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Column: You have to earn the wooden spoon

Sometimes, the simplest things can bring back a vivid memory.

For me, it was a wooden spoon.

While we probably eat way too many snacks at our house, we try to at least make something homemade for dessert on Sundays. I used a wooden spoon to mix blueberry muffins a few weeks back when it transported me to a day I'd rather forget.

Growing up, I would often go to my Aunt Margaret's house. Sometimes, it would be while my mom was at work, and other times, during the weekend when she was off bowling or doing whatever she did.

At one point, Margaret lived "north" of town, where there was plenty of room for kids to wander around unsupervised and perhaps get in trouble.

My cousin Brandon is a couple of years younger, and his brother Dustin is a few years younger than him. Dustin was often too young to get involved with whatever mayhem Brandon and I were causing. I would always get very excited when I went to see "B" and "D." As fun as it was, B and I would usually end in a full-on fistfight after about three hours of being the best friends in the world.

One summer day, I remember B telling his mom we were going outside, and she responded that we better behave.

I sure wish we would have listened to her.

As we walked outside, Brandon told me he had helped one of the neighborhood kids build an elaborate fort but was later told he was not allowed to use it.

Since this did not sit well with B, it didn't sit well with me.

B said we should be able to use the fort in a vacant lot if my memory serves correctly.

I must admit that while I had a vivid imagination as a kid, I could have never built anything as elaborate as this fort. It was something you would see on the HGTV network.

I can't quite remember who came up with the idea, but B and I figured if this wasn't going to be a "community fort," it did not have to be there.

Over the next few hours, we completely dismantled every nook and cranny of the fort. I'm pretty sure I still have a scar from one of the nails that lodged in my leg as we were tearing it apart like complete hooligans.

I hate to say it, but I still remember feeling a sense of accomplishment when we finished.

We were very quiet as we went inside and pestered D as he played with his toys.

A few minutes later, there was a phone call. Back in the day, you definitely knew when someone was calling on a landline, and I can still feel the dread as Margaret stayed on the phone for what seemed like forever.

As soon as she hung up, she screamed, "You two get in the kitchen." I knew it would be bad if she didn't call us by name. It's one of those things that if someone calls you by your full name or doesn't bother to mention your name, it won't end well.

The moment we walked into the kitchen, Margaret was bright red, but she did not say anything.

She just walked over to the drawer, pulled out a wooden spoon, and started smacking us in the behind. Poor D walked into the kitchen to see what was happening and ran right back out. Poor D might have got a few whacks for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We were in so much trouble we didn't even get the "this hurts me more than it hurts you" as our bottoms were getting redder and redder.

My Aunt Margaret is a fantastic person and a lot of fun, so we had to misbehave to get her this mad.

After several minutes, the spoon broke on B's bottom, and we started getting yelled at. It was one of those awful constructive yelling sessions, too, where we were informed that we had to apologize to the kid next door and offer help rebuilding the fort. At this point, I could barely sit because my behind hurt so badly. I don't think I fully recovered for a few days after getting whipped with that spoon, but she had every right to punish us for being idiots.

It was quiet for the next few hours until my mom picked me up and had to hear the story about the fort.

This was far from the last time I went over to see my cousins, but thankfully, this was the last time it involved a broken wooden spoon.

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