“What pain is for!”

My Granpa Hicks wasn’t necessarily witty or ironic in speech. He said what he meant and meant what he said. Plain speaking maybe? Just talking naturally, certainly. If you didn’t like it, that’s your problem. Not only was he loud, tough and brutally honest, but he was also full of contradictions. He was never politically correct in anyway. A phrase he repeated regularly. “College boys have no common sense.” Common Sense was of paramount importance to Granpa Hick. It defined the world; either having it or not. Not having it was the greatest of insult for Granpa Hicks. No Common Sense was also his general criticism for most of the world establishment.

Being the man of his time, the first half of the 20th Century, and his own man, Granpa Hick approved, used and encouraged corporal punishment, or in his words, “A good spanking.” It only made good sense. Pain was an effective deterrent for the young. “That was what pain was made for. To make you stop doing something that was hurting you.” The spanking was meant as a learning experience so it could never be arbitrary or excessive. The punishment had to fit the crime. Spankings were graded and categorized from swat with an open hand for the first slight infractions moving all the way up to the belt and multiple whacks on the butt for random destruction and bullying. He likely would have killed us for murder. We never needed to find that out, thankfully.

Pain was to only be inflected on the fleshiest part of the perps behind. He never approved of a slap on the face or a switch across the bare legs. That was too destructive and emotional for him. That was what women would do. All of Granpa Hicks’ actions were qualified and justified in his moral, rational world. It was code-based on fairness; the struggle between the bosses and everyone else, and his own massive ego. He hated crime and criminals. They cheated to get ahead. Granpa couldn’t stand cheating. The Hicks family was the best at anything and everything a Hick set their mind of doing. No cheating just doing. And if they weren’t the best at it, it probably wasn’t worth doing. Granpa dished out his ethics in short phrases to the kids, backed up with a swat on the butt if you violated one of those codes.

And, as with any childhood memories, mine are clouded, mis-emphasized and many times wrong. I’ll attempt to take the conduct phrases as I remember him saying them. I could have heard it from someone else or made it up myself. However, I came by the phrase, I will then explain what it has meant to me. Since I never, to my memory, had an extended conversation with my Granpa. He didn’t have conversations with kids; I am completely responsible for the interpretation or mis-interpretation of the conduct phrase. If I screwed it up, it was my fault entirely. I deserve a swat on the butt.

Personal responsibility was another major driver for Granpa. He was a man who was always right, even when he was wrong. If he was wrong, he was wrong for an important reason. He would declare him being wrong was the right thing for the situation. Full of contradictions and proud of it. My Granpa Hicks.


Just to be perfectly clear!

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