By Rev. C.J. Barry Kentner

The re-run of a TV program called the Walton’s reminded me of a big event of the thirties and early forties… children of the community were invited by the local store keeper to guess the number of beans in a huge jar. Did you ever try, as a child, to guess the number of beans in a bottle?

Amongst the memories of that era was a game called “Kick the Can”. It began after supper on a summer night. Somewhere from outside came the cry “Let’s kick the can!” We literally jumped from the supper table and ran out the door. Just about every kid in the neighborhood took part, and until the street lights came on….there was laughter, and shouting, and the sound of an old tin can bouncing on the pavement.


Also popular was “Double Dutch”. Where the words came from I never knew, but it involved two long skipping ropes. One turned to the right, the second to the left, and everyone…boys and girls alike took turns jumping in the middle. If the ropes were long enough you would sometimes find three children in the middle at once.

Then there were bubble gum blowing contests. Who could blow the biggest bubble.

These were the days before the birth of supermarkets and ‘big box’ stores. As a result, meat and related items were purchased from the local butcher shop, vegetables from a local market, or in mid -summer, a local gardener who would push a handcart through the neighbourhood selling the produce of his garden plot.

In those days, chickens –freshly killed and plucked- were suspended by the legs, from a bar that ran across the top of the butcher shop window. The legs, and head were attached, but the main body was plucked. Mother purchased the chicken of her choice, carted it home wrapped in heavy brown paper waxed on one side, and completed the cleaning and cooking process.

It was a great thrill for a boy to obtain one of those chicken legs. When severed, you found the tendon inside the leg, and when you pulled it, the claws would open.

Horrible as it sounds…the boys would take a chicken claw to school, hold it up in front of the girls and pull the tendon. The boy who got the loudest shriek from a girl was the winner of a contest that probably should never have been remembered. If so….I cannot say I am truly sorry!


Barry was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1935 and schooled to Grade 10, but continued educational pursuits until age 65 when he graduated from Open Word Bible College. He started working for Spitzer and Mills advertising in 1952, then moved to the Broadcast arena where for 62 years he was News Director and Talk Show Host at several Canadian Radio Stations. He was one of 5 consultants who managed to lobby for Christian Radio in Canada, and in the last five years before retirement, he was News Director of Canadian Altar.Net News, a network of 25 Christian Radio Stations across Canada from Charlottetown PEI to Campbell River BC.
Barry Kentner is a semi-retired pastor.

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