He Wasn’t Big On Compromise

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 13:00 PM.

            I don’t think we “celebrated” Father’s Day in 1957. There were no television ads suggesting we buy golf balls, Penguin sweaters or Camel cigarettes for that “special Dad” on our list. Of course, if there had been, we wouldn’t have seen it out at the end of Stonewall Street. We didn’t get a TV until Eisenhower was near ’bout out of office.

            If buying a present meant going to town and spending money Daddy was out of luck. We didn’t do much of that either. I don’t remember any billboards or newspaper ads promoting fatherhood back in those days.

            It was just as well; Daddy wasn’t much on pomp and circumstance. He was more into hard work and doing right. And I’m talking here of MY hard work and MY doing right! He thought the ball games were fine…..as long as all the chores were done. He thought you ought to ride your bikes anywhere you wanted to…..as long as the yard was mowed and clean. He figured you could date any girl your little heart desired…..if we had firewood cut and the corn and okra seeds were nestled in their beds.

            I’m not sure Daddy taught by example. He certainly didn’t lecture anything into us. He “expected” us to be proper, well behaved young men. Let me amend that a little; he demanded that we “be on our best behavior” at all times!

            He did it the old fashion way. If we messed up, he whipped us. It was a guideline that was clear, distinct and non-negotiable. I grumbled and complained silently. I hid my anger behind the tears. I tried to blame my fate on something or someone else. I petitioned God for some help down here!

But let me tell you something, I never once doubted my Father’s love for me or his sincerity for my wellbeing. I knew he was right before he unloosened that belt! Don’t let me being a little kid fool you. I understood right and wrong more than you might realize. I didn’t like the punishment…..but I knew the crime full well even as I stepped headlong into it.

Guess how many times my Father whipped me unjustly?



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