Spare the Rod…

… And spoil the child.

My two boys understood that Dad was a strong believer in this saying. I kept a switch cut from our plum tree stored for quick deployment if needed. It was a little over two feet long and very limber. When swung, it made satisfying “swishing” sounds as it cut the air, and that was usually enough to strike fear in the heart of the most delinquent kid. With a couple of “air swishes,” they usually begged for forgiveness and promised not to misbehave again.

I know the above makes me sound like some like of an evil person, but all they ever got were a few swishes across the back of the legs, and since they would be “dancing” at the time, most didn’t hit very hard. Like I said, usually just making a few “air swishes” was enough to get the message across.

I kept my switch in the kitchen stuck in a crock jar that displayed some sprigs of eucalyptus of about the same length. It was ready to switch. All I needed to do was grab it. The boys knew where I kept it of course, which was part of its effectiveness.

One day I needed to deploy my switch. With the offending delinquent son in one hand, I dragged him over to the eucalyptus jar. With my other hand, I reached for my switch, and with great fanfare, I withdrew it from its crock jar holster and made a few demonstration “air swishes” for effect. To my utter dismay, it made no intimidating swishing sounds. I looked at my switch to discover it wasn’t two feet long anymore! “Someone” had cut it down to about four inches long, just long enough to stick up among the eucalyptus branches and look like it was longer!

The delinquent child laughed; I laughed … and went out and cut a new switch.


Filed under Family History

3 responses to “Spare the Rod…

  1. Richard A Caire

    This is such an excellent story – that switch was probably better than even the venerable flyswatter Moms used to threaten kids with


  2. Good story Lane. I remember when my Dad would make me go out and get a switch from a tree in the back yard. Now that added insult to injury. Of course, needless to say, he didn’t use the first one I brought back. It took a few trips before I brought back one big enough.


  3. Linda C. Caro

    This is Linda Constancy Caro. I was talking to my 12 year old grandson about my Dad and M.B. tonight and about their fishing adventures and other things that they did together. He asked where they went to high school. I didn’t know where M.B. went so I googled his name and the Catahoula Chronicles popped up. It was so great reading about M.B. when he was young. Very interesting stories! Hope you’re doing well!
    Sincerely, Linda


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