Playing The Ring Game Of The 1930s

Geneva Cox

Geneva Cox

If there is one thing I have learned from keeping my head in a history book, it is that people really never change and that young people certainly do not! Since Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden, children have been finding ways around their parents’ advice and will be doing it until the last trumpet sounds, I’m sure.

I was actually thinking about this very thing when Missy Jones walked in one day to tell me about the “ring games” that her older siblings used to play. It just reinforced my thoughts on the subject.

It seems that the parents of teens in the Creamer Community of the 1930s did not allow their children to dance. This was a fairly common belief held in our smaller Texas communities of that time, and, of course, most all young people love to dance. As usual, the industrious teens of the 1930s found a way around the problem.

While it was true that the parents did not allow dancing, it is also true that they did not mind their children playing what was called ring games.

According to Missy, “In ring games, you would have a caller just as you do in square dancing, and there were lots of songs you could sing for ring games. Geneva said one of their favorites as “Rock Old Dinah,” and their best caller was Bernice Stokes.  She said she could just hear him calling:

“Rock Old Dinah, Shoo, Shoo
Rock Old Dinah, Shoo
All in a motion, Shoo, Shoo
All in a motion, Shoo”

Apparently when he said, “All in a motion, Shoo, Shoo,” it was the signal for the “dancers” to promenade. The other calls all meant something as well.

“On the Fowler place where we lived were several big Post Oak trees in the front yard. Daddy would take lanterns and hang them in these trees so the young people would have light to play their ‘games.’ All of the other parents did the same thing.”

Missy went on to tell me that for someone who was not supposed to know how to dance, Geneva was well versed in the “Charleston, Waltz, Rag, Schottische, and others. How funny!”

And…yes…I still say that young people will be finding ways around the rules of their elders until the earth is no more!

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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