I was raised on a farm in rural Kentucky. As a child of the ’70’s and ’80s, it was up to me to entertain myself. The yard around the old clapboard farm house was huge; it was surrounded on three sides by a white washed board fence and on the fourth side was massive five-bent tobacco barn that ran the length of the yard and connected to the fence on each end. My half-brothers and sisters, our cousins and I would spend a great deal of time outside playing in that huge yard; games like hide and seek, tag, red rover, and regrettably blind man’s bluff were regularly on the agenda.
On the fateful day, when the game of a lifetime unfolded, I was outside with my half-brothers and sisters who had come over for a visit. We went about playing games, waiting for our cousins show up. Mind you, there are now about 14 of us kids running around the yard with an ages ranging from 6 to 13 years old, and we needed to decide what to do next when someone suggested we play ”blind man’s bluff” since there are so many of us there. I, being the oldest, went into the house to sneak out one of our grandpa’s handkerchiefs; he had the dark red ones with a black paisley design on it, and those made the best blindfolds.
When I came back outside, the next biggest decision was who was going to be the ”blind man.” One of the cousins, a young boy about 9 years old, begged to go first. I tied the blindfold and spun him a couple of times while everyone started to spread out. I turned him one last time and told him to go. With that, my cousin shot off like a light, running top speed while blindfolded through that massive yard. We were all yelling stop at the top of our voices and although he kept going, our yelling did get the attention of the adults and they came outside to see what was happening; all the while he ran as hard as he could straight into the side of the five-bent tobacco barn,. He didn’t just hit the barn, he slammed into it so hard the shutters rattled and he flew back about three feet and knocked himself out cold.
Remember when I said we got the attention of all the adults? My aunt and the mother of the unconscious, blindfolded cousin is a fainter; she gets nervous and can drop like a fly. While witnessing this catastrophe, I think both my aunt and cousin hit the ground about the same time .The women surrounded her and the men ran to my cousin. Once they were both awake and my cousin’s blindfold removed, all the attention was then turned to us kids. They were demanding who got the handkerchief and why it was on him. We tried to explain we were playing blind man’s bluff and he didn’t do it right. He wasn’t supposed to run, and how are we to play blind man’s bluff without a blind man, after-all? Our explanations were unacceptable, and I also got into a little extra trouble for getting in grandpa’s handkerchiefs without asking, but I knew that I probably wouldn’t have been allowed to have one if I asked.
In the end, my cousin had one whopping headache and my aunt was mad at all us kids because it was clearly our fault that her son ran while blindfolded and knocked himself out. Also, we were forbidden to ever play blind man’s bluff again.