Remembering Dad: The Newspaper Beating
I don’t know what compelled me to sit on the porch and yell "Mr. and Mrs. Elephant" at Mr. and Mrs. Anderson as they were leaving their house and getting into their car that day. I do know, however, that I regretted it the moment I saw them heading across the street toward our house.
I was inside the house instantly, and hoping they would divert their path back to the car. Alas, the doorbell rang. Dad answered the door.
Any hope I had that they were there to see how Mom and Dad were doing was dashed instantly when they told Dad that I was calling them names. He called me front and center, and asked if what they were accusing me of was true. There was nothing I could do except make one attempt to lie my way out of it.
"I was telling them goodbye," I said. "It must’ve sounded like I was calling them Mr. and Mrs. Elephant."
I didn’t say it was good attempt to lie my way out of it.
Dad knew what they were accusing me of doing had happened. He told them he would deal with me.
They asked him how he intended to deal with it. Dad told them he would talk to me about calling people names. That, apparently, wasn’t good enough for them. After a short discussion with them about appropriate punishment for me, they agreed upon me getting a beating.
Dad told me to get into the hallway near the bathroom, and got a newspaper out of the closet. I could not believe this was about to happen. Dad rarely spanked us, and he never beat us!
The Andersons stayed on the porch as Dad told me to bend over. The first strike with the newspaper landed with a loud thud! I instantly began bawling. That was followed by a second, third, fourth, and fifth loud smack with the newspaper. When the beating was finished, I was told to go apologize.
With tears still flowing, I went to the door and apologized to the neighbors who I remember looking rather smug about the beating they demanded coming to fruition.
After they left, Dad sat me down at the table and asked me if I knew why I got the beating with the newspaper.
"Yes, Dad," I confessed. "It was because I called Mr. and Mrs. Anderson a name."
"No, that is not why," Dad said. "It was because I knew it would make a loud noise and not really hurt you. Now, don’t ever do that again, okay?"
I promised it would not happen again, and began realizing that it really did not hurt. The tears were about getting the beating, and not because the beating caused me pain.
I don’t remember exactly what else we did the rest of the day. I remember we spent much of it hanging out together so I could help him with his projects with much higher admiration for him. I also remember him treating me to a bowl of ice cream for all the help that day.
I had always loved Dad, but that was the day he rose from being my father to being my hero.
Some other things I've written about: