Monday, January 2, 2012

Y'all Line Up and Get Your Medicine

Y'all line up and get your medicine...Oh dear, that was the one phrase I had such an adversion to hearing in my youth. When we children heard that, it meant the older five ending with myself. Getting our medicine didn't mean the kind you take, swallow, or any other means of being administered. It meant the form of a whipping administration. The sister just a year older than I was always wanted to be last and I could never figure out why. Until one day I ended up at the end of the line by mistake. Pa had whipped the four ahead of me and it didn't seem as bad as when I was first in line. There weren't just a few strikes but many, in the range of twenty to thirty at a time. I always thought it was better to be the first and get it over with quickly so I could go behind the smoke house and cry my tears in private. I was not always successful in containing my post whipping emotions inward and there were times I sobbed my heart out as I knew I did not deserve that whipping I had just received. There seemed to be a problem in my family of one or the other taking something we were told to leave alone. It was law in our household that if it wasn't yours you better not touch it. I feared the whippings I knew would find us when the law had been broken at our house. Candy, gum, cookies were not something found in abundance at our house, if they did show up they were put in a brown crock cookie jar. It even had the word cookies on it so it could sit up on the top of the safe in its tempting spot. We older children had strict orders to leave it alone as it was for Mama and the youngest child only. No one said life was fair and I learned that at a very early age. My first time attending school by the local grocery store near the school. I was given the task of taking a dime to school and buying two candy bars. One for Mama and one for the youngest child. Somehow that just didn't seem fair. I had to guard those things with my life. My older sister wanted a candy bar too and told me how to get her one and she even told me to get myself one too. Well I finally got up my nerve to do the bad deed and as I was slipping the first candy bar into my purse I heard a soft voice saying I wouldn't do that if I were you. I dropped that candy bar back in the bin and chose the two I had the dime to pay for and checked out as quickly as possible. Back then receipts weren't always given out for such small purchases. I went on to class and was glad I hadn't stole the candy after all. Well the kicker is I was asked by a classmate to see my purse as she thought it was pretty. I willingly handed it over and she promptly opened it and looked inside. Yes she saw two candy bars. No she didn't know I paid for them. No she didn't know I had the stealing bug scared right out of me to never return. It wasn't long before I heard comments as I was walking to change classes. That's the girl that stole that candy from the store with a finger pointing at me. Whether it was in the hallway or going up or down the stairs, I often heard it. It was like a phrase that caught on and spread like wild fire. I was branded a thief and it hurt me to my core knowing I had almost broke one of God's commandments. None of the people that were pointing fingers ever found out that it was not true what they had spread around school about me. As I was raising my children it seemed to be the custom for mothers to allow their children to open a package and eat from it while they were shopping. I taught my children that we must pay for it first they we may eat it. It was my duty to my children to make sure they had their nutritional and hydrational needs met before I walked through the door to the store. Anywhoo, as a child growing up we were taught that if we think it we were just as guilty as if we did it. In my heart I was guilty and so I never attempted to straighten the stolen candy bars misinformation with any of my accusers. They wouldn't have believed me anyway. We were so Poor that all the stigma that goes with being so poor that you're pore was always considered to be the truth even when it wasn't. We were told to accept what was given and never ask for anything. Well sir I never asked for all those whippings but that didn't mean I was going to be lucky enough to get out of getting one. Perhaps next time I will write about the strawberry trips in spring time. Until then I leave you with Just This...Alice

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