Monday, September 1, 2008
This road is located in the Glebe area of Mathews. I really, really wanted to go down it. I always want to know what's hiding at the end of these lanes. But in this particular instance there were too many signs talking about private property and trespassing and such. So I heeded the warnings, but not without much contemplation and deliberation.
When I was a kid, someone gave us a pony named Thunder, who was the most stubborn animal that ever lived aside from my two sisters.
Whenever I rode Thunder, I'd break a branch--otherwise known as a switch--off a bush to use as a crop, to give her a a gentle tap (and the occasional whack) when she walked instead of trotted; when she stopped dead in her tracks instead of moving forward, and when she reached around and bit me just because I nudged her with my heels to get her to move at all.
She was one ornery (pronounced AHN-ree) pony.
Back in those days, dinosoars roamed the Earth. And switches were often used on children, usually as a punishment for some wrong doing. Go ahead and call Social Services, but you ought to give them the whole truth, which was we all made out just fine in spite of the fact we were hit with switches, flyswatters made of steel, and hairbrushes made of lead.
But we're not talking about all that, we're talking about switches and I have a story about one switch in particular.
When I was about six, my sisters and I spent the night with my grandmother, Nanny, in Gloucester. Middle Sis and I fought a lot, but not just cat fights. No, these were legendary brawls involving teeth, hair and eyes, hitting, lots of kicking, biting and torture of all sorts.
Nanny knew what a tough job it was to prevent these fights. This particular occasion, to keep us in check, she carefully selected a very large switch from her yard and placed it on a shelf out of our reach but within sight. She told us she certainly hoped she would have no use for it, but reassured us that she wasn't afraid to use it if necessary. Then she returned to the kitchen to fry the best fried chicken ever to touch an iron skillet.
Chesapeake Bay Child, ordinarily a very loving and caring individual, especially to her younger sisters, suddenly felt an evil streak come over her. It hit her like a tidal wave and she could not fight it. For reasons that are not entirely clear, I pulled up a stool, stood on it and grabbed that switch off the shelf. I have no earthly idea why, but I then commenced to walk up to my grandmother, who was wearing a dress and hovering over the stove. I started to hit her bare legs. Yes, Chesapeake Bay Child took a switch to her own beloved, fried-chicken-making, favorite grandmother.
I have no idea how this story ends because I very successfully blocked out anything that happened next. I want to say that in spite of the egregious violation on my part, she resorted to laughter and a phone call to my mother. I don't recall flyswatters or hair brushes being used, so the humor must have outweighed the act of disobedience.
Note: No children, ponies or fried-chicken-cooking Nannys were harmed in the making of this post. A few bushes had their branches torn off, and one ornery sister got her hair pulled, but otherwise everyone came out unscathed. Physically, anyway. The jury is still out on the mental part.