The “Go-Go” War

It is a well known stock phrase said by grandparents, fondly gazing at the newest generation, that if you give a kid a brand new toy he will probably have as much fun playing with the cardboard box as the toy itself. I thought of this the other evening as I sat with my kids and watched them playing.

No, they are not infants anymore, but they do derive a huge amount of enjoyment playing with some very simple things. You see, it is the season of “go-go-im” (or, as my youngest son pointed out, “ajou-im” in Jerusalem). A “go-go” is the word for apricot pits. Now is the season for fresh apricots, and the boys, after enjoying the treat, collect the pits and use them to play. They take empty cardboard boxes, usually the size of shoe boxes, and they cut holes in the top and sides. They then decorate them and designate each hole by a different point system, and they go to their friends and challenge them to throw the pits into the holes. If the kid is successful, then he gets x number of pits as a prize. If he is not successful, then he has to give up the pits to his friend.

It gets even more complicated, when boys team up. They pool their precious pit resources, and they go out and see how many pits they can accumulate. (Did Bill Gates start out this way?)

The problem occurs when the boys want to “downsize”. If they don’t think they are gaining enough pits from the kids they are with at the moment, they want to break up the group and look for others to join. Then they have to figure out how to divide up the pits in a fair way (some boys are better at winning the pits, of course, and think that they should get a larger share when the group disbands).

I was witness to a group of boys trying to negotiate one of these “breakups” this afternoon – and it made the Middle East peace process look like a walk in the park! I wisely kept my mouth closed – as long as noone was bleeding in my living room I figured they would work it out – and they did. Some boys had their feelings hurt, and had some angry words, but I figure that five minutes after they left my house the kids were friends again.

I also surprised my kids (NOT in front of their friends, of course) by sitting with them and asking if I could play. They of course assumed I wouldn’t get any in the holes – and I did my part for my future daughters-in-law by showing them that even “girly-girls” like their mom can win.

I caught myself feeling a bit foolish though. “What am I doing sitting on the floor and throwing apricot pits across the room?” I wondered.

Then I thought that even adults can get a lot of pleasure out of playing with a simple cardboard box.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ozymandias
    May 20, 2007 @ 16:43:35

    I hadn’t heard of this game before. Sounds kind of fun.

  2. jerusalem joe
    May 20, 2007 @ 17:06:32

    Cute story.You are quite a hevremanit.

  3. Scraps
    May 21, 2007 @ 20:01:56

    I once read a story about these apricot pits. I think it was in one of the Kids Speak books. I’m impressed by your talent for throwing; I have lousy aim.

  4. Shlomo
    May 21, 2007 @ 20:40:26

    I remember playing “hamesh avanim” with apricot pits.

  5. westbankmama
    May 25, 2007 @ 06:58:06

    Ozymandias – see what you can learn by reading blogs!

    jerusalemjoe – its just because I only have boys. If I had a daughter I would probably not even bother with the “boy stuff”.

    Scraps – Chaim Walder wrote about this in one of his books – wow!

    Shlomo – now they have “fancy” “hamesh avanim” made out of shiny gold metal.

  6. Shlomo
    May 27, 2007 @ 00:16:39

    I used the shiny gold (and iridescent lead) ones too, but when apricot season came we switched temporarily.

  7. Batya
    Dec 19, 2007 @ 05:56:28

    The girls used them like “jacks.”

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