Monday, March 06, 2006

Shades of Tom Sawyer

For reasons known only to him, my father always made ice cream on the front porch. While we had a huge back yard, the front yard was real small with the front porch less than ten feet from the gate.

As though a siren had blasted a signal throughout the area, kids started to crowd the porch and front yard about the same time my father brought out his ice cream maker. The one thing my father never had to do was to crank the ice cream maker. The kids would fight among themselves to be the next one to crank.

There is one afternoon in particular that stands out vividly in my mind. The ice cream was ready and my father filled a cone with two scoops and gave it to one of the neighborhood kids. My brother Alfred, whose nickname at the time was "Bully," grabbed the cone from the kid's hand, but before he could lick the ice cream, my father immediately took the cone from his hand and returned the cone to its rightful owner.

Almost simultaneously, my father took off his belt, laid my brother across his knees and gave him several whacks across his behind with the leather belt. Adding insult to injury, Bully was sent to his room without any ice cream.

All of us kids learned a moral lesson that hot afternoon. As for my father, the kids respected him even more after that single incident. That was the first and only time that my father ever spanked one of his kids.

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