My earliest years are remembered with a lot of one-sided yelling and throwing things and crying. I learned early in my childhood not to make mistakes. If I did, the correction would come with much swearing and a thin black and silver belt. Like one of the few times Dad drove Mom to the Piggly Wiggly grocery store…
Mom was filling the cart with various food items and I walked alongside of her eyeing all the stuff. I was probably about five years old. My older brother was with us, but our little sister was being watched by the grandparents. Then, we came to the freezer section and the escaped cold air could be seen when the freezer door opened and the ice-cold clouds briefly hung in the air. It was a steamy, summer day. The ice cream section and I looked it over closely. I noticed many of the Fudgecicles, Cheerio bars and ice cream sandwiches were scattered about the entire section; they were not neatly in a stack or pile and it was obvious that other kids had helped themselves, why, the wrappers were even gone from some. Mom would never let me have one and I could actually taste the cold, chocolate coating of my favorite, the Cheerio Bar. I took a couple of them and stuffed them into my pockets. We made our way to the cashier at the front of the store and we waited in line.
While we waited Mom asked, “Did you take anything Steve?” Apparently, I had sticky fingers,
I looked slyly about and said, “No.”
“What’s that bulging out of your pockets.”
“Uh, I dunno,” and then she felt with her hand.
“Steve,” she sighed. By now it was our turn and she handed the treats to the store manager and apologized. “I didn’t even see him take them, I’m sorry.”
The manager wasn’t fazed in the least and said, “Kids take them all the time. He can keep them.”
Mom had to make a point though and said, “No – it’s stealing!” We walked outside pointing the bag-boy to Dad’s blue Apache 10 panel truck. I climbed in the front and made my way to the back amidst the paint, wallpaper, ladders and such; I found a drop-cloth to sit on, and waited in terror.
I heard Mom tell Dad that I had taken some ice cream and then the tirade began complete with yelling and swearing, “You’ve got a lickin’ comin’ when we get home,” Dad was furious.…