18 August 2018

[Bess Tuggle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: The "Equalizer", Pt. III ('It All Starts at Home')

The paddle, also known as “The Equalizer” has one more tale to tell before I retire her for a while.  Can’t promise she’ll rest forever in peace, but this is the last one that currently comes to my mind.

Thing 3 developed a penchant for lying.  Not just once in a while, but on a regular basis by the time he hit 5 or 6 years old.

I would ask “Is this a story, or is this the truth?”  I was always answered that it was the truth.  I knew better, but couldn’t do a thing about it without proof.

Thunder struck, and I caught him red handed.  I never used the paddle if I wasn’t sure, but this time I got him.  Guilty, no defense, case sewed up and you’re gonna get your butt popped.

Thing 3 didn’t realize I was on the front porch.  

The bedroom he shared with his younger brother had three windows that opened to the front porch.  The front porch was also my favorite place to unwind after work, read my newest fish-wrapper, and swap gears from work to being Mama.

Well, I heard screams coming from their bedroom.  “Mama, he’s hurting me!”  “Mama, make him stop!”  “Mama, PLEASE help me!!!”  

I looked in the window.  Thing 4 was standing in the bedroom door about 12 feet away from his brother, he saw me, and never said a word.  He just let his brother run on, and on, and on…  Thing 3 had his back to the window screaming his head off, about a foot away from me.

Finally (after I got done laughing), I tapped on the window.  Oops.  Houston, you have a problem here.  Busted!

Yes, I got out the paddle.  It was earned, and I told my child he’d get 3 pops.  He got ‘em, then I thought for a few seconds.  He got a few more.  “Oops, Mama lied.”  A couple more deep breaths with him over my knees, and he got another.  “Damn, Mama lied again.”  Couple more.. then another, then a couple more...  He REALLY didn’t like it when Mama lied.

I’ve never beaten a child, but that was a lesson about lying driven home with the paddle.  We never had another problem between “the truth” and “a story.”   

May the paddle rest in peace, for the time being.  


PS:  Obituary:  The paddle, also known as “The Equalizer,” met an untimely death in 2010.  A shotgun took her down as target practice, and she never paddled another butt.  All my kids’ sighed in relief, and the grandkids’ never got to meet her.  I wish her the best in her afterlife, and hope that she left several offspring for children, grandchildren, students and other youngun’s alike.  It all starts at home, ya’ll.  

A jack of all trades, Bess Tuggle has been a Covington resident since the late 70’s. She's been a K-Mart cashier, cabinet builder, vet tech, office manager for a beef cattle ranch and water well company (where she was able to hold benefits for D.A.R.E. and Scouts), a court reporter, business manager, assistant at a private investigation firm, legal assistant, convenience store clerk, landscaper and elementary school substitute teacher.  Her greatest pleasure is being a wife, mother and grandmother.  Her stories are all real, and all names will be withheld to protect the innocent, and also maybe the guilty, depending on the crime & the Statute of Limitations. 
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