Sunday, October 11, 2009

Time For a Beatin'

"...Then Pa growled so terribly, his hair was so wild and his eyes so fierce that it all seemed real. Mary was so frightened that she could not move. But as Pa came nearer Laura screamed, and with a wild leap and a scramble she went over the wood box, dragging Mary with her.
'You shouldn't frighten the children so, Charles...
Look how big their eyes are!'" - Ma, Little House in the Big Woods

It's one thing to read the Little House books as a kid in the 70's, but it's quite another to read them with your young children today. They dislike Little House in the Big Woods for reasons other than pig killing. It's because throughout the book, when Pa isn't murdering the forest creatures, he is either spanking, telling stories about spanking, or acting like he's on peyote. These all qualify with my kids as "Reasons to Dislike Charles Ingalls."


That's the sound of my "Oh the kids will come to love the Little House books as I have" bubble bursting.

Their cultural references today do not cover discipline, because no one on Disney or Nick ever gets disciplined. The mom on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody isn't cutting a switch from a tree in the lobby of the Tipton and beating the tar out of those kids (oh, but they so richly deserve it). Spencer, Carly's brother on iCarly, doesn't go all Mike Tyson on her when her friend Samantha eats all of their food or floods their house. And Spongebob doesn't run around acting like he's on peyote. (Oh wait. He does. How else do you explain a sponge in tighty whiteys who lives in a pineapple under the sea and is friends with a starfish in OP shorts and a squirrel in a dive suit. But it's really funny, so that's okay.)

My sister and I grew up in the 70's, when it was becoming uncouthe to beat your children. Semantics dictated that it was no longer discipline and was now to be called abuse, soon to be followed in the '80s with the banning of leaving kids in the car while grocery shopping and making them fetch your rum and Cokes at parties.

My worst physical punishment on record, and believe me when I tell you that I wholeheartedly deserved every punishment I got, was when I sassed my mom in the car. As you can imagine, I was as a child, and knew which pointy sharp words to use on appropriate occasions. We pulled into the mall parking lot and I was in the back seat when my mom made some stern comment, probably about my attitude. I retorted with a statement designed to escalate the situation, knowing I was safe in the back seat. My mom got very quiet, put her cigarette carefully in the ashtray, and tried to lunge over the backseat to slap me. She made contact only once, since I was not wearing a seatbelt and was still in my Sears Toughskins slim jeans, and then she realized people in the parking lot were watching her. She told me to sit in the car and think about what I had done while she went into the mall, presumably to find a bar and an adoption agency.

Did I sit in that backseat and think about what I had done? Au contraire, my friends. Pa would have spanked me, then regaled me with a story about how his father had been caught breaking the Sabbath by sledding and then hit a pig (loose pigs were apparently very prevalent back then) and his father had to wait until the Sabbath was over to get his beating, and I would have felt ashamed and contrite.

No, I sat in the backseat of the car repeatedly slapping myself in the same spot my mom had hit me so I could get a bruise, or at least an angry welt, and then when people would say, "What happened to you?" as they surely would because my life was so important to them, I could say, "My mom hit me". Believe me when I tell you that my mom gets very nice Mother's Day cards today.

I think my sister's worst punishment came when we didn't pick up our toys like we were supposed to, and after telling us to pick up forty times my dad finally came unhinged and started throwing our toys up the stairs to our rooms. One of the items Dad launched up the stairs was my sister's beloved doll, Goo-Goo. Goo-Goo was one of those 70's dolls (whose brand name escapes me) that not only drank a bottle and peed, she ate food and pooped. Goo-Goo came sailing up the stairs in slow motion, her bright yellow and olive green frock floating gracefully around her as she hit the wall, at which time her head popped off and she shat herself.


The next person to come unhinged in my family was my sister, looking at her beheaded doll laying in a puddle of her own poo. But I can't blame Goo-Goo, because anyone who has witnessed my dad coming unhinged knows this is a common response. Goo-Goo took one for the team that day. Dad sort of shuffled off in horror and I tried unsuccessfully to hook Goo-Goo's head back on her body, but alas, that doll had taken her last crap.

Pa's disciplinary measures may not have survived into the 21st century, but his storytelling with a message lives on. Today, my sister and I like to tell our kids about how Grumpy broke our favorite toys while high on peyote, just before the liquor and the beatings, and that if they don't shape up we'll invite Grumpy over to the house. It's far more effective than cutting a switch.


simplyiowa said...

Hey Missy,
No worries... the show isn't 'til the last Sunday of the month, we'll make it happen! I miss you, and you should try and come visit! I'm working in the shop today...and the beat goes on... what a flippin' mess...
and the beat goes on...
hope to see you, and thanks for the very kind words...
See Ya!
Barb C.
p.s. la de dotie dee, lottie dotie da....
{I love sonny and cher!}

The Insatiable Host said...


Ok, so for this little piggy...

either get a "stone" this is a great purchase if you dont have one....but you can make pizza on it, bread anything really..but it cooks things way better...and quicker. Its' usually ciramic or clay. I makon my bacon on here.

If you don't have one, then just use a cookie sheet. I like to use thick cut pig because it just tastes better. Put your pork slices on the sheet and bake in the oven at 425. It usualy takes maybe 10 - 15 minutes, but with cooking, I just get a feeling of when it's done. Weird I know, but it's my food orgasm. (Ew, I think I just grossed myself, so once I start to smell the bacon I flip it over (and be careful - because the grease hurts- my personal tip - flip away from you).

As for a gas stove, there isn't a huge deal. I wouldn't bake 3 lbs at a time, but you should be fine. Another great place to cook it is on your rack with the tray under for dripppings. I always suggest that when there are slits in your sheet, use tinfoil so the bacon doesn't stick to your pan...

Hopes it helps...enjoy your porkie!!! And yes, smelly is adorable. She also gets crazy like the freaky thing in the Grudge...a wonderful combination of that and a precious moments doll on Ebay now for 3 payments of $

Take care Julie!!!

One should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink... James Beard

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