Adults look back to their childhood remembering that game winning catch, their favorite cartoon and always the spanking that will forever be en grained in their memory. In a day and age of time-out and hugs only parenting, that faint sting of the historical spanking may never vanish. In my family, that sting only resides in out aching bellies from laughter recounting and retelling these stories again and again to returned and new audiences, and now for you to enjoy.

Growing up in a farming community, we lived in an absence of asphalt for speedy bike riding, cable-TV for Double-Dare induced comas, and tribes of children to play cowboys and Indians with when we were bored. Instead our summers consisted of mowing our 5+ acre yards, picking bushels of vegetables out of our football field sized gardens and tending to whatever animals were on our property. Our only escape from daily enslavement of rural life was 4-H, an organization created to improve the rural quality of life through new and innovative solution sharing.

What 4-H really meant to us was FREEDOM!!! I am talking pure unadulterated William Wallace like freedom. For two weeks out of the summer 4-H saved us from rural childhood chores and sent us to a summer camp and then later that summer sponsored our county fair, where we could entire our best “goods”, livestock, baked-goods, vegetables and handicrafts.

My Mom and Dad had a great history with 4-H and wanted my brother and I to be as involved with the organization as they were. So, my brother being the revered eldest was the first to emerge in 4-H with actual livestock. The problem was finding the appropriate livestock for an 8 year old to use as his best. My brother, through the urging of our parents chose sheep. He and I were thrilled, when we heard Daddy had talked with a friend of his scheduling a time to go pick out some lambs to bring home with us. Not only did this mean we were going to have something new to play with, it also meant we were getting out of the house for at least a few hours to go pick up the babies from my dad’s friends house in Louisa County, Virginia, about 40 minutes down the road.

Saturday morning we all pile in the Ford Bronco and head to Louisa. It was always the same way, my brother and I in the back and Mom in the front and Dad driving. It’s a beautiful morning and looking like the day is going to be Divine! We arrive at the friends house, and head out to the barn. We look over the herd of sheep and I think terms and conditions were discussed in regards to getting a couple of the lambs. If we would have gotten the sheep and left then, I wouldn’t be telling this story today. However, we trot in their house for a little bit of lunch and conversation (between the adults of course).

So my brother and I ate our lunch, probably with great speed hoping that the sooner we finish the sooner we can get back to play with our new lambs. Well that definitely didn’t happen. I was known as being the mischievous child so my mom always kept a good eye on me to ensure I was being the proper young lady I was expected to be. Despite her visual leash on me, I was entranced by this interesting looking rounded drawer on a piece of furniture in their formal dining room. I asked to be excused pretending like I needed to use the restroom, instead I intended to practice my covert operation skills investigating this drawer and its contents. We didn’t have any rounded drawers or furniture at home so this was totally new and special, there had to be something extraordinary in this drawer.

I slither across the room, looking back at Mom every 2-3 steps to ensure she was engaged in deep conversation, she was, SHEW! I pull the round dangling handle of the drawer and *squeak* inch by inch attempt to open this drawer. Mom’s bat-senses honed in on those squeaks and I was caught. Mom snipped “Young lady, that is not your drawer to be looking into. You know better than that! Mind your manners!” During public scolding I quickly glimpse in and find napkin rings! WHAT! how boring is that, those have to be hiding something in the back. That wasn’t worth being told to mind my manners. I look back with the typical “I’m sorry” face, Dad melts, Mom scorns.

I whip my head around to focus in on the drawer again! I can’t escape what potentially could be in the back of this drawer! My hand is drawn to that round dangling handle like space into a black hole. I look behind me again, Mom and Dad are talking again, so I decide I am going to do it! I have to see what is behind these napkin rings. I do a quick scan looking for that parental governor and find the coast is clear. I quickly yank open the drawer, *SQUEAK* and all I find is MORE NAPKIN RINGS! At the same time I throw my head back with utter disappointment, I hear my mom’s hands gently push herself away from the table and announce, “it’s time for us to be going.” Relief, I didn’t get caught.

We say our goodbyes, as I feel the temperature of the air rise. I take Dad’s hand and we walk out saying we’ll be back for the sheep. I turn behind to wave to Dad’s friends and hear this voice that seemed to stem from the bowels of hell saying “Will, get in the front.” It was my Mom’s voice directing my brother to remain poised because her weapons are hot and ready to be deployed, so get out of the way. I look up at Dad, and he looks down at me. My eyes feel like they are going to fall out I am so stricken with fear. I slow my pace, knowing that I was caught, I disobeyed, a catastrophic mistake. I creep into the back of the Bronco and Will limberly jumps into the front seat. To Will, this is better than Christmas, kids never get the “shotgun” seat.

Mom and Dad provide their last parade wave and slide into the car. I am sitting as far away from the other side of the seat as possible. Mom speaks again, in the guttural hellish voice telling me to lay across her lap, rear up! She proceeds to explain to me why I am getting the spanking that will “ensure you won’t be able to sit for a week” because I acted without the manners of a young lady. The spanking I don’t really remember, I think I entered an entranced state of fear and pain, how am I going to stand for the next week? My feet are going to hurt worse than my rear!

At the end of the spanking I remember hearing my Mom whimper “that hurt me more than it hurt you” and I looked up to seeing my brother looking at my pathetic state limped across my mothers thighs with a “thank God I know my manners” look.

We rode the rest of the way home in silence, at least I did. I don’t remember any conversation after that, all I knew is that my rear hurt, I will never looking in any one’s drawers again because it could just be napkin rings, and the lambs of freedom remained in Louisa.