by “Engine Engine Number Nine” with the feet or by “The Odd Finger Is It” with the fingers) who then hid the belt somewhere (in the bushes, under a garbage pail, down a basement entrance, in a milkbox, etc.) while the rest of the bunch kept their eyes closed in the “Safety Zone”. Then, the “papa” came back to the safety zone and yelled, “Hot Peas And Butter!” Everybody went out looking for the belt. The “papa” would declare, COLD, WARM or HOT, depending on the proximity of the searchers to the belt. Once the belt was found, the new “papa” chased everyone back to the safety zone, swinging the belt and lashing anyone within reach. God help the kid who fell down! We would play until the real father found out that his best belt was missing. He’d come out with his fists on his hips and a nasty scowl. But he couldn’t help it; he’d soon break into a big smile. Ah, the memories of good, clean games! I hope they’re not gone forever.
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