Once, when my dad was about eight years old, he got in trouble with his Aunt Dorothy. I don’t remember why he was in trouble, or maybe he didn’t remember when he told me... somehow, that part of the story got lost along the way, but I do know that whatever he did, it was real bad. So bad that Aunt Dorothy sent him out to cut his own switch.
Dad said, back when he was a kid, they had to pick their own switches for whippings. He didn’t want to pick one too big for obvious reasons, but he didn’t want to pick one too small either. If Aunt Dorothy thought it didn’t measure up, he told me, she’d go cut one herself, and he’d be sitting funny for days.
All this was in his head as he walked outside to look for a switch. He knew she meant business, because Aunt Dorothy was a chewin’-and-spittin’ kind of lady who didn’t take twaddle from anyone, not even kin, and he was nothing short of terrified. So scared, he said, that when his feet hit the lawn, he grabbed his bike and peddled away, as fast as his legs would go.
About a week passed, and he forgot all about this particular incident. One day, he went riding past Aunt Dorothy’s house, and she was outside gardening. She hollered at him to come in and have a Pepsi, so he followed her inside. She looked in her fridge and told him she must’ve been outta the cold cans, so she’d get him one from the porch and pour it on some ice. He waited patiently. A minute later, Aunt Dorothy came back in. And she was holding the biggest switch my dad ever saw.
She tanned his rear good, he told me.
After that, my dad mostly stuck to CocaCola.