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  • I was six and three-quarters and my younger brother about 4.
    Reading about your amazing mumblety-peg, I guess this was the closest we ever got.

    My granddad had given my mother a flat-lidded tin trunk for all her paraphernalia needed at the convent where she attended boarding school, plus he had made another for her too. Also out of tin. Very rectangular, squared-off and simple. This one was added because her needs grew just as she did.

    I have them both. Spray- painted other colours to their original but still the same two. I often catch the nostalgic sighs in my mother's eyes when she comes visiting.

    She had toted them around with her wherever she went, bringing them with her into her marriage; and not being an overly-wealthy family, moving any which where Dad was needed and in need of both storage and seating, she 'converted' them both into ottomans. Of course, depending on where we lived is where they were placed. Some of their locations were way off the map for ottomans but they became a part of our lives no matter where they stood; large trip-over parts of our lives if we had just moved again.

    She had cut high-density foam plastic to match the top of each trunk and thus made the cushioning. Then she cut and sewed material to fit snugly over the cushion, boxing it. But not completely. The bottom sheeting of the covering was missing because attached to the four down sides of the cushion-cover were box-pleats of material falling to the floor. Rudimentary to say the least but with a flick of one hand the lock and hasp were easily gained access to by the other.
    Another plus point here: all of the padding saved walling from being damaged when the lid was thoughtlessly flapped open and backwards. More often than not.
    Materials changed when money was available or the fraying or fading too unsightly for her to bear.

    Now at the time of this, we lived in one of the few houses in Kranskop in rural Natal and one of the trunks found itself marooned against the inner wall flanking the entry into the kitchen from the closed-in veranda. The house was a tin house with a tin roof and had two tinned in veranda's too. When it rained, we knew.

    On rainy days due to our noise factor, we were always relegated to this closed-in veranda; there to mope and jiggle about as noisily as wants must but far outside Mom's hearing range. We were going through a phase at the time, Games of Dare, and had recently alighted on one that was seriously awesome. And it was a matter of come rain or shine we wanted to play 'peggy'. But the rain actually did impede our playtime because it was meant for outside and we were prisoners within. And even if we would have dared, we knew Dad would tan our butts royally if we drove divots into the wooden flooring or rucked the costly carpets.

    One rainy day, closeted in, we discovered new ground for our game to continue when it was raining and our spirits soared.

    One of us, the 'marker', up on the forlorn ottoman with feet wide apart, sinking deep into the spongy cushion. The other a mere few feet away, darts in hand. Yes. Thrower aims and tip-throws the dart to peg into the ground/cushion between the marker's feet. If the point sinks in and holds, the thrower gets another turn but the marker moves their feet a foot's width closer together.

    Ah-ha! We saw no obstacles and the Game commenced.

    First myself as marker. B's dart flies... and bounced right off the cushion! He looks at me, his eyes wide with confused questions.
    "Try again." Same thing happens.
    "Step aside." I jump off the trunk, scoop the darts up and pace my length away. Turning, I aim and throw. The dart bounces right off. "Hmmm, maybe harder."
    He passes the one dart he is holding over.

    "Let me try again, harder this time." The point pricks in but the dart still topples to the floor.

    Third dart. Holding it by the point, raising it to behind the ear, I let fly with all my little might. The point runs the material and cushion through, penetrating so deep the tip screeches against the tin. We could hear it gouging a clefted furrow, chipping off the emulsified finish.
    We freeze.

    Did Mom hear that? We wait with baited breath, looking big eyed at each other. Trepidation stark.
    The dart stops wobbling. Bloody hell!
    I lunge forward, grab the dart and tug at it to hide the evidence. The cushion has claimed rights to the dart and is hanging on tight. B jumps into the tussle and we beat the odds against us. I quickly right the cushion and covering over the now damaged trunk. He shuffles all the darts into his left hand behind his back and wipes his right down the side of his face, eyes still wide but now focused on the open kitchen doorway.
    I stand to at his side, big sister, breathing through my nose, trying to be brave and look innocent.
    We sneak quick peeks at each other to see that we are still doing fine.

    Still no Mom.

    I cotton on. The rain, its thundering down on the tin roof drowned out the awful accusing sound. Gulping the build up of nervous spittle, "Hey, B. It's okay. She didn't hear," I turn and grimace down at him.
    He looks up at me aghast. Speechless.
    "Yes, I know but think it is because of the noise of the rain on the roof." Nodding deeply like a sage, I point upwards, wait for his eyes and ears to catch my finger up, then pat him on the shoulder. Looking over my shoulder into the kitchen just once more to make sure I must be right, I decide to hang for a few minutes. He does too, chinking the barrels of the darts together – making music, darting quick glances to see what I am up to. I walk circles.

    Eventually bored by these lost minutes, I dare "Let's play again."
    With a quick look-see through the doorway, confirming that Mom still isn't happening, he nods, grins and runs to his place as thrower. I jump up onto the trunk and position, marker.

    His first round of darts bounces feebly onto the floor. I stay marker, encouraging more effort, goading for harder. Instructing changes in stance and wrist and elbow.
    He gets the eventual hang of it. The dart buries its point into the cushion between my feet and ... holds!
    "Peggy! Yay!! Ya ha ha HA!" He does a victory circle between the trunk and the door to outside. I laugh along, clapping my hands, totally happy for him and eventually manage to get him back in the game for Dart #2.

    I tug Dart 1 out, feet anchoring the rebellious cushion, and palm it, readying it for handing over, or my turn, whichever comes first.
    I shift my position slightly, my feet are now closer together and he is a little anxious.
    I grin, "Do it again, Sam. Play it the same way again!"

    The dart makes it mark and holds. A bit more wobbly this time but the cushion is content. His shout for joy drowns out the sound of rain for a shrieking moment. Another short victory tap dance while I grin and wait for him to calm down; fingering the tip of Dart 2 now in my hand. I'm exercising patience.

    Dart #3.
    My feet are closer together.
    B concentrates harder.
    Same throw stance, dart held behind the ear, followed by a whammy of a throw and the point sinks into the soft cushion of flesh on the top of my foot, stopping with a sound akin to that of a Bulls-eye!

    It wasn't sore, it didn't hurt. Just a pin-prick flinch but he stood rooted on the spot in fright. Waiting for a come-uppance, a snarl, a growl, anything worthy of his cold fear.
    I watched the course of his imaginings flicker through his expressions, gaining footholds in his eyes: images of me chasing him, catching him up, obtaining an ultimate revenge.
    Pretend-glaring at him, I made him wait.
    And when I knew he could stand the suspense no longer, I shouted "Peggy! ... Not!" and vaulted off the box, my eyes agleam with delight, the impaling dart brandishing the untold glory of patience's sweet nectar.

    Now it was my turn!
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