Taking a switch to the world

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 20, 2003

A fter watching the way some world leaders behave, I have to wonder if they ever had a grandmother?

I know that if they had mine, they would toe the line in everything they do and say, and the world would be a much more peaceful place.

Maybe I should start a campaign to elect Faye Owens, my grandmother, the grandmother of the world.

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She is a special woman.

She is not a rich woman, not by monetary standards, but she wants for nothing. She learned that trait through sacrifice.

My grandfather died in 1954 when my mother was 4 years old, so Grammy is fast approaching a half-century of widowhood.

She never remarried, so she raised my mother, aunts and uncles practically alone.

She pretty much worked her whole life, and it has only been in the last few years that she slowed down.

Age does that to everyone eventually.

We all love her, and I hope she knows that.

When my siblings and I would misbehave or be mean to each other, Grammy knew just what to do.

She didn't believe in punishing us outright.

She would go to her favorite switch tree (most kids don't know what that is these days) and she'd pull two small switches and one really stout one.

Then she would give each of the offending parties a little switch, and she'd hang on to that big one.

She would then tell us that since we had done the other one wrong, it was up to us to punish each other.

By that time the two offending parties were usually hugging each other like nothing had happen.

It didn't matter to that feisty little old lady.

We'd take our switches, and we'd tap each other, just barely feeling the hit.


Grammy's switch would strike home, and boy, let me tell you, the two offending parties forgot they loved each other dearly and some serious whupping began.

Now, my siblings and I look back on this and laugh.

Now, when her adult grandchildren can't seem to get along, she'll get this look in her eyes like she is thinking back to those days some 20 odd years ago. I have to wonder if she is thinking she'd settle this spat with her two little switches and that really stout one.

As I go through my daily life, and I hear all the bad news of the world, I have to wonder and wish that all the offending parties could have my grandmother to love them just for a while.

World leaders would behave.

If not, there would be my short little gray-haired grandmother with her two little switches, and the big one, just in case.

Jay Thomas is the managing editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 334-382-3111 or via email at jay.thomas@greenvilleadvocate.com.