Sunday, June 22, 2008

One Mississippi, Two Mississippi

A work colleague from China has been in the US for training for about four weeks. He also accompanied me to Mexico last week.

In order to try to give him a bit of flavor of the Twin Cities, I took him to a few well-known spots a couple of weeks ago. Our itinerary including Minnehaha Falls, the Cathedral in St. Paul, the State Capitol, downtown St. Paul, and the U of M campus. While at Minnehaha Falls, I explained that the creek that we were looking at flowed into the Mississippi River.

"The Mississippi?," he asked. Yes, the Mississippi, I confirmed. "So that's where 'one Mississippi, two Mississippi' comes from," he said with a satisfied smile. I asked how the heck knew about one of the staples--along with ghost runners--of American childhood sports rules. The movies, he explained. Of course, the movies.

One Mississippi, two Mississippi. Now, that brings back memories of many a pick up football game. Four on four. Three on three. You could even play two on two as long as you employed the proper Mississippi count. Yes, good times indeed.

I recall that we used to often play such football with a group of kids in the Iowa town where our grandparents lived. On one occasion, JB was so determined to play quarterback and so disappointed when he wasn't allowed to, that he threw a red-faced tantrum, wailing "I wanna be quarterback!" "I wanna be quarterback!" at the top of his lungs. It was quite a scene.

Or that could have been the freckle-faced, developmentally disabled older brother of the kids we used to play with. Over time such fine distinctions of memory tend to get blurred.

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