When my daughter Lindsey was young, we played a game called “Hiding Pokey.” It was a ongoing game for our immediate family and it always offered a fun surprise when it was least expected.
It started when Lindsey was a toddler. We stumbled across small toy replicas of the Pokey and Gumby clay-animation characters in the gift shop at Cracker Barrel. She took one look at the silly rubber figurines and was instantly infatuated. They came home with us, of course.
The thin green Gumby was soon abandoned in favor of the goofy-looking orange horse, which Lindsey carried everywhere for months. As with many toys, it was often misplaced and occasionally turned up in unusual places.
During one period when Pokey was missing, I was browsing the internet, thinking I was going to need to replace the small toy. I discovered an article titled “Cheap Family Fun #1, Hide Pokey.” It was a blog post on a website called Escape Adulthood, and the author and his family had made an actual game of exactly what we were dealing with: finding Pokey.
When Pokey finally turned up, we adopted their game. Someone would hide Pokey where he could be accidentally found. The person who found Pokey would then take their turn to hide Pokey. As Lindsey got older, the game became trying to hide Pokey in the most unusual place or where he’d remain hidden the longest.
No one ever actually searched for Pokey. That wasn’t the game. It was just fun to discover Pokey when you were not expecting it. Pokey spent some time in the freezer, and hidden deep in the forest of an overgrown houseplant. The most fun was when Pokey remained unnoticed in plain view, like sitting on top of the ceiling fan. When someone finally discovered him, we wondered how he’d remained hidden for so long.
Finding Pokey always brought a smile. It was like a quick, unexpected hug in the middle of the day.
My daughter is an adult now, living on her own. I stumbled across Pokey the other day. I think I’ll tuck him in my purse and hide him in her house next time I visit her.