This is a story from looonngg ago. Enjoy
"Remember," he warned me as we headed down into the holler. "Remember, it's
a different world out here. You have to remember your place."
"Place, shmace," I muttered, but then nodded and ressured him, parroting back
what he'd told me about a million times. "I know, I know. I'm a woman.
We're at the bottom of the totem pole. You're the youngest son and I'm your
wife so I'm the bottom of the women's totem pole. I have to do whatever you
say. I have to do whatever your mom says. I have to just shut up. I know."
"I hope so." He shook his head. "Remember, you asked to meet them. It's
only for a few days. I hope you can do it."
"I can do it. For pete's sake, I'm not a shrew. I'll just be nice to
everyone and they'll like me just fine."
"I hope so," he said again as we drove up to a huge old farmhouse. The house
was newly painted, the porch and yard were immaculate and the grass was neat,
but, somehow, it had the look of cars parked on the lawn. I told myself that
was my Northern prejudice coming out and promised myself to give Jim's family
We parked in the drive and got out with our bags. As we stepped onto the
porch and scrawny 55-ish woman opened the door. She gave me a shrewd look,
glared at my husband and said, "'Bout time you brought yer fancy new wife
home." I could feel Jim stiffen up, but he just said, "Hello, Mother." I
smiled tentatively but got no response.
She invited us in and told us to put our bags in Jim's old room and "freshen
up" before coming down. The other brothers and their wives would be over
soon for supper.
"Jim," I whispered urgently as we headed upstairs. "She didn't even look at
me. She didn't speak to me at all. Now what?"
He just shook his head. "You said you wanted to come here," he said. "Just
do your best." That helped a lot.
We spent about 15 minutes upstairs, me making sure my skirt (yes, skirt - no
pants for women in *that* family) was not too short and him warning me again
to be polite and obedient. I was about to scream with the tension by the
time we were ready to join his mother again.
By the time we came downstairs again his three brothers had arrived with
their wives. Several kids had headed down to the stream, but one young woman
was carrying a baby swaddled so tight I thought the poor thing would
suffocate. It wasn't complaining though. Poor little thing had probably
given up long ago.
We entered the kitchen where the women were working. "This here's Cynthia,"
Jim said by way of introduction. Then he pointed round at the other women
and said, "Betty Jo, Irma, Tansy." Turning to me, he ordered, "Git me a
beer." Git? I stared at him. "I done said, git me a beer, woman!" Done
Suddenly I recalled myself to the present and said, "Sure, honey." I looked
around, hoping one of the other wives would help me.
Finally Tansy, the one holding the baby, nodded at the refrigerator. "In
there." I hurried over, pulled a beer out and handed it to Jim. He just
stood there. I was totally clueless, so I just stood there, too. "Open it!"
he hissed at me. I stared again. This was too weird. "Open it!" he hissed
again. I took it and opened it, looking around for the garbage to put the
top in. Tansy nodded again. I smiled gratefully, but she just tightened her
lips and shook her head. Then the man I loved left me alone in a strange
country and I was sure I would never love him again.
"Well, then, what you waitin' fer? Get these corn ears husked!" It was
Jim's nasty mother and she was talking to me! "Um, yes, ma'am," I said, as
I'd been taught. I sat and began to work along with the other women, who
were chatting about their children, their kitchens, their sewing, and
everything else they could think of that had absolutely no connection at all
with my life. I had finished about a half dozen ears when Jim's mother -
what was I supposed to call her? - picked one up and gave me a scornful
"We supposed to eat all this yere silk, girl?" She shook the ear at me.
"Ain't you never been taught?" Dumbly, I shook my head. She heaved an
enormous, pained sigh. "In this yere family, we do our work right."
Irma piped up, "You gonna whup her, Miz McAllister?" I couldn't believe my
ears, but at least I now knew what to call the old witch. I thought I'd
better talk fast.
"Um, I'm sorry, Miz McAllister. Please let me try again. I'll get the silk
off this time, I promise." The old witch shook her head again.
"In this yere family, we do our work right, and iff'n we don't, it's a
whuppin'. Irma, git me that spoon." Irma gleefully handed over a large
wooden spoon with a handle at least 15" long. "Awright, girl, over the
table." Just then we heard a bellowing from the porch where the men were
sitting. A reprieve!
"Betty Jo!" one of the men shouted. "Bring me a beer and make if fast,
less'n you want a whuppin'." Spank happy, I thought. The whole family is
spank happy. Betty Jo hurried out with an open beer and attention in the
kitchen returned to me.
"Didn't I tell you to git across the table? I don't take no lazy work, I
don't take no back talk and I don't take no disobedience. That's six more."
I would have obeyed her immediately if I'd had any idea exactly what she
wanted. "Stubborn, are ye? That's tin more." Tin? She had a metal spoon?
Oh, ten. I tentatively slid my arms over the table and laid the top half of
my body over it. "That's better. That Jim - I shoulda knowed he'd git
hisself some useless city wife." I guess I wasn't the only one with
"Wall, what you waitin' fer?" she grated out. I hadn't realized it was my
move. "Git 'em down." I just looked at her, still a little puzzled,
realization dawning slowly. Before I could respond, she nodded at Irma, who
lunged at me, flipped up my skirt and pulled my underpants down to my knees.
"Hey!" I started, but never got any farther as the wooden spoon made
immediate and painful contact with my bare bottom. Before I knew it, I had
popped up covering my bottom with my hands. Betty Jo, entering from the
porch, gasped. The other two giggled. The vicious old beldam nodded at Irma
again, but Betty Jo begged, "Let me hold her, Miz McAllister. You know how
strong I am." Another nod, and Betty Jo had grabbed me, shoved me over the
table again, and, moving quickly to the other side, was holding my again
stretched out arms down tight. I tried, briefly, to struggle, only to find
Irma holding my shoulders down firmly. Tansy looked sorry that she was
holding the baby and was left out of the fun.
"Now, then, girl. Here comes the first tin. You tell me what they're fer."
I thought furiously, panic clouding my mind, before I remembered. "Um, for
not obeying right away." A sharp pain, and I quickly added, "Ma'am." These
first ten were given rapidly, back and forth between my right and left
cheeks, always hitting exactly the same spot. She was pro, my new
mother-in-law. A real pro. The first four made me yelp. By the fifth and
sixth I was dancing, chanting, "ow ow ow ow." The seventh made me scream a
little and eight made me scream a lot. By the time all ten had been
administered I was apologizing sincerely and promising to do anything I was
"Tha's good," the shrew said with satisfaction. "Now, this is for lazyness."
My sisters-in-law were smirking and nodding.
"Please, please, no more," I gasped. "I'll try harder, really I will. I'll
do anything you want me to and I'll work really hard, I promise."
"In this yere family, we take what we got coming," the matriarch pronounced,
"and we don't try to git out of it, neither." I gasped again, knowing I
couldn't take any more and hoping desperately that Jim would hear me scream
and come rescue me. "And we don't holler none, neither," she went on, "like
no baby. Iff'n I hear too much oughta you, there'll be plenty more." I
couldn't help it, I just wailed.
The ten for lazyness were administered all over both cheeks, top to bottom,
sides to center. My wails were broken only by screaches. When the ten were
over, I panted, desperately trying to get enough air to scream again. Jim's
mother reminded me that I had ten more for stubborness to come, and, she
added, if I didn't "shet up" I'd be "whupped till the cows come home." I
turned my head and locked my teeth into my upper arm. I lost count during
the ten for stubbornness, too hazy with pain to do anything but bite hard and
try to endure. Through it all I could hear the self-satisfied chuckles of my
sisters-in-law and the running commentary by Tansy on the state of my behind.
"Now that's a right purty color, Miz McAllister," finally said approvingly.
My tormenter flung the spoon into the sink and wiped her forehead.
"Now, sit down, " she said to me, "and git them corn ears done. Mind you do
it right this time, or I'll give you a REAL hidin' this time." The thought
of sitting almost made me wail again, but I believed with all my heart that
she would spank me again if I did. Against all instinct, I sat, wincing and
gasping, and began to husk corn. After a minute or two, I heard another
bellow from outside, this time for me. I jumped up wildly, grateful beyond
reason for a chance to talk to Jim, and ran out to him. Well, I started to
run, but it hurt a lot to move, so I just went as fast as I could without
starting to cry again.
Now, I knew I was supposed to come right over to Jim and say, "Yes, honey?"
but I was too far gone to remember that. I threw myself at him and began to
wail again. I know all that he could make out from my incoherent blubbering
was "old witch," "shrew," and "goddam fucking bitch of a mother."
Unfortunately, all the brothers heard it, too. I was a goner. I heard Jim
mutter a soft "shit," then "I'm sorry, babe," before I was pulled to my feet
Before I quite understood what had happened, Jim had bent me over the porch
rail. He whispered quickly in my ear, "Please, babe, please don't move.
Please." Then my reddened ass was again exposed, this time to the
interested eyes of the leering brothers, who began to heckle. "Gonna give it
to her good, li'l bro?" "Gonna teach her a lisson?" A listen? Oh, a lesson.
"You gonna let her git away with talkin' about Momma like that?"
Jim growled, "Shet up. I'll show you how a real man controls his woman." I
didn't recognize the sound, but moment later I knew he'd taken his belt off.
The pain was blinding. I gripped the porch rails and hung on. Thwack. I
grunted. Another thwack. I croaked. A third, and I knew I couldn't hold on
any more. "Please," I began begging. "Please, no more. I'm sorry. I'm so
sorry. Please stop." It didn't work. He delivered three more heavy thuds
to my already aching bottom. The pain outstripped the humiliation of being
bare in front of strange men, but as soon as he stopped, the humiliation took
over. "Don't move," Jim ordered in a tight voice. I hung over the rail,
crying and hurting. God, how could I stand two more days of this? I'd never
Ten minutes later Jim ordered me to get up and to go inside and apologize to
his mother and to ask her to punish me for defying her authority. My fragile
sanity left me and I flat-out refused. Jim put one hand on his belt and
tangled the other in my hair as he marched me back inside. My struggles were
painful and completely ineffectual. The jeers of the men followed us inside.
We entered the house, but instead of steering us into the kitchen, Jim led me
upstairs. "Jim, get me out of here. Please. Take me home."
"But, honey, you wanted to meet my family," he began, quite reasonably.
"Well, I met 'em and I hate 'em and I WANT TO GO HOME!" I was wailing
again. Jim did that trademark shake of the head as he packed our things. We
left to nasty, bitchy comments from both men and women, but what hurt worst
was Jim's only comment. "I told you so."