Did you ever use the counting potatoes method for picking who was ‘it’ in a game? As kids we used counting potatoes to tell us who was going to be the seeker while the rest of us hid, to tell us who was going to be blindfolded for an always dangerous game of blind man’s bluff (some parent would usually scream”you’re going to put an eye out”) or to tell us who was going to hide the key first.
The choosing rhyme consists of everyone who’s playing standing in a circle with their fists out in front of them. One person begins counting by hitting their fists on everyone else’s while saying: 1 potato 2 potato 3 potato 4 potato 5 potato 6 potato 7 potato instead of going on to 8 the fist they hit after 7 was ‘or’. The person whose fist was ‘or’ would place the ‘or’ fist behind their back and the counting would start back at 1. Whoever was left with a fist in the circle would be ‘it’ for the game.
Sometimes we used big potatoes instead of making 2 fists each person laced their hands together to make one big potato and the counting went the same way. Big potatoes were especially useful if there were lots of kids playing the game or if you were in a hurry to get on with the game.
I hadn’t thought about counting potatoes in years until a friend mentioned it a few weeks ago. Out of curiosity I thought I’d ask the girls if they knew about potato counting.
I said “Chitter if I say 1 potato 2 potato 3 potato 4 do you know what I’m talking about?” She said she thought I was crazy and left me standing in the kitchen.
Later in the evening, I was sitting on the couch when Chatter came and sat down beside me. I ask her the same question. She said “What?” So I explained it again even giving her the hint: it’s said when a bunch of kids are standing together in a circle. Chatter said “Momma I don’t know what you’re talking about. All I know is I like to dig taters and I like to eat them.”