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Not the Principals OFFICE Again or so I told myself as I waited anxiously for the bell to ring today at the Texarkana, TX Middle School. I was there to teach a class on Developing Talents to the eighth grade boys in the Boys to Men program. A flood of memories came to mind as I sat next to one of the students I thought had been sent to the principal to be dealt with and back when I was in school this was just short the wrath of God and just where that wrath stopped didn’t matter because when I got home I would receive the full wrath of God definitely brought again from my Daddy and black beauty. That’s what we called the his belt. It was a thick black leather belt that was just the right width and height to fit through his belt loops with no room to spare. My dad could, with one hand, pull that belt off spank us a couple of times and get it back on his waist in one full swoop the way the way Indiana Jones would use his whip to successfully navigate the Temple of Doom. I wanted to ask the kid next to me what are you in for, but I could only manage to sit quietly looking straight forward in my chair not making eye contact with anyone because maybe just maybe I wouldn’t get a paddlin myself. I remember some of the paddles on display from my school days there was the electric paddle – we will call this a deterrent as it had scared the little kids so bad they never wanted the chance of being electrocuted, then then there was the Red Devil – it was larger than a normal paddle and it was painted in what seem to be war paint of blood, not just any blood but the blood of previous victims it drew from holes in the paddle. When you got close you could feel the heat radiating off the paddle as if it had just been to Hades. The teacher was proud of this paddle and it was on display in the window where the light would hit it allowing the blood I mean paint to glisten as a reminder of the impending doom awaiting if you get out of line. We will call it an attention getter and a deterrent. Then there was Coaches Paddle- now this is a special one because a lot of times coaches paddle had meaning. Some would let you sign it after you had licks, a lot times their paddle started splitting from all the spankins they dished out as coaches. A lot of times it was held together with athletic tape sometimes enough you would think it would act as a cushion but there was always a spot or two of board not covered and they could guide that paddle with the precision of laser guided missile always making sure to hit board to flesh for maximum impact. Don’t forget all coaches strive to win at everything this included paddlin. They would reach down from sheer grit and determination to remind you that whatever you had done to get a spankin you would not be doing it again. Coaches paddle didn’t always have to be wooden. Sometimes he would swing that whistle and hit your helmet and it rung bell and it would rattle your head inside and down to your toe bones, sometimes it would be in a coaches voice at half time where the visitors bus driver in the charter bus up the hill with the tv on could hear you did not run the correct play or that might have been the worst blocking they have ever seen, or up downs at practice, soul train, ladders, bear crawl, hills, whatever he could come up with since the paddle was up the hill in the classroom. And you better not even complain because if one person said something there was no I in team and the whole team would receive the wrath in whatever form that may be. Some days seem like yesterday and I wouldn’t change a thing…a thing. I sure enjoyed my trip down memory lane today and I couldn’t help but think about all the wonderful people in my life who made me what I am. Thank you! Every one of you hold a special place in my heart. In closing, I am thankful I work at a company who encourages and supports us to give back to our communities and challenge us to find new ways to serve in 2017. As you chew on that challenge, you don’t have to be a millionaire here’s what Theodore Roosevelt had to say “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are!”