Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Wednesday..with and without words..
Seeing this image this morning brought so many childhood memories flooding back..
As much as I adore picket fences at other places,I will never ever again have one surrounding my yard...
When I was a kid in Junior High school, we moved to a new house, yet another that Daddy built of concrete block exterior. As was the custom, he would build the house, put on the roof, install doors and windows, followed by interior partitions. At that point, we would move into the house,finishing one room at a time..
Of course, the kitchen and bathrooms were completed first!
We had a neighbor at this location, who was not the nicest person. For some reason, he just was not neighborly. It couldn't have been the fact we had kids and a dog,..there were three children and TWO dogs in his family! So daddy built a picket fence between the properties,but with NO GATE on the fence dividing the two houses!
But this story is not about the new house, or fences making for good neighbors..
It is about the thought process of a parent who has squabbling children,and his unique way of ending that particular problem.
My father would tolerate only so much of the bickering between my younger brother and me..
It did not matter who was right.or who was wrong, or who did what to whom..
It was about showing these unruly children the importance of loving your sibling no matter what..
When the noise or fighting became to much, Daddy would say:"Alright! enough is enough!
Out to the "little house" (which was the name of his shop out back).."
There, we each were given a paintbrush.and a bucket of white paint..
and were marched to the picket fence..
him on one side..me on the other..facing each other..
and Daddy would say:"Paint until I tell you to stop,and if either of you utter one word,then you each will get the belt..and you WILL return to the fence with aching behinds to finish the job!Have I made myself clear?"
This was not a fun task on a hot sunshiny day in Florida...
Daddy watched from afar..as we each painted..silently,,,
making faces at each other...trying to arouse a sound..
or better yet..force the other to TATTLE!
but still never uttering a word..
just sweating..and painting ..
until Daddy came out to offer a cool drink of water..
hoping beyond hope he would say the magic words..
"Stop painting, kiss and make up..wash the brushes and put everything away!"
Most times this was followed by a trip to the river or the beach,for a swim at the less crowded and more deserted areas of the bay,where the huge live oaks trees afforded ample shade for picnic area..
Knowing the drill, Mom had been preparing a picnic lunch,
and had the basket packed with Southern Fried chicken!
and an ice cold watermelon in the cooler with drinks..
....while we brats painted the picket fence.
After growing up, I asked my dad why he resorted to that as a punishment..
his answer was simple: he could look outside and see where we were..
we were not fighting..
rather expending the built up anger in a constructive way..
This way, the picket fence was always nicely painted!!
And even today, when I see a white picket fence..
I become a child again, remembering painting that damn fence in the hot Florida Sun!!!
If I ever do consent to having one...
It WILL BE one which never needs painting!
Please join these wonderful sites for More Wednesday fun!!
and Wordless Wednesday..