The honey strapping

I was brought up in tropical Queensland, Australia, far removed from most of the trappings of ‘civilisation’. As we lived on outback cattle stations, the five kids were educated by a mix of the local aborigines and Mum, doing the best she could with the assistance of lessons broadcast on ‘School of the Air’.

She also did an enormous job in helping the local aborigines and managing the property, so she didn’t have a real lot of time to study the latest child-raising and educational theories. She always reckoned that lots of hard work, unconditional love and a few good licks with the strap now and then were the recipe for keeping us on the straight and narrow.

Dad was out and about the property most of time. We sometimes went with him, but he seemed to consider that discipline was Mum’s job. Our aboriginal kids had never seen much of town life, and in the hot tropical climate they were mostly quite happy getting about without clothes. We five ‘white fella’ kids were the same, and became almost as brown as they were. No-one seemed to mind.

Having always grown up among bare-bodied kids, I never took much notice of what they looked like – except for when we had just been slapped or strapped. We would observe the handprints with casual interest. Every day, some of us would be smacked on the bare legs or rump for some naughtiness. No big deal, but it made a great slapping sound and left clear hand marks for viewing.

Mum kept her whippy little strap hanging up in the kitchen, and used it vigorously when she was frazzled with her work and tormented by naughty kids. The discipline was mostly immediate and spontaneous – a few whacks rather than a whipping. However, the first exception to this was quite memorable for myself and my twin brother Andrew, aged 13.

Our eldest sister had brought into the kitchen a huge pot of honey extracted from the beehives. I was chasing ‘Drew through the house when he collided with the honey and sent it flying onto the kitchen floor. We were like a couple of sleek and slippery brown eels as we slithered around in it, unable to get up. Our entire year’s supply of honey – you can imagine the sticky mess!

I have never seen Mum so angry! She sent Andrew and I out to the back verandah shower, with instructions to ‘get back in here when you’re clean’, as she organised the other three kids to clean up the disaster. Although, as I said, we had spent most of our time unclothed, now I felt exposed and vulnerable as we stood naked and still dripping wet before Mum, with the other three kids in the background cleaning up honey.

She told us to sit on the rumpus-room table. Andrew gave a little laugh at the kids struggling in the kitchen, and Mum whacked him on the front of his thigh. It was clearly the wrong time for humour. She told us both to put hands on the head as we sat there, and slapped poor ‘Drew again and again on his fully-exposed bare brown legs. He yelped and squirmed, to no avail.

Then it was my turn. I had often been slapped before, but this was different – God, how she stung me! Her hand on my wet flesh made an enormous smacking sound and the kitchen cleaning team was spellbound. I reached down to rub my legs but that only attracted another barrage! The fronts of our thighs were covered with red hand marks – but, alas, there was more coming!

“Stand up and face the wall, hands still on the head!” she commanded. Again she started on Andrew, smacking the back of his legs, then his buttocks. I dared not look, but I could tell the difference as leg-smacks give a sharper sound; a smack on the bum sounds richer and deeper. My own thighs were on fire but I knew better than to touch them. I sort of jiggled around to ease the sting, bringing some giggles from the audience.

“Now for you, young lady!” A great slap to the back of my left leg, and another, and another. I could feel where Mum’s palm landed the middle of my thigh, and the fingers curling around the side. Then the other leg, and eventually moved up to the rump. She cupped my two lower cheeks in her hands, pressing up behind me and almost whispering that I would remember to be careful in future, wouldn’t I?

Then the spanking, alternately on both sides – oh, what intensity! What exquisite placement she had – no two slaps quite the same. I gasped and yelped and hopped around – what a spectacle! Then we heard it – the strap coming off its wall hook.

The whipping was delivered very slowly. First a statement about our sins, then the sound of the impact and its dreadful sting on one side of the rump, then the other, then a licking around the legs. Then the same for Andrew. Then another little lecture and more strapping. Again and again and again – I don’t know how she had such skill but she placed those stinging stripes wrapped around the curves of our legs and hips without ever causing damage that would last more that a day.

Our brothers and sister viewed it all from behind, but I was past caring.

“Stay there,” said Mum, “while we finish in the kitchen.” As she turned away, I involuntarily put a hand to my bum. She saw it, and, without a word, turned again and slapped me on the back of the legs. I squealed and squirmed, she slapped and slapped, but kept my hands on my head.

This intense experience was never quite repeated but it added that little edge of dreadful anticipation to the frequent occasions when the strap was used on the five of us, particularly in the company of our friends. There is just nothing the same as the sound of that strap and its savage sting. Being on display, and sporting the stripes just completes the picture.

Contributor: Sally

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