The other night while driving to our bowling league, we passed a car with one headlight out. I said to Mrs. C,
“That could be dangerous, looks like a motorcycle until you get close.”
“Yep; have you ever heard of a padiddle?”
“Padiddle? You know about a padiddle? I thought that was just a local thing from way back when.”
“My mom used to call them out, if you call a padiddle you can make a wish.”
“When we saw one, you could kiss your girl, or if you were with a guy, you punched him on the arm. I haven’t heard the term in a zillion years.”
Later, of course, I Googled “Padiddle.”
Unfortunately, there is no official source or record that explains the exact meaning and origin of Padiddle. Its earliest appearances are in the 1940s, when mentions of the activity appeared in Archie comic strips...
Padiddle wasn’t originally a point-based family game, It was a way for young lovebirds who were driving around town to exchange kisses.
There are various padiddle rules, like yelling out “Padiddle” and punching the car roof or a window when you spot one. The first to yell it out and punch the roof gets a point. Some people kept score earning points on a long trip.
I think the game would be pretty boring today, I almost never see a car with a burned-out headlight. It used to be quite common. I guess they make headlights more long-lasting these days.
Maybe I just don’t notice like I used to. I don’t need a padiddle to kiss Mrs. C.