The Liver Ball

One of our favorite things to do at Grandma’s, which was more of an indoor game, something we played in the basement, was the Liver Ball game! The Liver Ball was a big, beach ball-sized rubber ball with a Mickey Mouse face on it. The game basically consisted of trying not to get touched by the Liver Ball, kind of like dodgeball but no teams, just wild chaos of desperately trying not to let the Liver Ball touch you.

Why was it called the Liver Ball? Who knows? Maybe because back then (1980s/90s) it was much more common for people to still have liver and onions for supper every now and then and everyone knows this is a kids worst dinnertime nightmare. Once we asked the aunts/uncles/older cousins, why it was called the Liver Ball and I think the story we got was because one time Grandma was in the kitchen preparing supper and a piece of raw liver fell on the ball! Told to us in the most hideous, spookiest of voices to be sure. I’m sure it was just a tall tale but it was enough to satisfy our need for a sense of adventure and disgust! The most thrilling of times to play Liverball was when my older cousin Chad would play, he was the only boy amongst us cousins; he was older, bigger and merciless. He would whip that Liverball around and you had better all run. There was no escaping and there was plenty of gleeful shrieking as we all scattered!

When Grandma moved away from the farm, (Grandpa had been sick with Parkinson’s for a while and it was just time to move into town to be closer to where he could have full time care), we had a big fire in the back yard; there was always a “burn pile” for stuff that didn’t go in the compost. All the stuff that wasn’t going with Grandma to her house in town, stuff that couldn’t be sold or given away, went to the burn pile. I suppose the most likely thing is that the Liverball went to the burn pile, but nobody remembers throwing it in there, or at least they didn’t admit to it. And since nobody knew what had happened to it, some decided to keep the legend of the Liverball alive by telling the kids it was stored in the crawl space under Grandma’s new condo… It wasn’t, though, we decided to put that rumor to rest one day by actually opening up the crawl space. For now, it’s another wonderful memory of the awesome childhood I enjoyed at Grandma’s farm, one of the best places on Earth!

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