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Don’t Get Caught Playing With Matches

Playing With Matches

Playing With Matches

Don’t Get Caught Playing With Matches….What should the punishment be if you were a kid playing with matches?  How about slapping your hand or getting  chewed out or being sent to you room or even being grounded?  Do all these sound about the right punishment?  After all, if you were a kid playing with matches there could be some serious property damage or personal injuries.  What should the punishment be from your parents?

Does burning your hand on the burner of a hot stove seem about right?  Well, that’s what my mother did to me.

It all started back in the early sixties.  I was probably ten years old.  At the time my mother was either bowling or yelling at her kids.  I think she must have been a pretty good bowler.  It seemed like she would always win some sort of trophy.  I guess she was on the league committees and was responsible for the end of year awards banquet.  In our garage were all the leftover napkins, little bowling pins labeled with the team names, party favors and of course one more thing?  My eyes were glued on the boxes and boxes of matches.  What a sight!  What can I do with matches?

Once I got my hands on the matches, my friends and I thought it would be cool to strike them and just “flick” them away.  Another cool thing was to light the whole book of matches.  Nothing harmful, just innocent fun or so I thought.

But, how did she find out.  There were boxes and boxes of them.  She wouldn’t miss one book.  Not two or even a few.  I guess I wasn’t too bright because taking a few books of matches later turned those books into empty boxes.  Oh well, I guess the jig was up.  I knew I’d get caught sooner or later.  What could happen to me?

My mother usually didn’t handle the discipline.  She let my father handle things.  She was just a yeller.  My father was portrayed as the bad guy.  He had to do her dirty work.

So I came home one afternoon from playing with my friends.  Everything was good.  No problems, but the house was quiet.  My mother was standing in the kitchen.  She looked at me and told me to come here.  She asked me if I was playing with matches.  Of course I said no.  She told me to show her my hand.  She grabbed it and turned on the burner to the stove.  I was yelling and yelling.  She wouldn’t do it, would she?  I was wrong.  She put my hand on the hot burner.  It seemed like an eternity, but was probably only a couple seconds.

When she was finished she let go.  I was crying so hard.  I took off and went down to the basement.  I didn’t go near her for the rest of the day.  Oh no, I forgot one more thing.  What about my father.  He finally came home from work.  What else was going to happen to me?  He never said a word.