Thursday, May 7, 2009

Down by the WHAT

When you move halfway across the country there are things you expect yo be different. Maybe the food, the people, the slang, the manners. But there are somethings that you never would expected to be different depending on what state you were living in.

When I was growing up in California, we used to play a hand clapping game. Maybe you'll recognize it. We all would sit in a circle with our right hand on top of the girl sitting next to us and our left hand under the girl sitting on your left. We'd say a rhyme and pass the clap with each word. Of course if you were the last person hit you would be out. You'd keep playing and playing until you had a winner. And what did we call this game. It was, "Down By the Banks." Sound familiar? Just in case here's the rhyme we all used to say when I was growing up.

Down by the banks of the hanky-panky
Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to banky
Where the epps, opps, soda pops
Hey Mr. Lily and he went kerplop
With a cherry on top

My first two summers in Louisiana I spent as a camp counselor. On one of the first days there, one of the girls wanted to play, "Down By the Riverside." Turns out its the same thing as "Down by the Banks." I'm guess because we're close to the Mississippi River, they say riverside? Either way I didn't think it would be a problem, I would just substitute river for banks and be set. Of course it was that easy. Here's the version of "Down By the Riverside," I was taught.

Down by the riverside hanky pank
Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to bank
Where the a, e, i, o, u
I pledge allegiance to the flag
Michael Jackson is so bad
Coca-Cola burned his butt
Now he's drinking 7-Up
7-Up has no caffeine
Now he's drinking gasoline
Gasoline is made for cars
Now he's munching candy bars
Candy bars have too much fat
Now he drives a Cadillac
Cadillac's are out of style
Now you have to walk a mile

Not quite the same right? Now maybe its not just a regional thing. It could be a generational issue. For all I know little girls in California are singing about Michael Jackson now. So I'm wondering, do you remember playing,"Down by the Banks," or "Down by the Riverside," or "Down by the some other type of water," when you were growing up? Are either of these versions what you used to use? Or did you play a different game all together?



  1. I remember that clap game!!! There was also "Miss Mary Mack"!!

  2. Hmmm. I don't think I remember that. I know we used to sing:

    Down by the bay
    Where the watermelons grow
    Back to my home
    I shall not go...

    And I can't remember the rest!!! Haha

  3. That's really funny! I never played that game unfortunately :)

  4. I remember it was always Down By The Riverside... And unfortunately, I knew the first few lines but not the rest until now, ha :)

  5. I sang the riverside version :-)