Ultimatums

They seem cruel now–but, back then they were attempts to gain control.  Different from admonitions, these were warnings; do/don’t do this, or this will happen.

“Come on, I’m going.  I’m not telling you again.  OK, you can just stay here at Aunt Edna’s.  Your Bubba bear is going to miss you.”

A few tears, later and the recalcitrant youngun’ came dragging along.  He wasn’t about to abandon his favorite teddy bear.

Behind Rose’s Market was an outhouse and a storage building.  The small town grocery store, was an after school meeting place.  Old men from town, met in the back, by the oil-burning stove, for their daily gossip fest.  Charlie Rose, the proprietor, gave a familiar warning.

“Get away from that shed–the boogeyman will get you.”

Grandparents gave an ultimatum or two.  Some of them quite macabre.

“Don’t play on the telephone.”  Or, Nelson Fenton, proprietor of the local independent telephone company, would come and, “Cut our ears off.”

Ultimatums came from everywhere, from aunts and uncles, teachers, townspeople.  They were battles of wills; attempts to maintain order.

“If you don’t stop crying and behave, I’m going to take you to the doctor and get you a shot.”

That usually did the trick.  No kid I knew liked getting shots.  Working in health care later, I discovered this approach, hindered more than it helped.

“Hit your sister again, and I’ll swat your butt.”  Direct and to the point–nothing else needed to be said.

Along the path to maturity, these ultimatums were no more cruel, than those elsewhere in the animal kingdom.  Mother cats cuffed misbehaving offspring; carried them by the scruff of their necks when necessary.  All creatures had to learn their places.  There were consequences for misbehavior.

 

 

 

Lots of Good Wishes!

A non-specific bout of upper respiratory distress has affected both my wife and myself.  The timing could not be worse.  A long journey lies ahead.

I suspect it has a lot to do with extreme changes in weather.  Warm one day and cold the next.  The body hasn’t had a chance to adjust.  I’ve heard spring peepers the last two mornings.

Most people wouldn’t complain about it being 75 at nine on a December morning.  Two-hundred fifty miles north of here, it’s thirty-something degrees.  Icy Upper Midwest winter weather has already delayed the trip.

By the time I return, Christmas will be over for 2016.  Hopefully all will be well by that time.

To everyone that follows my miscellaneous ramblings, have a Merry Christmas–a safe and happy Holiday Season!

 

“Merry Christmas from Charles Claus, the Christmas heron”–image, http://wwwlynnjordanphotography.com/

Desolation Roads

Small town values

Houses with

Plastic covered

Drafty windows

Temporary fixes

To quell winter’s cold

Strange-named burbs

Far away from fake tans

Full of people

With weathered

Wrinkled skin

Happy for a while

Till the pendulum swung

Nothing better came along

They either moved on or stayed

A story already told

Along desolation roads

 

Eastbound, Down and Out

His reign was over

Everybody else knew

Poor whippoorwill would do

What nobody else would do

What others thought

Whippoorwill said out loud

Whippoorwill was a good boy

Made his mama real proud

Whippoorwill fell, got back up

Scoffed–it was just bad luck

If there wasn’t a God

Why was whippoorwill still here?