Saturday, March 14, 2009


Our mother, much like her father, was a strong disciplinarian. She seldom had to speak twice to get our attention; never issued empty threats. Patient and just as she was, if discipline was needed, and deserved, you could be sure it would come. Once, on a warm spring day as we played in the yard, Mother sat with Grandma and a couple of aunts on the back porch engaged in pleasant conversation and laughter. Mother told me to do some chore and audaciously I spoke up and said No, I won't do it. I knew those words should never have left my mouth and I headed around the house as fast as I could go. In a flash she had hit the ground and was right behind me but I was an excellent runner and escaped into the back door and took refuge under a bed. She patiently allowed me to stay there. But the time came there was reckoning. When the older children arrived home from school later in the day, I foolishly allowed my uncle to lure me from under the bed promising candy. Lesson learned. On those very infrequent occasions when our mother was forced to administer corporal punishment, it was done with a keen little hickory switch. Often as not we would be the one sent to fetch it for her and then to suffer the indignity of the sting. The lessons learned from our mother's switchings would last a long time in our memories and the bad behaviors would seldom be repeated.

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