Once we had made camp for the night, I lay on my bedroll, on my stomach; I could still feel the sting from the spanking that Mr. Boone had given me for running off and worrying folks. It had all started two days ago.
I smashed Mrs. Boone's lamp.…..
I was jist standing there looking at the pieces when all of a sudden someone grabbed me by the arm and the room began to spin, and found myself face down over someone's lap and lookin at the floor. Before I could even figure out what was happenin' my britches were yanked by the waist, and ended up around my ankles. Then it started; a ringing sting that felt like bees attacking. I kicked and squirmed but I could not free myself from the large hand as it continued the assault on my bare behind.
"Stop, please stop," I squalled. But, the spanking continued. My backside was on fire. "Ouch, that hurts," I cried as the large hand then came crashing down on the back of my legs.
I could fight it no longer; I gave in to the sobs and hoped it would be over soon. Then suddenly it stopped. It wasn't until I was allowed to rise to my feet that I realized who had spanked me; there sat Mr. Boone. As I reached for my britches and then pulling them back into place, I realized that Israel and Mrs. Boone had seen the whole thing. I was so embarrassed. I was pretty dang sure that my face was as red as my burning backside.
"Now, young man; you owe me an explanation," thundered Mr. Boone.
"Yes sir," I whined and sniveled through the tears, "thoughs, yer coulda asked me… that question afore yer…I Don't know why you… walloped me?" I said still crying and hiccupping as I stood in front of Mr. Boone.
"Luke," Mr. Boone reached up and put his hand on my shoulder. Since you got here last week, you have been rude, and almost impossible. Then yesterday when you and Israel were carrying the mattress, you heard Mrs. Boone say how important that lamp was to her. Did you not? "
"Yes Sir, so" I answered.
"So, So," thundered Mr. Boone, rising to pace the room in an effort to calm. Returning to his chair he faced me and started again,
"Today; just because you were mad you deliberately smashed the lamp. That was a very hurtful and childish thing to do. Around here, if little boys throw fits then they get their hides tanned right quick," Mr. Boone said in a low stern voice.
"But, you had no right…You ain't my pa!" I boldly piped up.
"Luke, the other day we all sat at this table," said Mr. Boone thumping his finger on the table as he spoke.
"We decided that you would be welcomed as a part of this family, and you agreed. Boy that makes me responsible for you and gives me the right to discipline you the same I would Israel."
"But, I'm eleven years old that's too old to spank," I protested.
Israel snickered and Mrs. Boone quickly placed her hand over his mouth.
"Luke, as part of this family, you will be expected to behave and if you choose not to, you will be punished. If you don't want that punishment to be a trip across my knee, then you will not act like a spoiled brat. "Now, son, I want you to clean up the mess, then go to your room and think about what you did, and what I've just said," he lifted my chin and looked me straight in the eye, "Do I make myself perfectly clear?"
"Yes sir" I answered stalking off to find the broom, before my mouth could get me inta any more trouble and then have Israel laughin at me so.
As I lay on my bed later, I could hear muffled voices coming from the other room. "About me I bet," I mumbled. "Well I'll show them; I'm nobody's problem. I could make it on my own," I said under my breath and then out the window I went.
I was running for the only place I knew; the cabin me and pa had shared. I would be fine there. I had been there alone lots of times. It was getting very dark, and I needed a place to sleep. I found a small cavern in the rocks. As I bedded down for the night, I began to wish that I had thought about bringing a blanket along. When I had just woken up, I started to think I was getting hungry…Yep, another thing I had not planned for.
As I stretched I heard a noise, so I quickly hid in the bush. Maybe there was an animal or maybe it was an Indian. Then suddenly a tap on the shoulder caused me to jump out of my skin
"It's only me," announced Israel.
"Why did you follow me?" I shouted.
"Shh...we are in Indian country," said Israel, putting his finger to his lips. "And I followed you, because I remembered how embarrassed I felt when pa spanked me in front of someone; I remember I wanted to runaway too, but I didn't, because I knew pa would only come to find me and it would have worried ma as well."
"Well I am not going back and I'm sure your pa won't come looking for me," whispered Luke angrily.
"He will, you wait and see. Now where are we going anyway?" Israel asked a little cheerfully, like this was some sort of great adventure fer him.
"You should go back; your pa will be looking for you. I 'm going to my pa's cabin."
"I'm not going back without you, so let get started. This could be quite an adventure," said Israel. "The way I figure if we get going we should be safely out of Shawnee country in about an hour then we can make a fire and get something to eat, so lead the way Luke."
Fine I thought ta myself. Ifin he wanted ta take the chance with his pa, well good fer him. In truth though, I was kinda happy ta have the company and the help. Before long Israel had snared a rabbit, and he and I had just gotten to the cabin and got it on to cook.
"Israel, won't your pa be angry when he catches up to you?" I asked, now feelin a little guilty I'd let him come along. I jist hope Mr. Boone don't blame me for everything.
"I reckon he'll give me a good hiding for worrying folks, but I hope that you will see how much we want you around. And anyway, it's too late to get out of what's coming to me. I figure that I am safer waiting for pa to find me then crossing that Shawnee country again."
Boy, now I really did feel bad. Israel was putting his butt on the line fer me; I mean literally.
Back at the Boone cabin, Daniel was busy trying to convince Rebecca that the boys would be ok and he would find them.
"Becky, I'm sure that Israel was trying to help, not hurt. I will bring him home safe. I'll probably be gone about three days. You try not to worry."
"I'll worry until you get home with them, Daniel; both of them. Then you can take them out to the woodpile and skin the hide off them."
Daniel laughed then kissed Rebecca and headed out to saddle his horse.
Daniel knew he was getting closer, when he found the boys tracks along the trail where they had come together. This also served to ease his mind the boys were both still alright; for now. He was sure that he knew where they were headed and was certain he would be able to catch up to them in about three hours as long as he didn't find any Indian trouble.
When Mr. Boone rode up on the cabin and had seen the smoke waft out from the stove pipe, he figured he knew where his two wayward boys were. He could kinda understand Luke's running off. Luke was a frighten boy striking out at the world. Having to face the sort of man his Pa was at his age had left him mighty confused. It was Israel's running that puzzled him. The boy knew how his ma worried. And he knew he was not to come this far alone. As Mr. Boone approached the door he could hear the boys laughing; planning to go fishing.
Did they have no concern for the worry they had caused? He pondered before entering the cabin.
Mr. Boone slung the door open both of us boys near jumped outta our skins.
"Hi Pa," squeaked Israel, from his place at the table.
Mr. Boone's eyes went real wide, and then he yelled, real loud like a grizzly bear in a trap, "HI PA! Why, I ought to give the two of you a good hiding right here and now. Imagine as old as you are, running off and worry folks like this. And neither of you have any business out this far alone. I want some answers and right now!" he roared.
I spun around and started yelling, "I don't have to answer any questions, you're not my boss!" with that I darted for the open door. But in two strides Mr. Boone had me by the back of my shirt, and my feet left the floor.
"I will decide what you will listen to and when you will leave, young man," Mr. Boone said right into my ear. Then as he walked me across the room, he gave three really hard swats to the seat of my britches, and planted me firmly on a chair.
While this was taking place, Israel sat studying the floor. Guess he knew from experience he was in trouble too and wasn't gonna add to it. His pa was really mad and gave him an angry frown, before he pulled Israel's chair right up next to mine and sat down.
"Now, Israel Thomas Boone, I want to know what you were thinking; taking off after Luke?"
"I went into the room to get my sling shot, when I noticed Luke was gone. I knew that I should tell you Pa, but I remembered last year when you caught me sneaking candy form Cincatus' store, and how yer tanned me real good. I thought I could find Luke and get him to come back before you'd find us missing, so I snuck out the window and tracked him jist like you taught me; you would have been proud…" Israel gave a quick smile, but seeing no humor on Mr. Boone's face he hurried on, "Well, Pa I kinda knew how Luke felt. I remember you made me drop my britches and you spanked me bare in front of Cincatus; crime-a-nettly was I embarrassed. I figured if I could find Luke and explain that I understood how he felt, maybe, he would come back and give us one more chance." Israel paused and took a quick breath, "It wasn't long until, I noticed that we were heading deeper and deeper into Shawnee country. I knew that you had warned me not to venture out here alone, but I had to find Luke. It was getting late, so I found a cave to sleep in and I knew better than to build a fire. It could alert the Indians. I was glad for the pack I brought; the blanket kept me warm. Then by the time I caught up with Luke, I figured that I was safer here waiting for you then crossing back over Shawnee country again. I know that I did wrong when I snuck out, I should have come and told you Luke was gone. I'm sorry Pa." Israel returned his sad eyes to the floor and waited for his pa's response.
"Son, I am very proud that you wanted to help Luke, but we've talk before about you being too young to make decisions without consulting your ma or me. You deliberately disobeyed and placed yourself in great danger. Coming across Shawnee country like that could have got you killed. Then there's the fact that you had no concern for the worry you have caused to your Ma." Mr. Boone sighed.
"Pa, I'm really sorry, but I couldn't come back without Luke, even if it meant you and ma both wore a board out on me. Maybe, if Luke sees that I get treated the same when I do wrong, he will understand we want him as a part of our family," he finished with tears in his eyes.
"Well son you sure did a good job of explaining yourself, and earning yourself a sore seat, come here son, I think you know what to expect.
"Yes, sir" Israel said, unfastening his britches as he walked over to Mr. Boone, sliding them down as he leaned over his Pa's lap, without a word.
I thought I saw Mr. Boone smirk a bit when he seen Israel was wearing his long johns. At least that answers why Israel was a hell of a lot warmer than me last night. Didn't make no difference though, Mr. Boone just unbuttoned his back flap and delivered one good paddling in quick order. As Israel stood up Mr. Boone said, "Son, I want you to sit down and listen while I talk to young master Luke.
"Yes sir," Israel replied as he fixed his clothes and eased himself back onto his chair. His face was real red. I reckon he was embarrassed about getting the spanking in front of me. Then he looked at me, sniffed a bit then jist shrugged his shoulders, like he was saying; it was okay, he was pretty much expecting not being able ta sit real comfortable.
Mr. Boone turned his chair so he was sitting directly in front of me.
"Now Luke, as I see it, you have a choice to make here. You can go from here to the orphanage in Salem, or you can come back and apologize to Mrs. Boone and give this family another chance. The choice is yours. Either way, I am going to keep my promise and treat you just like my own son. You disobeyed me and left the cabin. You put yourself in great danger, and you acted with no regard for others. I think it only fair you receive the same as Israel," and with that he told me to stand up and unfasten my britches. I dropped them and then moved real quick holding onto the waist band of my thin under shorts. He guided me across his knee and yanked my shorts down past my thighs and started swatting. The spanking was dealt out without comment. I wanted ta yelp my head off, as Mr. Boone done re-lit the fire in my backside, but I figured Israel didn't yell too loud, jist cried a bit. When he finished with one last wallop to the top of my thighs, he reached down and pulled my shorts and britches back into place, then allowed me to rise.
I stood looking at Mr. Boone, then through a busted dam of tears, I cried. "Please sir, can I come home with you. I will try to do better." I couldn't stand it no longer, and I flung myself into Mr. Boone's arms. Afore I knowed it, Israel joined us in the hug.
"Boys we had better be on our way, Becky is probably worrying herself sick. As it is we'll have to make camp for the night." Mr. Boone smiled as he closed the cabin door, watching me and Israel head off down the trail.
Harumpft… I remember thinkin then that the walk would at least give us some time ta take the sting outta our tails. Boy how wrong was I. Daniel Boone is a man, a real big man; with big hands that could leave a sting on a kid's tail… fer years I reckon.