Was That Supposed to Hurt?

It can probably be said that I was always sassily truthful in my younger years. I am probably lucky to have survived many a spanking from my dad’s 2×4 hands as well as “long-distance” kicks to the seat of my pants from dad’s Frankenstein size twelves.

Can’t believe I just said that

dad and daughter

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I can’t remember the circumstances under which I received my due penalty of a sound spanking from my dad, but spanked I was. I can still feel the sting on my hind end. Almost as if I could see the red spreading out on both “cheeks”. It stung but what came next( I am belly laughing as I type) was pure sass.

After dad had finished spanking me and turned me up off his knee, I looked him square in the eye and said “Was that supposed to hurt?”. There seemed to be dead silence in the room as my mouth closed, and the statement finished.

I could see my dad’s eyebrows raise, the skin between his eyes began to furrow and his jaw began to set. I was quite sure the fiery gates of Hades had opened up behind him and smoke began to pour out from underneath his chair.

In no time flat, my mother appeared out of thin air and yanked me from the living room so fast I thought my eyeballs were left mid-air and my shoes in place right there on the living room floor, directly in front of my dad.

Fire on the mountain, run girl run

Image by Jan Steiner from Pixabay

Like a flash, my mother had grabbed me, was into and through the kitchen, opened the door to the pantry/coat room, out the door to the back yard, and set my shoed feet on the garage floor.

There we stood, I and my mom. We stayed in the garage for some time. I chose to stand and wait out whatever we were waiting out because my hind end was not quite ready to be sat upon.

My mom chose to keep a careful eye on the garage door. I tried to admire the wood support beams and various sparrows that had found their way inside and made nests as well as “deposits” all over the family car. It was not a time for talking. That much was clear. So I occupied myself with my imagination as the time ticked away.

Upon further review

I guess enough time had passed, so mom took me by the hand and we walked back into the house. She sat me down at the kitchen table and fed me a snack. I chose to sit half and half, one cheek on and one cheek off. That way it hurt less.

As I ate my snack my mother walked back into the living room. My dad was still in there, but now the T.V. was turned on and the smoke from Hades had receded.

I could hear hushed voices talking, then an occasional assurance from my mother that ” this was a normal part of growing up…”. I continued to munch happily on my snack. After finishing my dad asked to speak to me. I told him I was sorry I sassed and that I wouldn’t do it again. I’m quite sure that probably wasn’t the last “discussion” he had with me either.

When dad got in some t-r-o-u-b-l-e

Image by 41330 from Pixabay

Fast forward a few years. I’m in 5th grade and having trouble spelling the word “impossible”. My dad worked and worked with me and my spelling list. Back and forth we went, taking the whole test over and over again. I am sure my mother’s eyes were rolling as she was a teacher and here my dad was “teaching me” to spell.

I had come to a point of exhaustion and my mother told me to go sit in the living room a few minutes before returning for the last spelling test. Having had a small break to rest my head I returned to the kitchen. Mom had started washing dishes and dad said I only had to spell impossible. And IF, I could spell impossible, I could have a (wait for it…) PONY!

Gasp! Oh my goodness. I was pie eyed at this giant promise. I loved horses. My mom said I had “horse fever” and that I drove her nuts with all my horse questions and begging.

My mom was now strangely silent, standing erect at the sink, hand still dangling in the hot sudsy dish water. She stared blankly through the window out into the street.

My dad was certain that this would be great motivation, but he also was betting I couldn’t spell impossible as I had missed it 6 other times. I am sure confidence was on overload for my dad, but I was about to win the biggest spelling bee of my entire life.

I’d like to buy a vowel please

Image by 41330 from Pixabay

Smiling, my dad asked me to spell impossible. Smiling back, I stood and delivered. Impossible. I.M.P.O. ( paused for a moment thinking to myself). Is there a double S or just one? Hmm. S. S. I. B. L.- this is probably the point where my mom began to wad up her dishcloth.

She knew d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r lay ahead with one more vowel. E! Yes! Yes! I spelled it right! Right, Dad? I-m-p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e! Impossible. My dad’s head hung low and at that very second a very soapy dishcloth flew past my face and hit him square in the head, followed by “RUSS!”.

I was asked to leave the kitchen as my mom proceeded to chew my dad out. There was absolutely no place we had to go with a horse. We lived in town, had a relatively small yard, and least of all, mom was not getting caught up in horse chores with two little ones still in diapers! Then I heard her tell him he needed to fix it.

Hope seen trotting away

I could tell by the conversation in the kitchen, things were not sounding so good for dad, never mind the fact that hope on having a pony was trotting away as well.

Dad explained that he made a promise he could not keep. He was sorry, but there would be no pony. I sat dejected on the couch, tears rolling down my face. I was robbed!

Time has a way of mellowing hurts and jokingly I would remind him of his thievery but it still seemed to pain him each time I mentioned it. That got me some great mileage though, as I could talk him into riding the neighbor’s horses with me.

One of the best memories of my dad is just me and my dad riding horses out in the country. Riding through woods, fields, and over the old railroad. Great memories to fill my mind with his absence.

I will never forget the time his stirrup came undone and flew off the horse or the time his horse decided to stop, drop, and roll with him still in the saddle. Luckily he just walked right off before the horse decided to roll. Good times to be thankful for.

Till next time. Here is to good food, good friends, great memories of a good life.


Fishing Rods, Hats, and Stuffed Bears

Fishing rods, baseball caps, and stuffed bears. This might sound to you like I am making a list at a thrift store or local Good Will, but I am not. These three items were the key ingredients for some hilarious, good, clean fun.

It was a crisp fall evening and I could feel some mischief in the air. I certainly was not a naughty kid, but I did like my fair share of mischief. Especially the fun kind of mischief.

Let’s put our heads together

My brother and I walked through the backyard to get to uptown. We found a couple of other kids hanging out and sat down next to them on the steps of Friesland Foods.

We were the kids that didn’t have older siblings in high school, so that meant we didn’t go to the football games. That also meant we had to find something to do.

Tony said he had an idea and would be right back. Tony returned a few minutes later with a fishing pole and a nice baseball hat. Most everyone just stared blankly at a fishing rod ( it was a VERY NICE fishing rod) and the baseball cap. Finally, someone asked Tony what he was going to do with a fishing rod and baseball cap.

Tony glanced around like he was going to reveal a big secret. Then he leaned into the group and said we had to go hide by the Post Office and he would tell us there. That got everyone’s attention. We all were excited at the possibility of what was about to happen next would be dangerous!

One for the money

Photo credit: Stux pixabay

As we all ran across the road, one by one we slid past the gate and leaned up against the west side of the Post Office. There in the shadows, Tony explained that “he” was going to trick people and “we” were to just watch. Tony began to tie the baseball cap to the fish rod fishing line.

Testing to make sure the baseball cap was secure on the fishing line Tony gave it three good tugs. Pleased with the baseball caps security he stepped from the Post Office shadows and walked carefully to the four corner stop of Main Street and Winnebago.

Pressing in the thumb button on the reel, Tony began letting out the fishing line. Once he had sufficient line out, he laid the baseball cap down in the center of the road and began to walk back towards the rest of the gang waiting in the shadows.

Little by little, he continued to let the fishing line out till he reached the side of the Post Office. Once he was around the gate he gave the signal for us to all crouch down.

Two for the show

It didn’t take too long and we heard a car coming down the hill. Eager to know what was going to happen we all found a place to watch through the gate.

The unassuming baseball cap sat quietly in the middle of the four corner stop. We heard the car stop and then slowly move forward. We were just beginning to catch a glimpse of the car when to our surprise and great delight, the car pulled slowly up to the baseball cap and stopped. Tony told us all to be quiet and pushed in the thumb button and held it.

We all held our breath as the car door opened. We could hear people in the car talking and laughing and then we could see the drivers hand reach out to pick up the hat. Tony gave the fishing line a little jerk, thus setting the baseball cap like it was a big catch. The result? The baseball cap moved enough to scare the pants off the driver.

The driver yelled in fright, slammed the car door and sped off. We were all rolling on the ground laughing as Tony continued to reel in the cap. But now we each wanted a turn to run the fishing pole!

Three to get ready

After some serious negotiations (promised candy, pop, and some Hostess Ding Dongs), Tony would allow us to each hold the fishing rod after we had given him the “promised” item.

Tony was no fool and you had to be on your toes when dealing with him or his brother Andy. Andy was a good wheeler-dealer as well. Sometime I will have to tell you about the time he won someone’s mothers inherited German Cuckoo Clock in a poker game. Let’s just say we all got in a bit of hot water playing poker and the “missing” Cuckoo Clock mysteriously reappeared.

After the first successful “trick” we got smart and added a few extra “insurance” measure. First, we needed someone to be a lookout for traffic. We posted this person at Cliff’s Electric. Once the person with the fishing pole was in place, the lookout would notify us when someone was coming and what direction they were coming from.

Secondly, we needed one more item to tie on the fishing line. It was decided that an old stuffed bear would probably entice more people. A baseball cap was just too guyish.

Four to go

Photo Credit: Stevepb pixabay

It was Lance’s turn to hold the fishing rod. A Hostess Ding Dong had earned him a turn. With the baseball cap in place, we patiently waited. It took a while for the next car to come along.

The lookout had given the signal and was on a dead run to the groups hiding place. Safely behind the gate we all watched and waited. The car pulled up to the stop sign. Hesitated for a moment and then slowly passed by the cap. SHOOT! They didn’t fall for it. We sent the lookout back and waited again.

The lookout gave the signal but he was waving his hand frantically. He began yelling “The other way! The other way!” we turned to look to our left and sure enough, it was a car coming from the left. We had not planned for any West- East bound traffic. We only planned for North-South bound traffic.

And then the wheels came off

Quickly we became greatly concerned that the car would ride right over the fishing line and possible park on it. We also acknowledged we wouldn’t be able to see someone reach for the baseball cap. RATS!

We hugged the Post office wall and the gate as tight as we could. After the car passed we leaned out to see if we could see someone reaching for the hat and we could NOT! Just then the driver’s door opened and we saw the fishing line move. Quickly Lance sprang into action trying to reel the line in but it was too late. The car door slammed and the driver stepped on the gas and the fishing line began to make a “zzz-ah-zzz-ah-zzz” sound.

Oh no! Lance’s fishing instinct told him to pull back and set the hook. But this Chevy Capri Classic going 30 mph and gaining speed was no match for some 60 lb boy. It only took a matter of seconds before the fishing pole was yanked from Lance’s hand into the air and dragging wildly down Madison street.

What a sight to see! Sparks flying from the fishing rod and the look of shock followed by hilarious laughter from each one of us. Wow! That was terribly fun. But wait… oh no… the fishing rod! The car was now exiting town and as it went over the railroad tracks we hear a “snap” and then silence. Guess the fishing rod met its final fate, snapped from the fishing line.

We gather here today in remembrance

Looking at Tony looking at Lance we detected that somebody was gonna be in trouble. Technically speaking it was Tony’s fishing rod- well Tony’s DADS fishing rod. But Lance was holding it last when it happened. Then again Lance did pay Tony with a Ding Dong to use the fishing rod so permission was granted.

Arguing these points as we all walked down to the tracks to retrieve the now-defunct fishing rod, Tony and Lance worked it out. It was Tony’s fishing rod so he would take the heat.

It took a while before Tony’s dad figured out he was missing a fishing rod. Well, let me correct that. Tony’s dad found the mangled one and put two and two together. Tony took his punishment like a man and soon we were all back downtown on Friday night with fishing rods, baseball caps, and a stuffed bear. Fishing for a whole lot of good clean fun.

The Joy of Scaring My Brother

I am basking in sheer joy, remembering all the fun of scaring my brother Jason. How do I even convey the merriment that resulted from all the planning and plotting? The quiet moments I patiently waited in his closet or under his bed. The restraint I mustard to crawl slowly into his room to scare the wits out him. I enjoyed scaring my brother.

I can’t remember why I started scaring my brother. Maybe it was the usual older sister/sibling rivalry type of thing. But whatever the case, mischief lay in my heart and it sought its way out through this avenue.

Plan your work and work your plan

My plan was very simple. I was to scare my brother and make him scream like a little girl. The plotting of “when” and “how” to scare my brother became my biggest challenge. These were elements which required great thought. It needed to have the biggest impact- making him screaming like a girl.

I probably picked a day when he pestered me the most. You know… kinda let all the frustration build. Like marinating meat, all day. I let the frustration marinate my mischievious thoughts. Revenge may be best served cold, but this revenge was best served in the dark.

Michele are you in here?

The five best words to hear him speak were “Michele? Are you in here?” He spoke them with a trembly voice. Mahwahahaha! I had him! Once he spoke those words, I knew the fear was in him. He knew to keep tabs on me in the evening. Watching me, seeing if I was in the kitchen, or brushing my teeth or in my bed. And if I wasn’t, it was time to be afraid… VERY AFRAID! I would make sure to get ahead of the evening’s bedtime routine. Shutting the light off in my room gave him a false sense of me being at bay.

I will start with my very best scare. I decided that I would lay under his bed, near the edge so I could watch for him. Waiting silently, patiently- for the sound of his feet padding down the hallway. Finally, I could see his feet standing in the doorway, pausing for a moment and then the words “Michele? Are you in here?”, followed by silence as he slowly entered the room. Pausing at the closet door he threw it open. But no Michele there. Silence again.

I could tell in the silence he was trying to decide if it was safe. Unfortunately, for him, it was NOT! Hardly able to contain my excitement, I would mentally tell myself to keep calm; the best part is coming! I resorted often to holding my hand over my mouth for fear he could hear me breathing, or worst yet, snickering to myself.

Scaring my brother

The pounding of my heart indicated that if I didn’t yell “Boo!” or “Rar!” soon, I was going be the first child at the age of eight to die of cardiac arrest under her brother’s bed. NO WAY! That wasn’t gonna be me.

My brother had decided the coast was clear and hopped into bed. I could hear him settle in. I slowly took my position nearest the edge of his bed, got my right arm ready, cause I was gonna swing it up and grab him! READY? Taking a deep breath in, I prepared myself for one smooth motion which would be followed by “Rar!”. SET? All systems are “go” Michele! GO! My hand swings up to the top of the bed and it hits his right shoulder as I scream out “Rar!”

JACKPOT! He screams like a girl while launching straight into the air. Blankets flying. I can hear the clatter of coffee cups and chairs shuffling about as my parent’s rocket from the living room to the hallway and then to my brother’s room. Asking him what is going on, why all the screaming?

But I am not even in his room. No, no… I already had done my “roll and run”, assuring that I would beat the parental calamity coming down the hallway. I was neatly tucked in my bed, faking sleep. So innocent. I had my mouth agape with a bit of drool trickling down to make it look sincere.

The Spanish Inquisition

Then I heard it. The tribunal coming down the hallway. I think my dad wore 4 x 6 ‘s on his feet as well as his hands. They knew the routine. They knew it was me, but they would never, EVER catch me at it. “Michele!”. “Michele, get up!”. I opened my eyes as if in a dream state, but there is no fooling mom, especially when I have such a “flair” for these events.

My dad was a big man. 6′ 7″ of him stood, looming in the doorway. Behind him, my brother, sniveling softly. Scaring my brother was totally frowned upon. He did not see well and I took great advantage of that once he removed his glasses. Somewhere I knew I felt bad, just a bit, for scaring him. But the joy of hearing him screamed outweighed whatever punishment that would await.

One Last Time, For Old Times Sake

The last scare, one of many good scares, was in our late high school years. I remember reading a book and seeing my brother come by my room and could hear him getting ready for bed. Then, like lightning, it hit me that I had not scared that boy in years! No time like a present, let’s do this one last time. Can’t let him think I’ve lost my touch!

A grin spread across my face. I wished I could have slinked out of my room, up and over items laying in the way- just like the Grinch did when he was stealing all the Christmas gifts from the Who’s in Whoville. But I was no Grinch and this was going require ninja-like moves. He was all the way across the other side of the basement.

The creature from the other side of the basement

Hiking up my jammies and putting my hair into a ponytail, I prepared for the ambush. I walked half-way slowly, one foot in front of the other, like the Indians did- not making a sound. Then as I could see his doorway, I dropped to my knees and began crawling. The same old joy began effervescing up from my mischievous heart. I had to stop a few times and put my head down to keep from laughing. Man! This was going to be epic! One last time is about all I have because we are not eight and seven years old anymore. I am seventeen and he is sixteen. He is big and fast.  I am extra vulnerable because I am crawling on the floor.

No longer having carpet to crawl on, I begin the trek across the cold linoleum. I am thinking about what I am going to say or do. But the merriment overcomes me and I let out a little snort. I freeze. Jason calls out, “MICHELE?!” I remain silent. Ah! Deep in the recesses of his mind, he remembers and then I remember all the scares, all the waiting in the closets and jumping out. All the screaming like a girl. Till finally, the hilarity of it all makes me bust out laughing and collapse on the floor.

Jason lets out a scream and throws on the bedside lamp. I am on the floor heaving with laughter. Putting on his glasses, he grabs a pillow and begins to give me whop after whop. But I don’t care. It was a great scare and probably my last scare. Scaring my brother was terribly fun and somewhere I know I should be sorry, but it was just too therapeutic.  Maybe the biggest scare is this story made it to print! HA!


Hostess Honey Bun Saved The Day

My mother had had enough. She was sick of me and my brother fighting, and not getting ready for school. So without delay, she launched down the hallway to our rooms. The determined pounding of her feet let us know her last nerve had been frayed and we were on her “list”.

Photo Credit Free-Photos

A quick side note. I had a very active imagination as a child. I loved to read books late into the night. In fact, I positioned my bed right up against the door to my room. This way I could lean out of my bed and catch the nightlight from the hallway! HA! And, I could hear if anyone approached from either way. If I did hear someone, then I could stealthily slide my book under the top cover and feign sleep. The next paragraphs are dedicated to my childhood imagination, groomed by years of the late night reading.

Today there was no hiding! We did not have Mary Poppins making her way up the hall, no sir! This was a Momster (mom and monster)! A sleep-deprived infant toting toddler dragging mother, who was about to channel her inner ugly mother and my brother and I were public enemy number one.

If I Have To Tell You One More Time

Photo Credit Free-Photos

She stood between our rooms, her eyes darting back and forth between me and my brother, me and my brother. With teeth gritted, eyebrows raise she said “GET. DRESSED.” “GET. YOUR. SCHOOL BOOKS.” “PUT. ON. YOUR. COATS. AND GET. TO THE BUS!” The “get’s” had their g’s and t’s emphasized, and the s’s had serpentine tones. This exchange assertively delivered while burping my infant sister and assuring my toddler brother that his breakfast was coming.

If smoke could have rolled up from underneath mom it would have. As well as the gates of Hades open wide to receive the world’s most bickering brother-sister duo.

As quickly as she appeared, she had gone back down the hallway. Cooing to my infant sister with my little brother scurrying alongside. I glanced again to see the gate of Hades close and the smoke retreat back with it.  Phew!

I thought of asking if a breakfast invitation was included before our departure, but thought better of it.  Frantically I grabbed my clothes and put them on, tied my shoes and began fretting that I was going to miss breakfast.  I NEVER missed breakfast.  This was a first for breakfast withholding punishment.

This is the part where you leave

My brother finished dressing and met me in the hall.  I whispered that we should not worry about the ceremony of brushing teeth.  He was in total agreement, he hated brushing teeth.  So we walked together to the kitchen where mom was busy with breakfast for my younger brother.

A quick glance from her told us she was not budging.  There was no invite to the breakfast table.  With a sweep of her hand, she told us to get out and get to the bus.  We hesitated knowing it was Wednesday.  On Wednesdays, she always gave us 50 cents before leaving the house so we could buy a treat at the store on the way home after school.

Mom made no further eye contact.  So with slumped shoulders and lowered heads, we walked into the foyer and grabbed our coats.  As I reached for the doorknob and glanced at the ledge by the door I spied our money for treats.  OH JOY!  Wait… how was this possible?  She must have left us money before our rivalry ruckus.  A little light of heaven shown upon us at that moment.

We greedily grabbed our money and made our way out the door, down the street, and to the store.  Walking up to the goodie shelf we scanned them for something breakfast like, and there it was.  The Hostess Honey Bun.  A taste of Hostess baked delight.  This was a small, cinnamon type roll with a good coating of frosting immortalized on top.  We knew we struck gold.

Glancing at the clock in the store we knew we had about two minutes to skedaddle or we would miss the bus. We paid the clerk and quickly made our way out the door.  A short stop at the trash can to remove the cellophane wrapper was all that stood between us and breakfast. We bit into the Honey Bun and relished every bite.  Between bites, my brother and I discussed our luck in having our treat money waiting by the door.

Lesson learned

The ride on the bus to school went fairly well.  The delicious, but sugary Honey Bun left us thirsty.  By the time we arrived at school we both made a bee-line for the bubbler (that’s Wisconsin talk for water fountain we can discuss this regional term some other time) and drank like camels.  We parted company and headed for our classrooms.

The ride home on the bus was uneventful, perhaps more reflective than anything.   I started feeling really guilty about ruining her day with our bickering.  My mom was a busy mom.  She basically had two families.  My brother and I were born in 1971 and 1972.  Then she took a 9-year hiatus.  Second thought… I would say she had a TOTAL lapse of memory and found herself right back at square one with additions in 1979 and 1980.  After that, she made sure the production line was shut down permanently.

Hopping off the bus we made the trek back home.  My brother and I walked into the house somewhat cautiously but were greeted by our mom with a warm smile.  We even got a hug.  When she asked how our morning went I stated ( I was the reporter/informer) that because she had left us money on the ledge by the door, for an after-school treat, we simply did the reverse and treated ourselves to a Honey Bun breakfast instead.  To which she raised her eyebrows and just said “Mmm.”  I was never really sure what her “Mmm” meant.  I’d like to think the “Momster” got a guilty conscious about sending her children off with no food.  A Friesland Hansel and Gretel, if you would.  So she left us the money to ease her conscious.

Just in case all this talk of Honey Bun has you hungry, they still make them!  I have yet to find a local store who has them, but you can ask your local grocer if they are able to order them or  Amazon.com has them available also.




The Cold Roast Beef Sandwich

The cold roast beef sandwich might be popular with some, but not with this girl.  This sandwich often made its way into my “Welcome Back Kotter” metal lunch pail.  My dear mother was a good steward of every bit of food in the refrigerator.  Spying last nights roast beef, she lovingly made me a sandwich and put it in my lunch pail.  This sandwich started out cold, but then slowly from 7:30 am on, made it’s way up to room temperature. And room temperature roast beef is just gross.  What child in their right mind wants to eat room temperature roast beef?  I sure didn’t! Continue reading