Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Un-Spanking


Daddy and Me
It's winter.
I'm dreaming of spring . . .
Spring had finally arrived at the ranch.
Let me describe it to you . . .
The snow has melted away. Even the drifts which filled the ditches have finally succumbed to the encroaching sun.
Everywhere on the prairie one can see the signs of spring. New green in the prairie grasses and in the occasional and solitary trees. An infrequent blossom. The smells, in the prairie wind, of things growing . Scurrying animals. Birdsong.
And knee-deep mud in the barnyard.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
It is a wonderful time. A time of anticipation. Of wonder.
For a four-year-old who had been cooped up in the house since time immemorial, it is a wondrous opportunity for freedom.
And I took it.
Anxious to put a new accomplishment (that Mom and I had been labouring over) into practice, I disdained my ugly, black gumboots and stuck my feet into my brand new running shoes and triumphantly tied the laces.
I was free!
I dashed out of the house and into the spring sunshine.
The day was filled with endless possibilities for exploring. There was the ice-house. The riverbank. The blacksmith shop. The feed sheds. Hayloft. Pig sty. Chicken coop.
Okay, maybe not the chicken coop.
All my usual haunts.
But today, my first day of freedom, I chose . . . where else would a horse nut go? . . . the horse barn.
Where I would find the . . . ummm . . . horses.
It started out all right. I walked down the hard-packed driveway to the grass of the foreman's house.
So far, so good.
From there, I crossed to the fence. Still fine. I climbed the fence and looked across the barnyard to the tempting building just over there . . .
I jumped down.
And that is where everything fell apart. I watched my feet disappear into the morass that the barnyard had become.
For a stunned moment, I stared down. What had happened?
I tried to lift one foot. It didn't move.
I tried again. Same result.
Panic threatened. Was I going to be stuck here for the rest of my life? I was perilously close to tears.
Then I saw my dad. He of the strong arms and wisely gum booted feet.
He worked his way over to me. I can still remember the sucking sound of his boots as he pulled them from the mud.
Ssss-thook. Ssss-thook.
My saviour.
He plucked me from the mud and set me back on the fence.
Then he frowned and looked at my feet.
“Where are your boots?”
I, too, looked down.
Muddy socks and pants, but no shoes. Huh. Maybe my lace-tying wasn't as good as I thought.
I looked at the mud.
Dad sighed and felt down into the mud that had so recently held me, and found, first one, then the other shoe.
He stood up and held them out.
“Are these your new shoes?”
I nodded silently.
“Where are your boots?” Boots that would have been vastly easier to clean, by the way.
I looked towards the house.
Dad sighed. “You take these and head to the house. I'm going to come later and give you a spanking.”
My eyes got big. I stared at him. A spanking?!
I should point out here that I had never had a spanking from my dad.
But I could imagine it. Unspeakable pain and torment.
I grabbed my shoes, jumped down from the fence and lit out for the house at my best 'four-year-old-I'm-in-trouble' pace.
I threw the shoes down in the front entry and headed for the closet in my room.
Dad never gave me my spanking.
I guess he thought that I'd been punished enough when I spent the entire morning in my closet, hiding from him.
Or maybe he simply forgot.
And I never again tried to wear anything but my gumboots into the barnyard.
I may be a slow learner, but I do learn.

22 comments:

  1. Awww...I can absolutely imagine this. In my version, though, I would have yelled at my father for allowing me out without my boots...yeah, I was a strange little kid. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can just see it! I wonder what would have happened if I'd tried that with my dad...?

      Delete
  2. Life on the prairie...sounds romantic, even with the unspanking! and mud.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, the freedom of shoes after a winter of boots - there's nothing quite like it, especially when you are little! Now that I think about it, I still get the same thrill, and I'm considerably older. Maybe that's part of why your dad un-spanked you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. I think part of him was a little envious . . .

      Delete
  4. Gummy mud with its sound--brings back memories. You got off light. My father would have whipped me right then and there.
    Good to see your name after the holidays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Susan! Yeah, Dad was pretty much a 'threat of violence' sort of person. But effective!

      Delete
  5. The fear of the punishment is always worse than the real thing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, I can relate to be stuck in mud. I did love this story. Yes, the threat of punishment can be worse than an actual quick spanking.
    Blessings for the smiles.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From tears to joy to tears. Yup. Pretty much a normal day for me! :)

      Delete
  7. I was a city kid so I never was permitted to be stuck in the mud but I know if we had lived in the country I would have been that kid. Thanks for sharing as I needed to smile tonight.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I remember those muddy barnyard days!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bet you never wore your new shoes, though.

      Delete
  9. I've never been in a freshly thawed out muddy barnyard, bt I well remember the sound of squishing through mud puddles on my way home from school. They'd had all day to dry out to that satisfactory squishy stage. I never once thought about my shoes, until my own kids began doing it. Then I asked them to please pull off their shoes and socks before squishing their way home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooohhh! Bare footed squishiness! Why idn't I think of that?!

      Delete
  10. You were naughty. And you were only THAT kind of naughty just the once.

    And knowing the heady feeling of spring, understandably so.

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
  11. I remember one spanking from my dad and I think I was five but I deserved it and I think it hurt him worse than it did me which was pretty bad. I had been messing with some of his more dangerous tools that where in a deel whole in the back yard other wise known as the septic tank!

    ReplyDelete

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