The Daddy accepted no excuses from me when I was a kid. If I did something stupid, then I did something stupid. I suffered the consequences. I learned quite early what the consequences were so I did my best not to do stupid things—or, at least, not to get caught.
For a man with a gentle voice, the Daddy gave very stern scoldings. So stern that it brought on the tears. And, should I cry, the Daddy said, "No crying." The longer the crying, the harsher the scolding.
The Daddy used his belt for the dumbest decision-making acts I did. One or two quick slaps on my legs. The sting of the leather brought on the tears, too. "No crying," the Daddy said. Sucking up the tears just gave me the hiccups.
I only recall two instances when I got the Daddy's belt. Both times I was no where to be found and came home later than I should have. Both innocent mistakes on my part. Both major scares on my parents' part.
Discipline was the name of the game. But, don't get me wrong. The parents also spoiled me. For one, they let me order as many books as I wanted from the Scholastic paperback book sales even though the family had a limited budget. For another, the parents let me stumble into my future rather than demand I study something that would immediately get me a job, such as secretarial, bookkeeping, or nursing skills.
Ah, back then the Mama wanted me to be a nurse. That was the top-of-the-line job and career a woman in my family could be. At least on the Mama's side. The Daddy thought life would be good for me if I became a secretary. He considered that a non-traditional, high-tone job. The Mama agreed. One of her highlights while working in seed research was being sent to the main office in the next town to photocopy some documents for her work. Fortunately, the Mama believed in higher education and if that was what I wanted to do, then by golly she was all for me going to college. The Daddy loved the Mama and me, so he just shrugged and went along.
Hmmm, now look at this. I've written several paragraphs. The words tumbled in my head, somehow got interpreted and translated by the currents running through my body, and found their way out through my fingertips which tap danced the words on this computer keyboard. Totally, damn amazing. A miracle, almost.