The Lee Side: One for the ages

As a rule, I was a pretty good kid.

Posted on 11/30/13

By Lee Coleman

I certainly made my line share of mistakes along the way and got a bushel of spankings for my efforts.

Some were much worse than others thanks in large part to my Marine Corps sergeant father, God rest his skinny belt where he lays.

My mother was a different story. She was a gross left-hander and would get that southpaw arm wound up with an old Bolo paddle in her grips.

She knew how to make her point but blue jeans or even a bed cover were pretty good shields for a thin piece of wood.

As scary as my dad could be when he was not a happy camper, my mom was more interested in the lessons we learned from her sessions.

Except for this one time I’ll never forget.

You see, Monday is my birthday and 50 years ago, give or take, she gave me the worse whupping of my life on my fifth birthday.

We were playing in an old gravel driveway when Mom came out of the house to tell me it was time for me to come in and get ready for my birthday party that afternoon.

I refused at the top of my young lungs. Mom went ballistic. Coming full steam at me, I thought I’d be cute and throw a handful of gravel at her all the while laughing about it.

Wrong thing to do!

She grabbed the first stick she saw and proceeded to tan my backside, dragging me into the house while letting me know I had messed up in seven different languages.

The more I screamed, the worse it got. Taking me to my bedroom, she suddenly became very calm and had these kind words to say.

“You just wait until your father gets home!” she exclaimed.

According to kid law, that was worse than getting double-dog dared by your friends.

Either way, there was no escape.

What should I do now as I turned into a puddle of petroleum pudding waiting for the front door to open?

Simple solution. I’ll just put on my junior football uniform complete with helmet and shoulder pads and hide under my bed to avoid the skinny belt as much as I could.

Diving in head first, I got about halfway under the bed when I came to a screeching halt.

You gotta be kidding me. My helmet and shoulder pads were hung up, leaving me exposed on my stomach with everything from the waist down sticking out for Dad’s easy target practice.

As I tried to free myself to no avail, I heard the front door open and heard Mom and Dad having this muzzled conversation.

Dad came down the hallway and when he saw me, I don’t recall my Dad ever laughing so hard.

Mom got mad and Dad lifted the bed off me, still laughing.

All he said was for me to get ready for my party. I thought Mom’s giant honeycomb hairdo was going to burst into flames.

She said not one word, only pointing a stern finger at me.

Funny how one finger point can last a lifetime.

I don’t dare pick up one piece of gravel today.

At least while I’m awake.

Coleman is the editor of the Republican and can be contacted at