Friday, June 22, 2012

The Strap

(109 East Arch Street, St. Paul, MN, 1955-56)

I knew the sound of the strap, the sound of Grandpa’s belt, the one he used to sharpen his straight razor with. If you were hit with it, I mean really hit with it over the derriere you’d feel the pain.
       The strap made a high whistling sound; it even reeked, like a leather whip.  It was made out of dark stained cowhide; it was long and thin and two inches wide, a high whistling sound came from it—woops, I already said that, but you see it has still stuck in my mind like white on rice.
       To think of it on my cold derriere, the chill of it on its threat to use it quieted me, no longer thinking strong thoughts, but gentle ones.
       My brother would laugh when I got the strap, but to me there was nothing to laugh at in it. I mean, I had to let down my trousers like taking a bath when you undress.  Mother only used it once or twice on me, that I can recall, she’d say in her latter years she never did use it at all, but I think my memory at eight or night years old was better at forty than hers at seventy. I don’t blame her, never have, I could be annoying at times I suppose. And although I remember with cold-fright this high whistling sound of the strip, it was a quick way of learning a lesson.