Carrie, our neighbor boys’ mother was older in age when she had the two of them. They were the youngest in the family and the oldest was just into his teenage years when I was allowed to go next door to play. When one or the other of the boys would do something wrong, she would have a difficult time punishing them. She couldn’t chase after them. (Her husband was even older and wasn’t able to discipline them either.)
It wasn’t long until the brothers figured out they could outrun and out maneuver their mom and stay away from her until she forgot about whatever sin had been committed. They found places hide. Sometimes it was in the unused chicken coop, the garage, or in the woods. They would stay out of sight for hours.
Then they would slip back into the house unnoticed. They watched until they were sure the wrong they had done was truly forgotten and they were no longer on their mother’s mind. They would stay out of reach and slowly relax until they had blended back seamlessly and inconspicuously into the household routine.
After awhile, their mom Carrie put two and two together and it added up to two sneaky boys.
She figured out a counterattack. Her legs were bowed and arthritic. She could walk, but never run. She could only wear hard soled flat, slip on shoes and that is what became the object for her retaliation.
No kid wants to come and be punished when a parent calls them to come, knowing he is about to be punished. Most are reluctant, but these boys would run away. When they heard Carrie’s certain tone of voice, they knew. Dodging past their mom’s reach, they would shoot by her and escape out the door.
What Carrie lacked in speed, she began to make up in agility and accuracy. Shuffling as quickly as she could, she went out onto the porch, pulling off her shoes and she walked after the fleeing kid. Pulling back her arm, she would take aim, and throw with extreme accuracy. The shoe would tumble end over end until like a guided missile; it would hit its intended target. Even when the fleeing “sinner” would dodge, she managed somehow to hit the intended target.
The spot she always chose was same It was the middle of the upper back, between the shoulder blades, or the back of the head of the escaping person. The boy was doomed as soon as the launched shoe left her fingers.
Until the boys grew older and heavier, the shoe would actually upend the boy and take him to the ground. It seemed no matter how large of a head start they had or the distance they had run; her aim was steady, straight and true.
The boys were then commanded to bring her shoe back and they listened. They had already been punished and she always had the other shoe in hand and neither one of the boys wanted the other shoe to drop.