January 22nd…“WHEN YOU NEEDED CORPORAL DISCIPLINE, AS A CHILD, WHICH PARENT CORRECTED YOU, AND HOW?”
Whoooo meee? Need correcting? Awww pshawww! Hehehehe! ;o)
Our beloved mother’s correction technique was usually verbal in nature; oh sure, she could break a yardstick or two across our bottoms, but more often her power of correction was in her eyes and the tone of her voice. Whenever I chose to use inappropriate language or showed a bad attitude, she reminded me of my Christian upbringing with the heavy scolding of, “SHAME ON YA!!!!”. That, in itself, was a piercing reprimand that impressed my ears and heart in my early youth.
Dad?….now HE was a power to be reckoned with!!! Like the time I wanted to have a “snack attack” and was perusing the contents of our refrigerator there on the farm. I’d say I was about 7 years old, at the time. Mom called out to me from across the kitchen, “Close that refrigerator door, Elliott, and wait for Supper or you’ll spoil your appetite!” Now why should I just gently close the frig door when I can add some drama to the fact that I didn’t get MY way and MY snack, right? I hauled off and SLAMMED that ice box door so hard, you could hear the clatter of items inside bouncing against the walls. At that same instant, Dad LAUNCHED from his chair next to the kitchen table and had me by the back of the neck with one hand and his other muscular hand clamped onto my minuscule butt cheeks!! I became an instant member of the “NORWEGIAN AIRBORNE BOTTOM BEATER BRIGADE”. Now horizontal in flight, “Commander Dad’s” primary mission was to fly me through the air and land us in a corner bedroom of the house. Upon “touchdown”, and, as an added echelon of correction, he disembarked my pants from my body so that his giant, HARD, calloused hand could cause great rippling and jello-like palpitations upon my gluteus maximus (Latin for: The last part that goes over the fence)!! YOWSA!!!
Another “smarting” occasion comes to mind when I was about 10 years old. When I got home from school each day, it was my responsibility to get my chore clothes and boots on and help feed our Holstein dairy herd while Dad did the milking and other tasks around the barn. Besides our cows, I was responsible for carrying buckets of grain to feed our pigs in the Hog House. Those were just some of the family expectations for this little Norwegian Farmer’s Son. Well, on this occasion, after changing clothes, I meandered downstairs and sauntered over to the old “Zenith” black & white TV in the corner of our Living Room. I thought to myself, “I’ll just tune in ‘Bart’s Clubhouse’ and watch ONE cartoon before going to do my chores”. Well, you guessed it, one cartoon turned into MANY and I lost track of time.
Suddenly, I heard the screen door at the back of the house nearly ripped off its hinges as Dad came storming inside! Low and behold, it was my fire-breathing father taking on his persona known as the “BIG BAD BELLOWING BUTT BOOTER”!! At the top of his lungs, Dad yelled, “Whaddaya think your doin’ wasting time in here watching cartoons while those cows are out in the barn MOOOING their heads off cause they’re hungry???!!!” In that split second, this quivering lump of terrified boy began to tenderly traverse my way past the seething tower of Dad on my way out to the barn. Fuming Father cocked his work boot and caught my butt cheeks, causing me to be catapulted in mid-air. My feet were already spinning as I touched down on that linoleum floor and shot off like a rocket down to the barn to get my belated chores done. “Superman”, himself, could not have matched the warp speed with which I flew to get livestock fed and other tasks accomplished that evening. For the rest of that night in the barn with Dad I was on edge and on the watch for him. The throbbing pulsations of his boot print in my posterior motives (my behind) would make me always face him as he’d pass by so as not to reveal my tender behind to another POW from his “punter”.
Those correcting experiences (notice I do NOT use the word “punishment”), in our young life, were not all that often. All of us children learned to respect the power that Father had over us as the patriarch of our family. Those type of moments were just part of the paradigm shift or learning curve of becoming a man and, overall, we knew Dad and Mom loved us deeply and fulfilled their God-given role of correcting us when we strayed from that which we knew was right. In the majority of cases, all Dad had to do to correct us was to wave his big pointer finger at us and tell us to “BEHAVE!” For all of us kids knew, that behind that pointer finger was a BIGGER HAND of correction that could be employed, if necessary. Such were the needed corrections of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.