This morning I opened my refrigerator and realized it's time to clean it out. That realization reminded me of a time my mother's refrigerator was in need of the same attention.
If you have known me for any amount of time you know I am a bit on the mouthy side. Most of the trouble I got in as a child was because I had mouthed off at one of my parents. While I do much better now, I still have days in which I can't seem to tame my tongue. In fact, about two weeks ago I smarted off at Jon and he said, "One day your mouth is going to get you in a lot of trouble!". One day!? Haha! How about since I've been talking!?
My mother is a brilliant and creative woman. She was helpful with school project ideas (including but not limited to giving my daddy a haircut so I could make a monkey's paw). She was helpful when I wrote papers in college; she proofed them and helped me word things better. She always answered our questions to the best of her ability. I use "always" liberally there because when you have three chatterbox children sometimes you say things just to get them to hush. Mama taught us about Jesus and made Bible stories fun. Oh, I could go on and on about her brilliance and creativity!
Along with her creativity about the fun things in life, my mother also was pretty slick when it came to punishments. She took me to Bill's Dollar Store to get a Bolo paddle. She made me stand in the corner. One time when I sassed her she made me repeat what I'd said over and over until she told me to stop. When I'd be fighting with Jessica (my sister) she'd make us sit on the sofa, hug, and tell each other we loved her.
And then there was the time I had to clean out the refrigerator. I don't know exactly what I'd done, but I'm pretty sure it involved my mouth.
My mother loves stewed squash, and often makes it when she has fresh squash available. It's basically cooking squash and an onion in a cast iron frying pan with bacon grease until it looks like somebody has been sick on your stove. I've heard Mama say on more than on occasion, "If you can get past the looks of it you'll like it." I've never been able to get past the looks of it.
So back to cleaning out the refrigerator. We moved to a new house when I was 7. But I will maintain to my death that my mother stewed that squash the day she found out she was expecting me and kept in the refrigerator, even moved it with us, until I had done something just south of the death penalty. I'm thinking that I was around 8 or so when I was dealt this punishment. I begged Mama to just let me throw away the bowl it was in. She made me wash it. You may not think it's such a big deal, but I assure you it made an impression. It was disgusting!
And to this day, whenever I have to clean out my refrigerator, I think about that one punishment and almost smile. It's highly likely that my mother will receive a call today and hear, "Mama, I've acted ugly. It's time to clean out the refrigerator." Your children may not remember WHY you punished them a certain way, but if you're creative enough they'll certainly remember the HOW.
Stewed squash, anyone?