Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 25th Installment

        what to do if he knew you’d heard and understood him the first time. Vern and Edith were tough and absolute with their rules. They had boundaries and I knew what would happen if I crossed them. At the same time, they were fair. They had made their rules crystal clear, and they always made sure we understood why they had their rules. I will list a few.

  •        Tell the truth. (Not telling or 'keeping a secret' is the same as a lie.)
  •        Start moving or say “what” the first time they tell you what to do.
  •        Never mouth off or argue. (Their decision was always final, but they’d make sure we knew why.)
  •        Don't shirk your work or kill time.
  •        Always milk the cows on schedule.
  •        You will go to school every day, and you will go to college.
  •        Lastly, if you follow these rules, every other choice you make is yours. (The only exception to this was that Edith would choose our career path in college if we didn't want to take over the farm. We all went to college. She chose. None of us wanted to farm.)

       I wasn’t abused, I was disciplined – all of us were. I believe we were better for it. I had respect for my parents and I didn't fear them; I feared the consequences when I chose to not follow a rule. Because I respected my parents, I had decided when I was very young, that I wanted to please them. What pleased them was hard work, and I learned to love hard work. From hard work, naturally, came hard play. Work and play were the same for me. When I knew what was expected of me and believed that the rules were constant and fair, I was able to make my own choices. If our work was done, the time was totally ours to do whatever we wanted to do – be it dangerous, silly, lazy, or anything. (Although, we were very careful about being lazy.)

       “Did that last strapping hurt a lot?” Russ carefully queried as we lugged the milking equipment to the old pole barn to milk the cows.

       “Not really, the new strap is still new so it’s stiff and doesn’t bend enough to inflict a real stinger,” I answered. “He did draw a little blood, though, because he held the handle end and whacked me with the buckle end, and it scratched me a bit.”

       “Do you believe that Linda lost the old razor strap?” Russell was full of questions this chilly morning.

       “Heck no!” I sputtered. The old strap had hung on that nail in the kitchen for as long as I could remember just to remind us of the consequences of breaking the rules. Linda, always the schemer, took it out in the desert and buried it.”

       “So, you don't believe her story?” Russ said.

       “Like I said – Heck No!” I believed her tale of

500 more words tomorrow

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