Everyone who has ever been succumbed as a child to their mother yelling "Get out of the house NOW!" knows how to play hide-and-seek. It is the perfect pastime to ditch younger siblings/cousins (I was that younger sibling and cousin ... therapy starts next week). The game also is the beginning of finding out if you are allergic to poison ivy, seeing how long you can go without screaming at the spider crawling on the tree you are standing behind, and realizing that your Punky Brewster high tops do not make you faster than the person who is "It".
However, my extended Texas family (there is a Louisiana side of the family, too. Those stories will be in a future posting) kicked it up a notch. Family get-togethers at grandma's house included enough food to feed the US Army with plenty of leftovers to get us through a long hard winter. When you eat that much food you must succumb to a food coma for a good two hours and then partake in the street football festivities. (Street football is similar to street hockey from Wayne's World: "Car coming!", "Game on!", and "Moonpie!" I guess "Moonpie" was something my family created in an ode to my uncle.) Anyway, by the time that everyone gets to the point of playing hide-and-seek it is already pitch black outside.
Since grandma lived behind the backwoods of east Texas the shadows created by the security light were like black holes. So dark that you could stand in the middle of the shadow and no one could see you. This made playing hide-and-seek in the dark adventurous! Especially when we had at least 10 people playing.
We would use the random patio table in the yard as base. Grandma's yard had the deepest, darkest shadows plus climbing trees and all of the vehicles that the various family members used to make the trip. Hiding options were endless! However, the game would never have passed OSHA standards. Grandma's yard also had dips, valleys, and potholes.
Imagine running from the "It" person trying to get to the random patio table in the yard (that some cousin thought would be hilarious to move to the other side of the yard without telling anyone else) and either falling into a valley full of potholes or colliding with a person standing in a tree shadow. You had those two scenarios and the scenarios were mandatory. By the end of the game someone had a broken rib, someone else had a broken finger and everyone had scrapes and bruises.
Now when the family is able to get together we still look for an opportunity to play hide-and-seek in the dark. We are not nearly as agile as our younger selves or are we any smarter. But through the huffing and wheezing we are still able to laugh about all of it. The games don't last as long and they usually end in having a beer to help with the pain of the scrapes and bruises and to relive the stories that just occurred and the ones that happened 20 years ago.