SOMETHING FUNNY: If you could only have been at Michelle and Richard’s (longhorn) steak cookout. Michelle, while we were all outside, decided to mock Jenny and Wendy (Auburn Alums) by giving a “Heisman pose.” Well, Jenny and Wendy decided to do a “mock tackle” with Michelle as the tacklee! I (Renee), laughing hysterically, can still see the three rolling around in the leaves. And Richard, standing nearby in front of his “Rolls Royce” of BBQ grills, yelling,”Will someone PLEASE bring me a platter before the steaks become well-done!” Steaks turned out GREAT and three teachers actually managed to act like the kids they teach.

Who says teachers can’t have fun on weekends?



A few weeks ago, I did something that I thought I had left behind (Paddling misbehaving boys) when I took the position as Intern Assistant Principal at my county’s middle school. But my wishes were for naught-I had to paddle a 13 year old boy -For cause, rest assured. Since taking my current position, I have administered 2 paddlings (Miranda and Nashia), both for cause while witnessing 3 others all given to boys. Hey, as far as the antis are concerned, I belong in “Gitmo” while the teacher-coaches all wish I’d go back to elementary school teaching because of the limitations I placed on c.p. policy. (D***** if you do and d***** if you don’t -Right?)

Well, somedays you do not have to look for trouble because it seeks you out!

On a Thursday morning after the tardy bell had rung, I had walked back to my office when I saw Matt sitting outside my door. “Nothing like seeing Matt, the I.S.S. ‘all-star’, to start your day right ,” (or wrong, depending on your point of view) I thought to myself.

“Alright Matt, whats is it today?…Couldn’t find your way to the school’s front door?” I questioned with some irritation in my voice as I started to sip on my fresh cup of hot coffee. Folks, Matt is late EVERY DAY and spends more time in I.S.S. than anyone! Hey, he broke Miranda’s record for I.S.S. a month ago!

When he said,”Late to I.S.S.,” I just threw up my arms and replied,”I do not believe it is possible for one to be late for Out of School Suspension but with you, I wonder…”

Calling Matt’s home phone # (Which I know by heart after 3 1/2 months), I got the usual voice mail to leave a message which I get EVERY time his parents are called about I.S.S.

When I found out he was also caught with SKOAL, a tobacco dip, as well; I then decided to call the high school since Matt’s big brother was a likely source. When told about Mike’s strangely similar I.S.S. pattern, I inquired about their ability to reach the parents. It was discovered then that we had DIFFERENT home phone numbers.

Sensing something “not right” (Matt was starting to look a little worried about then), I asked for and received the # on Mike’s high school file. Then I told Matt plainly,”Take your cell phone out of your backpack and put it on my desk…NOW!”

“It is on ‘viberate’ so it won’t ring,” Matt pleaded.

“Thats o.k., Matt…I just want to try an experiment,” I replied.

When I called Mike’s # from my office phone, the cell phone nearly vibrated off my desk!

“So thats why no one can ever reach your parents about I.S.S. -You and Mike set up your own answering service!…Whatcha wanna bet your # reaches Mike’s cell?” I retorted.

Actually, I had to stifle a giggle thinking about Matt and Mike’s setup. When I was their age, Angie (My best friend) and I were daring but NEVER anything like this!

“O.K. Matt, I am going to call your dad at his work # right at the bottom of page 2 of your student registration file to inform him about EVERYTHING this year…” I spoke as Matt groaned.

To say Matt’s dad was pissed would be a major understatement. And after explaining the options, his dad readily chose the paddle over suspension saying,”Give him the works…The very idea of keeping his mother and me out of the loop as to his schooling?…And tobacco?…I’ve warned him about that stuff countless times…Matt has REALLY earned a butt whopping this time!”

I agreed to his decision, apart from the verbage and hung up. It was then that I recalled that the male teacher-coach who took care of this “task” during 1st period was out that morning and unavailable. Tapping my fingers on the desk as a worried Matt looked on (He should have thought about this a LONG time ago). Our Head Principal was gone to the central office and wouldn’t be back for hours. My thinking was “Matt is going to be paddled but all the male teacher-coaches are teaching class first period and I do not like the idea of interrupting their classes for a ‘paddling request’ or having Matt sitting around the office when he could be in class -Even I.S.S.” Then, it dawned on me -I would have to be the one to do the “honors” as they say. (One “honor” I’d just as soon skip!)

“O.K., girl” I thought to myself,”Please…No ritcher scale 6 headaches now…And all I ever wanted was to be an elementary school principal in a small community and…I get #@%* like this?”

I then paged a female teacher who did not teach a 1st period class to be a witness. I then pulled out the “Coach Kaye” paddle (24″ x 4″ x 1/4″) from a drawer of my desk as Matt jaw seemingly dropped as his mouth was wide open.

Wanting to just be done with this “chore” as I see it, I calmly said,”Matt, come with me and Ms. …. into the conference room here.”

Matt pleaded,” I’m sorry about the phone #’s and the dip…Please…I’ve never been paddled before!”

I softly replied,”I know you are sorry, dear -But you’ve had too many second chances already…Since it is your first, I’m going to hold back a liitle but…It will sting but not nearly as bad than what you’d get at home…From what your father told me.”

Matt seemed to shrug in resignation as I told him,”I’m a mom myself so I understand.”

I had Matt bend over in the brace position against the wall. I asked Matt to remove his wallet and anything else out of his back pockets which he did.

Then, I told Matt,”I am going to give you 3 swats as this is your first, and hopefully…last time.”

Thinking to myself as I lined up the top edge of the paddle with the top of the rear pockets,”I thought MY ‘discipline plan’ would eliminate the need for this…Sheesh!”

Drawing back at a 90 degree angle with my left hand on Matt’s lower back and my right hand tightly gripping the paddle handle, I swung hard and connected.

SMACK (…ouchhh!)

“Thats one…and two to go…” I announced.

The second seemed to surprise Matt.

SMACK (…owww…sniffle)

“Matt dear, are you o.k.?” I asked.

“Y Y Yes…I think so…It hurts so…” Matt responded.

“I know it does and I do NOT enjoy any of this either…One more and we are done!” I implored.

I swung a third time giving a flick of my right wrist as I connected for the final lick.

SMACK (…ouch…owwww…sob)

When Matt turned around to face me while trying to hold back tears, I felt a little “motherly” towards him and sought to console him. Handing him a tissue, I patted him on the shoulder and told him,”Paddling is over and I don’t want any hard feelings, Matt…o.k.?…Lets put this behind us and…Starting tomorrow, I want to see you as soon as you get off the bus EVERY morning…We are going to break your tardiness and tobacco habit once and for all!”

I then walked him to the back of the building where the I.S.S. trailer is located. While we were walking, Matt seemed downcast so I reassured him,”Matt dear, no one here wants to do what just happened including myself…I want you to get a solid education and will do my part to see to it that that happens but you have to do your part…And that starts with being on time.”

Continuing, I said,”Matt, you probably don’t believe me right at this moment when I say that ALL the teachers in this school, including me, REALLY care about the students well-being here…And that is why we don’t want students starting a ‘bad habit’ that will harm their health later in life…like tobacco usage.”

Matt turned and nodded and I could tell the stinging in his backside had dissipated by his wry grin.

As he started to open the door to I.S.S., I told Matt while patting him on the arm,”I have lost several relatives to cancer from tobacco usage…And I don’t wish that on you or anyone else…Understand me?”

“Yes Ma’am, Mrs. …., no more ‘bacco for me!”

Matt then proceeded to give me a light hug which startled and surprised me.

“Alright, Matt…I want you to get in there and finish your I.S.S. time and then…No more tardies or tobacco…o.k.?”

“Yes ma’am,” Matt replied as he stepped into the I.S.S. rrom.

And [ walked back to the front office thinking,”Another day in the life of a ‘surrogate mom’ of 800 +/- students.”

All this time, I thought I had just ONE child!



Christmas, Shopping Mall and Heartbreak

In this special time of year, I have lots of pleasant memories of growing up in the South (No snow but, oh well!) from “helping” my parents pick out our Christmas tree to decorating it AND the den where we placed it every year. Of course, the presents were anticipated for weeks but never opened until Christmas Day. Along with the late night Christmas Eve church service, all the normal traditions were observed in our household and I try to continue them today as a parent myself. (One “tradition” of my three older brothers and me was to try and “slip” a piece of coal into each other’s stockings…We almost NEVER got to sleep on Christmas night -To mom and dad’s chargrin.)

But this segment centers around the county shopping mall where I grew up. And despite the decorations, there is one memory I’d just as soon forget. The reason is the teenage heartbreak that happened to me one year.

I was in 9th grade and was smitten over a Bobby -Who was an upper classman and school “heart-throb” (11th grade I think) whose locker was two over from mine. The problem was: I was short and petite while his girlfried was the most gorgeous girl in the school. (O.K., Michelle -You can stop giggling now!…Readers, guess who is gonna get a lump of coal this year?)

Well, I tried to just be friends but was like a candle next to a bonfire when “she” came around. But, I was like the lovesick calf when around Bobby and was headed for a major heartbreak.

It started when I witnessed a little spat and breakup of the two and worked my “cupid” charm into overdrive. Bobby picked up on this and next thing -HE WAS CALLING ME! I can still vividly remember having to wrestle the phone out of one of my brother’s hands as dad yelled,”Stop toying with the phone before you break it!” Of course, being my older sibling, my brother just had to yell,”Fire alert!…Fire alert!…Its burning up in here!” as they became aware of lil’ sis getting her first “boy call”. And best of all…He asked me out…to the shopping mall, that is.

There was a hitch: His car had been in the repair shop for that weekend so my dad would drop off Bobby and me at the mall and his dad would pick us up 6 hours later. The ONLY way this ever was considered by my dad was that he knew of Bobby’s family -So everything was cool! That Saturday was only two weeks before Christmas and I circled it on my calender in red ink -A heart with arrow to be exact!

When we were dropped off, I thought I was in rapture! But Bobby seemed distracted. After a while of walking, he suggested we go into one of the large department stores to “look around.” That was o.k. by me and we did so. After about 30 minutes, he told me he needed to use the rest room. I just told him,”I’ll be over in ‘Handbags’ so no rush.”

But another 30 minutes passed w/o any sign of Bobby. I was worried and finally asked a gentleman to go in the men’s room and see if a Bobby was still in there.

He wasn’t.

He wouldn’t just ditch me…would he?

Dismissing the thought, I frantically walked around the inner parameter of the mall looking everywhere. Getting hungry myself, I decided to go to the food court area and perhaps find him there. To this day, I wish I hadn’t.

Lo and behold -My “boyfriend” was standing at an ice cream stand chatting with -can you believe this?- his recent ex-girlfriend, thats who! And what a “lovely” pair -They definitely looked like they “made up”!

Just seeing the two smiling at each other -I guess Bobby was so eager for her to get off work at the ice cream stand, he FORGOT about little ol’me.

My reaction (They never saw me) was disbelief at first, then shock…and then ANGER. I mean REAL THERMONUCLEAR ANGER!

To keep from a hysterical meltdown, I slowly backed away and made a beeline for the ladies room -Real tears ready to burst. And where does corporal punishment fit in this?

It doesn’t. I would have opted for capital punishment for Bobby -By strangling him with my bare hands.

Of course, I didn’t and instead, sat down on a toilet seat and bawled my eyes out for nearly an hour.

Later, I called daddy and told him what happened. He picked me up a short time later and we left sans Bobby. And Bobby? Well, Bobby was on the football team -His misfortune because daddy was one of the coaches. Lets just say my dad has a mean streak about protecting his little girl and Bobby rued the day he dissed me.

But there is more.

I was the “underdeveloped” girl (as my mom puts it) that Fall but the next year, the “ugly” duckling bloomed into a true “swan”. Then, I got more than my fair share of attention from boys -But I never forgot what Bobby did to me. As it turned out, Bobby’s girlfriend’s family moved (I think her dad was in the military) and poor ol’ Bobby was date-less.

Well, Bobby did take notice of me and started to “get social”. And I let him “have it”.

Actually, I just turned around and said,”Bobby…I wasn’t ‘good enough’ for you last year except to ‘bum’ a free ride to the mall to see Amanda…Well, I have plans with someone whose name isn’t Bobby…Bobby, you just don’t measure up to my standards anymore!”

I then simply walked away.

Karma strikes again!



At this time of the year with our busy and chaotic holiday plans with family and friends, it is easy to miss out on what the real meaning of the season is. The four of us at TWP would like to give you our own thoughts and wishes.



…that people would stop trying to “one up” each other in Washington, D.C. Hey, if “it” is good for the U.S.A., why should it matter who gets the credit?

…that “grownups” would THINK before running off their mouths -Especially when they do not know what the h*** they are talking about.

…”NASCAR dads would leave the auto racing to the pros and SLOW DOWN on the interstaste.



…more people would ditch plastic bags. If only you knew what damage they do to the environment.

…that more people would buy Chistmas trees that you can re-plant. Think of what good millions of newly re-planted trees would do for air quality overall.

…parents would set a better example for their kids as to decent vs. foul language.



…everyone could have seen the look on baby Patrick’s face when James and I turned on the Christmas tree lights for the first time. Priceless.

…the “Bah Humbug” anti- Christmas people would just take a nice, long cruise to nowhere. They could keep one another company and not bother anyone else.

…you could have heard my class singing Christmas songs Friday afternoon during our little party to start the holiday break. (Eat your heart out A.C.L.U.!)



…you could have seen the look on Jenny and Wendy’s faces as they sang the Alabama alma mater a couple weeks ago -For the 2nd year in a row!

…something could be done to those people who engage in the so called “dog fighting” sport. Problem is, the 8th amendment prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment”.

…I had a dollar for the weird grins I see every time I mention in public that I teach elementary school 4th grade.



Just a quick update on Nashia, the very large girl basketball player who I paddled a couple months ago. It turns out that the high school girls basketball coach was the same “paddling teacher” for whom I was the “replacement paddler”. Hey, one look at that coach and you would NOT want to be on the wrong side facing a paddling from her. As to Nashia, the ol’lady coach nearly run our basket brawler into the hardwood floor. Nashia will be definitely toeing the line from here on out. Why? Rumor has it that Nashia is fearful of the coach’s well-known wrath.

If that is what it takes -So be it!

And some people think I’M strict?












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