The best time I ever had

Published 11:00 pm Friday, August 16, 2013

Mamie Lee worked for Mama. She kept my little brother.

I wanted her to take him and keep him forever but she never did.

The reason she didn’t was that she had other things to do and one of those other things was going swimming in Pop’s fishpond.

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Daddy told Mamie Lee the pond was full of water moccasins and to stay out unless she was prepared for eternity.

That didn’t set well with Mamie Lee. She puffed up and stayed puffed up.

“Mr. William ought not to keep me from havin’ a good time like that,” she said. “Swimmin’ in that fishpond’s the best time I’ve ever had.”

The “best time” Mamie ever had …that didn’t get by my ears. I’d had nine years of good times — but I wasn’t sure I’d had the best time I’d ever had. I want to have it.

I wanted to go swimming in the pond and have it. My friend, Betty Kay, wanted to have her best time, too.

I went fishing with my grandmas all the time and when an ol’ water moccasin came knifing toward them, they would just slap the water with a rebukin’ stick and those mean snakes would turn and go fishtailing the other way. I knew what to do.

So, off Betty Kay and I went, dragging a rebuking stick along. We weren’t scared of any ol’ water moccasins. If one came after us, we’d slap the water and rebuke him away.

We were having a real good time splashing around in the fishpond “shallows,” as my granny called them, when, all of a sudden, somebody yelled for us to get ourselves out of that pond.

It was Pink, an old gentleman that lived on my granddaddy’s place and looked after the cows.

“Get outta there!” he yelled and kept yelling as he came stumbling down the bank. “Get out! Get! Get!”

Pink was hoppin’ mad and I couldn’t get out of that water fast enough.

He said he was taking me home to Mama. Betty Kay took off running from him.

Pink grabbed hold of my ear and gave it an aggravated twist every few steps all the way to the house. It hurt. I would have cried but I knew I’d better save those tears for when Mama got a hold of me with the rebuking switch she kept on top of the refrigerator.

Back then, child abuse was not only tolerated, it was recommended.

Mama’s favorite Bible memory verse was “spare the rod and spoil the child.”

For sure, that was the worst rebukin’ I ever got. I’m still waiting for the best time I ever had.