Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Crime, Punishment . . . and Laughter

It's my big brother's birthday today.
Again.
Hmmm . . . I just realized something.
This happens every single year.
Always on the same day.
Amazing . . .
Second birthday.
He's considerably older now . . .

I was raised in the fifties.
When a good swat on the backside got a child’s attention.
And cured all types of bad behaviour.
In one, swift, *smack*.
Sometimes with the cake spoon.
It didn’t happen often.
But it happened.
Well, to me, at any rate.
My oldest brother, Jerry, was a whole different story.
Which I’d like to tell you about . . .
I don’t know what he’d done.
Okay, yes, he was a tease and, occasionally, a torment.
And sometimes this behaviour spilled over onto Mom.
Who usually took it with a grin and an, “Oh, Jerry!”
But on this occasion, my scamp of a brother had roused her ire.
Enough that she went for the cake spoon.
Uh-oh.
You know how it is when one child in the family has gotten themselves into trouble.
All of the other children drift in from the nether regions of the household to stand and watch.
And rejoice that it isn’t them.
So the rest of us were ringside as Mom went for the spoon.
At which point Jerry started to laugh.
Laugh.
Said laugh caused Mom to laugh.
Which entirely nullified any feelings of outrage.
And ditto, the previously-mentioned and well-deserved swat on the backside.
Huh. So that’s how it’s done!
I stored that little crumb of knowledge away for the next time Mom’s ire was raised.
In my direction.
But, on that inevitable day, I discovered something important.
It’s takes real skill to be able to laugh directly into the face of anger.
Real skill.
I didn’t have it.
And neither did I avoid the application of correction.
Sigh.
My big brother Jerry.
I could have learned so many important and life-saving things from him.
If only . . .

P.S. Jerry and mom also have a history with the broom. But that is another story . . .

14 comments:

  1. I've noticed that ya either "got it" or ya don't. I never had it :)

    I really hope you'll share that story about the broom!

    Happy Birthday to your brother, and many more!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sometimes that backfired and he got it twice as hard. I can remember a couple of occasions when that happened. Mom could be quite stubborn when it came to giving out discipline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Okay, now I don't feel quite so bad . . .

      Delete
  3. Yes, it made me laugh just reading about it and remembering the scene. However, I do remember that Jerry did get an actual bottom smack on occasion.
    Love Jerry forever!
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, mister smarty pants Jerry! It doesn't always work!

      Delete
  4. It was usually the fly swatter that got pulled into action at our house.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh. Fly swatter! Now that would sting, too!

      Delete
  5. Too funny! My dad used to spank us with a boat oar! Ouch!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't remember ever getting a smack on the backside although there were threats of one, so the threats were probably enough to keep me on the straight and narrow most of the time. I remember years later my own son being naughty and me asking him did he want a smack on the backside. The cheeky boy said yes, so I gave him one. He was so shocked!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bwahahaha! You get what you ask for! :)

      Delete
  7. Wow, another memory popped out on this one. I had a son that could use humor at just the right moment and you simply could punish him.
    Blessings! You must tell the broom story~

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your mom and my mom--twins. She used the fly swatter most times, but boy oh boy, God help you when she moved up the weapon ladder....

    ReplyDelete

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