Growing up in Southern California, we wore flip flops for a good portion of the year.
This fact lead to one of my favorite Ma stories, actually a compilation of memories that we still laugh about today.
My sister (the mother of my fabulous nephews), Ma, and I would often walk around stores together. Occasionally, either my sister or I would get too close and accidentally step on the back of Ma’s flip flop when she was mid-step. It would send her off balance, and on the good-bad scale, this was BAD.
When it happened the first time in a day, Ma would say, “One.” My sister and I would look at each other with a slight look of fear and give Ma a wider berth. Should one of us do it again, a very loud “Two” could be heard. The look between us sisters was pure panic at that point. We didn’t know what happened at three, but we instinctively knew that it wasn’t going to be good. We walked well in front of Ma or so far off to the sides we could barely see her. Under no circumstances would either of us tempt fate by walking behind her at that point.
As adults, both of us have asked Ma what would have happened if we got to three. She says she doesn’t know. With the looks of death that came with the first two warnings, my sister and I know it would have been scary. Neither of us would have dared to do it a third time to find out. Perhaps our imaginations were worse than reality, but fear meant we will never know.
Did anyone else have the fear of either “The Look” or some unknown punishment keep them in line as kids? Or How many of my readers are old enough to remember when flip flops used to be called “thongs”?