*ed. note: this piece was originally published in 2018. And, exciting news! It appears we're getting the band back together. Look for some new pieces from Bess moving ahead. As always thanks for reading.
Smoking cigarettes is a really bad habit. I can say that because I smoke. Not only is it a bad habit, it’s an expensive one, too, and I wish I’d never started. It was also an indicator to my boys of Mama’s mood. If I walked out the back door, cigarette in hand (I never smoked in the house) they knew they’d better settle down or the paddle was coming out.
I always had a rule with my boys (yes, you could say this was a double-standard, I do and you can’t, but I meant it). If you want to smoke, I’ll teach you. I kept a couple 5 gallon buckets behind the house and a pack of unfiltered Camels in the freezer. If you want to smoke, fine. We’ll go down to the creek, buckets in hand for seats, and the pack of Camels.
My other promise was that we’d walk back up the path to the house together. I’d have a sore throat, and they’d be green faced and puking.
Didn’t –I- get busted!
My oldest started sneaking my cigarettes (ultra lights) and smoking them at the bus stop at the end of the driveway. The driveway was half a mile long, so he really thought he was safe. Ummm… Our Tax Commissioner lives right around the corner (I’ll save my praises and accolades for her in another column). She called a mutual friend, busted my kid out, and I got to scare him. Scared him silly.
My child came home and I had the pack of Camels in my hand. I simply looked at him and said “We’re going to the creek.”
I got tears. Not alligator tears, but –real- ones. “No, Mama. NO!” Yes, he was scared silly. The Camels were left in the freezer. I can’t say he never smoked again, but he did think twice about it.
I’ll save that story for another day.
- Bess Tuggle
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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