The switch! When hearing those words, some immediately think of changing from one thing to the next. Others may think of light switches. For me, I think about a thin branch that smacked my childhood rear end. If us boys ever got out of line, our great-grandmother would smack our rear ends with a switch. At first glance, she was not an intimidating woman. Nor was she very tall but she definitely had the presence of someone with a strong spirit. Whenever I got into trouble, most of the time, “the stare” was all that was needed to alter my behavior. When my older brother got into trouble though, it required something he could feel a little stronger.
On the corner of the house, there was a huge bush with branches that spanned four to six feet in every direction. Its branches were reddish in color and their most interesting feature was extreme flexibility, more than any I’ve seen, even in the years since. Apparently, they were a great instrument to whip misbehaving children. I am in no way an advocate of child abuse, but I never considered her even close to being abusive because I knew she loved me. She never lost control. When I got punished in this way, there was a reason for it.
I know the thought is shunned nowadays but I must admit it was rather effective on me. As for my brother, that was a different story. One time, we both got into trouble. She called out to us, “Go grab one of those switches off the tree and bring it back here, now!” I don’t remember what we did, but usually when a switch was involved, it was more severe. So, my brother and I marched over to the bush. The thing about these branches was that they would not easily break. I bent a piece back and forth, repeatedly, until after a minute or so it broke off. The same thing happened for him too.
We walked back to get our whupping, with our heads hung low. Then my brother did the unexpected. He handed the switch to her and all of a sudden took off running. He hopped on his bicycle and headed down the street. She hollered out to him loudly, but he kept on going, like a bat out of… Well, after that happened, things didn’t go so well for me. I stuck around for the punishment and may have gotten a little extra to top it off. Sure, it hurt and even left a mark at times. One thing was for sure, it couldn’t have hurt too bad or else we wouldn’t have repeated our mischievous ways so many times. Boys will be boys!