The Wooden SpoonThe world over, the wooden spoon would symbolise a great tool in the preparation of any nutritious meal. Or even a mock or real award, usually given to an individual or team which has come last in a competition, and occasionally given to a runner up.
The Irish MammyFor the Irish Mammy however, the wooden spoon is something altogether different. For the Irish Mammy is a different animal entirely. Loving, generous, fool-hardy, bashful. All these attributes could describe any mother on the planet.
But the Irish Mammy has many strings to her bow and along with these admirable traits, she processes a strict, stern and disciplined 'Modus operandi'.
Weapon of ChoiceIn the hands of an Irish Mammy, just as Harry Potter uses a stick and turns it into a magical wand, the Irish Mammy transforms this indispensable cooking utensil into a weapon of fierce destruction.
For many years of my childhood, my brother and I lived in fear of the top drawer opening up and out coming the 'Wooden Spoon'. For we knew it wasn't for any baking or cooking it will be used. It was destined for our backside.
SpoonswomanLucky for my brother and I, we were very quick and the swipe of the wooden spoon nearly always missed by the nearest of margins. There were times that my mother was quicker. I always thought that 'she must be practising' because, as time went by, the better she became. Like a apprentice swordsman from yesteryear practising morning and night for the hand of the beautiful maiden. No longer could we escape by the skin of our teeth.
My mother had become a Master Spoonsman (spoonswoman)
Many a wooden spoon was broke over our backsides over the years. There must be a dozen or more shallow wooden spoon graves in our backyard now. It's like a cemetery back there.
Classical ConditioningLike the sound of a bell would start the dogs salivating rather than the smell of the food in I.P. Pavlov's classical conditioning experiments. The sound of the top drawer opening would spark fear in my bother and I.
Do this day we joke about this while having dinner together be it for Christmas or a special occasion. When my mother has to get something from the drawer she would slowly lift out her old 'weapon of choice' and slyly smile while looking at both of us. Very funny mammy!
Of course times have changed and it is no longer acceptable to hit or even spank your children. And thank God for that. But those were different times.
Wonderful ChildhoodMy mother wasn't and isn't a masochist. We had a wonderful childhood and I think we have both turned out decent people. I am proud of how we were reared and I will take a lot of the vales and methods with me which will help me be as good a parent as my mother and father.
Nowadays, when the wooden spoon has been removed from the drawer, it is only used in the preparation of a wonderful meal or sweet treat. Thank goodness.
I wonder if there are any substitutes for the wooden spoon used today? Or was there another method of discipline your parents used on you? Please tell. I'd love to hear them.