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BOTD 11-09-2013 Another Gardening Boy - A Memory Man Production

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Skater


Bransom Postmaster
Another Gardening Boy
A Memory Man Production

The year is 1957 and you are a successful and busy businessman who has just moved into a big house you got cheaply largely on account of the jungle filling its enormous overgrown yard.  Your neighbours tell you of a local jobbing gardener who does good work and is struggling to set up a landscaping business.  You contact him to find that he is a recent immigrant struggling to make ends meet but when you invite him to look at the job his knowledge and ideas impress you and you give him his first ever contract.

Its a big job clearing and replanting and as a one man band he works long hours and weekends being helped by his thirteen year old son Manuel after school and at weekends.  You are impressed by Manuel (senior's) work ethic but notice he is also an abrupt and authoritarian taskmaster.  Young Manuel appears to be rather cowed in his father's presence and you understand why when you observe an occasion when he sees his son slacking, picks up one of the willow whips they were planting to screen the old woodshed and angrily applies it to the seat of his shorts.

Manuel - 13
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Eventually the job is finished and the yard is transformed.  You agree with Manuel that he may, by arrangement, bring prospective clients to come and view the magnificent job they have done for you and you also arrange for his son to return for a day each weekend to keep it tidy.

Manuel junior is small and wiry and himself a pretty skilled horticulturist.  He is also a likeable hardworking lad who does a really good job and you tip him over and above the fee you agreed with his father.  His natural ebullience shows through when his father isn't around and he gets on well with your three boys who sometimes muck in to help him.  

You run a pretty tight ship at home and when you clear out the old woodshed to make it into a garden tool store you come across an old razor strop and, mindful of the way your wife gets upset when you punish the boys, you get the idea to put the shed to one of its traditional uses and, after oiling the strap, hang it up alongside the gardening tools.

There are times, you notice, when one or more of your boys is taking the long walk out to the old woodshed whilst Manuel is working in the garden that he gives them a knowing sympathetic grin as he rubs his bottom.

Manuel, however, has been getting slack of late largely due to your boys.  Several times you have warned them (and him) that Manuel is here to work and not to spend the day larking around with them.  Today things have come to a head, almost no work has been done and your boys are nursing burning butts after a group deployment of the strap the old woodshed.  Then as you pay Manuel, withholding his tip, you tell him that you don't want him back again.   Manuel immediately becomes distraught and pleads with you to give him another chance. You remind him he's already had several chances.

Contemplating the small frightened boy before you, you look up from his bronzed well toned body and the pert cheeks filling out his crumpled shorts to see that his usually smiling face is creased with worry and you are pretty sure those shorts will be hauled down as soon as he takes the news of his dismissal back home.

You register panic in his voice as he makes a last impassioned plea "Whip me.  Whip me like your boys, whip me harder than your boys and  I'll work so very very hard in future but Please ... PLEASE don't send me away"  

You wonder perhaps you are being too harsh?  Will you relent?  And if so will you be taking him into your old woodshed?


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1strappedboy


Sherrif
Ah 1957!  That rather changes the dynamic, doesn't it?

I know that well into the early '70s in our little town parents had near carte blanche with any boy they caught misbehaving and then our dad's would more often than not 'reinforce' whatever lesson had been emblazoned upon our rears for "embarrassing us in front of the neighbors with your bad behavior!"

That being said, in addition to the fact that I both like and feel a bit bad for him, I may take him up on his offer as a 1 time only sort of thing.  If he doesn't focus on his work I may turn him over to the tender 'mercies' of his own father; bet THAT will motivate him, especially during that era.

I have a couple of cousins  (on mum's side) who were sufficiently older than I to be about 10-13 in the late 50's.  They would tell us how much WE were getting away with through the late 60's/early 70's.  Until July '75 when Alex became our stepdad, I had no IDEA how well we had it yet how very much we complained!

David M. Katz


Marshall
Regardless of the year, I don't think I would deal with Manuel any differently than I did the first time.


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ivor


Marshall
I think I may have missed my chance. Surely the time to deal with Manuel would have been when I found it necessary to take my sons for a group session in the woodshed? If he was also involved in whatever led to that action then it would have been reasonable to include him in the punishment.

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Jack


Admin
My problem with this is that it doesn't say anything about how I'm paying Manuel. I think what I'm going to do is demand that I'm going to pay him 'by the job'. Then I can agree with him each day he works about what needs to be done. If he doesn't get it done, then we might have trouble in the future. And I don't care how much time he spends playing, as long as he finishes the job we agreed.

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Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
Since Manuel's father is such a harsh, authoritarian disciplinarian, I can understand why Manuel has been getting a bit carried away in his absence. When I taught, I found the worst kids in class were often the ones from the harshest homes; and kids coming into class after spending a class period with one of my authoritarian colleagues came with a lot of pent up energy and frustration. I think I'd try to make sure Manuel has some time to play with my kids and be a boy, but also understand there is a time to work. I might give him an occasional swat on the backside to motivate him, but I really can't see myself using a razor strop on him. I can't imagine using a razor strop on my own kids unless they had done something seriously wrong. In my opinion, a little punishment can go a long way. Punishments should be in proportion to the seriousness of the misbehavior.

Kat

Iconoclast


Trailboss
I agree with Kat!

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1strappedboy


Sherrif
Kat wrote:Since Manuel's father is such a harsh, authoritarian disciplinarian, I can understand why Manuel has been getting a bit carried away in his absence. When I taught, I found the worst kids in class were often the ones from the harshest homes; and kids coming into class after spending a class period with one of my authoritarian colleagues came with a lot of pent up energy and frustration. I think I'd try to make sure Manuel has some time to play with my kids and be a boy, but also understand there is a time to work. I might give him an occasional swat on the backside to motivate him, but I really can't see myself using a razor strop on him. I can't imagine using a razor strop on my own kids unless they had done something seriously wrong. In my opinion, a little punishment can go a long way. Punishments should be in proportion to the seriousness of the misbehavior.

Kat
There you go making me feel like an ogre again, Kat!! Shocked 

I actually agree; a little CAN go a long way which is how I've largely used it. I remember (all too well actually) what it was like to have one used freely and with little warning and certainly little love afterwards!

I am so thankful that my adult children are still very much a part of our life, especially when I think back to my own life at 18-22 and all that transpired then with my parents!

squarecutter


Sherrif
I need to come to an arrangement with Manuel sr. At a risk of getting jr a whipping he needs to kno how close to losing the job and the money, If his would prefer I might suggest I deal with the boy like my own if he they slack thus saving Sr the chore. I cannot though, just allow this to go on though.

Stone Man


Marshall
squarecutter wrote:I need to come to an arrangement with Manuel sr. At a risk of getting jr a whipping he needs to kno how close to losing the job and the money, If his would prefer I might suggest I deal with the boy like  my own if he they slack thus saving Sr the chore. I cannot though, just allow this to go on though.
This makes good sense to me considering the time period. I was six that year and a long way from my first experience with a strop, but it was common practice for any adult known to one's parents to serve in loco parentis to all us kids should the need arise. Such punishments followed the family norms of the adults doing the punishing.

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