Of course, he then figured out that the board made a nice punishment tool. In fact it was more effective than the belt he would normally use. It didn't give in flexibility like a belt and it inflicted more pain upon us kids.
I used to hate the thing almost as much as I hated my father. He didn't just punish us, he beat us. Often it was for some small thing that just set him off wrong. It didn't take much to find yourself on the wrong end of his anger.
The board was too convenient
Throughout the years, my brothers and I dealt with that stupid board. I tried hard to be as perfect as I could be for we were not only taught that Jesus wanted you to be perfect, but any little infraction would bring punishment with great pain by my dad. The board was just too convenient for him to use on us.
Since we moved around a lot, it was not uncommon to forget something. Most of the homes we lived in were rentals and there was always left over junk from before we got there and long after we left.
In addition, my dad loved to collect lumber. If he went by a railroad car with old lumber in it, he would go to great lengths to ask the right person if he could have it. Then, we would go and pull all of this lumber out and drag it home. Next, my brothers and I would have to pull each and every bent nail out of the boards. We spent hours doing this every day when we got home from school. Of course, my father never helped except to chastise us if we broke a nail off in the board or we weren't doing it fast enough or correct enough. I hated this lumber. I loathed him collecting it and most of the time it never got used for anything.
I was so tired of being beat with that board...
On one such move, I got smart and didn't tell my brothers or anyone the plan I had in my mind. I was so tired of being beat with that board, that I decided to hide it. The big stack of wood that he had collected was not going to go with us to our new home. It was too far of a drive and not enough space in the moving truck for it, so my father donated it to some friend in church.
Without anyone looking, I quickly took the board and ran to the wood pile and hid it so it wouldn't be found. I made sure no one saw me and if anyone walked around the lumber, it would not be seen. It was just before we were ready to get in the moving truck and leave.
Where did the punishment board go?
When we got to the new place, my dad was perplexed at where this board had gone. He surmised it must have been misplaced in the move or left behind, but he didn't know where it had gone. Finally, little bit of a reprieve, but not by much because he still had his belt and his hand and his tools to punish us with. He could still kick us too.
It was not until years later that I told the family what I had done with it. They didn't suspect it out of me because I was always the one that tried to behave and do the right thing. When I told them, I knew I was safe and while everyone laughed, I am sure my father probably wanted to beat the daylights out of me at that point. I won that battle. It was about the only battle with him I won.
I'll never forget that oak slat board he used for punishment. I so badly wanted to use it on him and believe me, if I still had it, I probably would. The pain we endured from those years has never left me. It remains a constant reminder to me.
I'm just glad I was smart enough to go and hide the thing and not tell a soul. I doubt I could have trusted anyone in the family to keep the secret which would have been a horror for me.
Blog Post And Images (c) 2016 by Don Shetterly
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