I am reposting this as part of the Deja Vu Blogfest!
One of the last times my Dad applied a switch to my rear end with any degree of force happened after what my brother and I later called the lemon cookie catastrophe. My father was addicted to lemon frosting-filled cookies, and every other week my mother would bring home a package of the sweet treats with the groceries, which would go into the metal bread box on the counter. The catastrophe began with the fact that both Jay and I loved cookies and tended to sneak them when no one was looking. As a result, the number of lemon cookies in the bag would diminish rapidly in just a few days, much to my father’s displeasure.
“Noelle did,” Jay would answer.
“Jay did,” I would reply.
Finally, Dad’s patience wore out. Tired of never knowing who was to be punished for eating his cookies, he found a solution. “The next time I find that anyone has been eating my cookies, you will both be switched.”
Sure enough, the following week he went to grab a cookie after dinner and found the bag had only one. “That’s it,” he roared and asked Jay and me who ate his cookies.
“I didn’t, I swear,” I vowed.
“I didn’t eat your cookies this time,” answered Jay tearfully, knowing what was coming.
Nevertheless, Dad cut a green switch from the back yard forsythia, returned to the kitchen and gave both Jay and me a thorough licking, energized by the fact that he was tired of our lying.
I was sitting on the back steps, crying, when Mom came in from the drying area with a pile of clothes in her arms. I followed her into the kitchen, wailing about being punished for something I didn’t do. “What’s going on here, John?” Mom asked.
“I’m tired of those kids lying about eating the lemon cookies,” he answered, “so this time they both got switched.”
“Oh dear,” Mom sighed. “I forgot to tell you that the bridge club was here this afternoon and I served them the lemon cookies.”
I remember wailing even louder about the unfairness of it all and not surprisingly, I was ordered to my room. I left, but not before I heard Dad say, “Well, shit.”
Many years later, Dad said to me, “Life is inherently unfair.” I couldn’t help myself. I reminded him of the lemon cookies.