Lake Nostalgia

From soggy memories...

Anna Voy

Anna Voy
December 31
My name is Anna Voy and these are my stories. I grew up, the youngest of four, in a small lake community in East Texas. My family wasn’t like yours and I can guarantee that. I’m not implying that my family has the market cornered when it comes to being weird. We all have dysfunctional families, but no one’s is dysfunctional in the same way. I feel I can pretty safely assume that my family’s weirdness is unique and is fully responsible for shaping me into what I’ve become. I’ve grown up to be somewhat adjusted, however I keep my quirks intact, fully aware that they are a product of a strange and warped childhood. Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I don’t consider myself abused; rather I view my childhood as a series of strange adventures played out in unconventional ways and perceived through the layers of conditioning that we all inevitably pick up from those who raise us. On sunny days my mind trails back to these soggy memories and I almost swear I can smell the moss of the lake and hear the sounds of the motor boats as they speed rebelliously by the “Caution” buoy. These are the stories I remember…


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Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 28, 2011 11:37AM

Fight Night

Rate: 27 Flag

                  Bullying has always been a serious problem. In recent decades psychologists have written hundreds of books on the subject, offering hundreds of methods for dealing with the problem. I’m almost certain that the method my mother chose is not referenced in any book anywhere.

               It was my sister, Katie, who had run home and told my mother that Billy, from the bus, was picking on Ronald. “He challenged Ronald to a fight,” my sister explained excited by the drama.

            Busy playing video games my brother ignored my sister as she explained what had happened on the bus that day. When my mother had heard enough she put up her hand, stopping Katie from babbling on about the details.

“Well that settles it,” mom said with finality, “you’re going to have to fight him.”

“Huh?!," my brother sputtered in disbelief. Somehow my mother's command had managed to penetrate through the video game world that Ronald was in and startle him. He paused the game and set down the controller. “What?”

            Lighting a cigarette from the corner of her mouth my mother explained, “Billy is a damn bully and I’m tired of hearing the shit he puts you kids through. You’re going to kick his ass and shut him up once and for all!”

             Ronald looked both shocked and excited. Parents weren’t supposed to condone fighting, let enough encourage it. We were all shocked by my mother’s response, but it was just about to get a whole lot weirder.

“What do you say, Ronald?” she asked twirling her hair in one hand.

“Ummm…sure,” he said a bit hesitantly and then apparently reading the disapproval in her face he extended his statement, “Yeah, I can do it!”

“Oh, yeah you can! You could kick his butt with one arm tied behind your back,” she encouraged.

            Katie and I just looked at each other horrified, but also slightly entertained. This is about the time that it got weirder. Picking up the phone my mother flipped through her address book and dialed a number. A minute later someone must have picked up.

“Hello this is Melanie. Is this Cindy?” She nodded her head triumphantly. “Are you Billy’s mother?” 

 There was another nod from her as she started pacing the floor with the receiver pressed firmly to her face.

“Well your son has been threatening my children for too long. We’re tired of it and it’s time that he gets what’s coming to him.” There was silence for about ten seconds.

“Well this is what we’re going to do about it. Your son has challenged my son, Ronald, to a fight and he accepts.”


“That’s right! Well boys fight and I would rather they fight in the supervision of their parents than in a back alley somewhere. At least this way we’ll be there to intervene if it gets out of hand. Billy wants to fight Ronald and so he’ll get his chance. How does that sound?” She nodded her head, her eyes dazzling with excitement. “Yes, that sounds good. See you there!”

Setting the phone down my mom turned to Ronald with one hand on her hip, “There it’s done. You two will fight on Saturday night at the end of the road.”

            I think I saw a moment of fear in Ronald’s eyes and then it disappeared. He smiled and ran off to his room to do push-ups.

             The day of the fight we were all exploding with excitement. We filled up on hotdogs and tater tots before packing up the essentials we’d need for the big event. My step-father, Murray, packed an ice chest full of diet Dr. Pepper and prepackaged cheese and crackers. Katie and I had made a banner that said, “EAT GRASS, BILLY!” My mother put together a bag that included bug spray, cigarettes and a first aid kit. Ronald had the wheelbarrow, which he’d offer to Billy’s parents so that they had a proper method for dragging the beat up boy home.

             When we arrived to the preset fight location, we all unfolded the chairs we brought along and set them up so that our backs were toward the sun. Ronald began doing stretches and bouncing up and down in place. Murray handed us each a cold diet Dr. Pepper and we exchanged versions of what we thought would happen.

“I bet you he won’t be able to go to school for a week,” Katie chimed.

“I hope that he never wants to ride the bus again and that maybe he begs his mother to home school him,” I said excitedly.

 “Oh, don’t you guys worry,” Ronald explained anxiously, throwing punches in the air, “when I’m done with him he’ll wish he’d never been born.” My brother smacked a fist into the palm of his hand, “he won’t mess with any of us again, ever.”            

                 We sat there sipping our cokes for an hour, sharing stories and getting excited anytime we saw someone walking in our direction. Billy never showed up. The bully proved to be a coward. He really wouldn’t ride the bus very often after that, although he wasn’t home schooled. Strangely when he did ride the bus he kept to himself, not bothering anyone. My brother never antagonized him either. I think Ronald was just glad to be left alone to read his comic books in peace without being picked on. Also my brother had his moment of glory where his entire family rallied around him, cheering him on and filling him with pride.

            That night as we all walked home with our banner, first aid kit, wheelbarrow and ice chest we remarked at how disappointed we were to not have seen a good fight. However, as we strolled down the street together I think there was a moment where we felt connected as a family. It felt good to band together for a common purpose, although it was a strange one. When we rounded the bend, Ronald pulled the wheelbarrow over and offered to give me a ride. I hopped in and smiled broadly as the triumphant champion who won by default pushed me gracefully in my make-believe chariot.

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Anna, you are not going to believe this but I lived the same story.
Between the french and the english kids though.
I remembered it all.
Rated with hugs
Brava, Mom and bravo, Ronald! And hurrah for a splendid story! Now, then, where in hell have you been for well over a month? Hmm?
Linda, I do believe it. Your story sounds bit more dangerous though. It's always worst when distinctions between race are a factor. My brother's fight was over regular white kid on white kid bullying.

Matt, thank you! And I was wondering when I was going to get that question. I've been swamped since the holidays and missing my OS like I'd lost my left foot. I've finally gotten a chance when I can drop in here and catch up on the wonderful posts that I've missed! It's good to be back...
I like this story. Kids should learn how to defend themselves not just for their personal protection, but to help others that are being bullied. Unfortunately, the good old days of settling a conflict with fists has been replaced with guns and drive by shootings.
I love how you write, I love your stories, I'm so glad to see you back! Thanks for another great one - it would have made an excellent episode of "Pete and Pete" - which in my world equals sublime praise. Excellent, excellent, as always! R!!!
What an intelligent solution! Loved this story.
Littlewillie, yeah a good ole fist fight is the way to go. Guns are for cowards.

Alysa, thank you so much! So many kind words. I'm beaming. I'll have to go check out this Pete and Pete.

Sophieh, I'm glad you thought so. Thank you!
I can't remember the last time I was so delighted by a story. Oh, yeah, probably the last time you posted.
I hope this is going to be a book. ~r
"ran off to his room to do push-ups" ... Anna, people in the cafeteria are wondering why I am sitting alone with my laptop and chuckling. If anyone asks, I am blaming you ;)
While I love the story, I wonder if it would work now . . . I'm thinking that in the area where we live, the bully would have shown up, and the fight would have escalated into an inter-family brawl, eventually appearing on an episode of COPS. But really, what a damn fine story!
Best story I've read today. I shouldn't be smiling I know, because fighting should be frowned upon, but I can't help myself. I would give a shiny nickel to have been there. Congrats on the EP!
Great story. It's been my experience that bullies are almost always cowards. I long ago learned to call them out.
Major, although I know you're right I'm still too scared to stand up to the bully, just in the off chance that this time he or she is feeling fearless.

Scanner, shucks that's the nicest comment. Frown away, fighting is a normal part of growing up.

Owl, thank you kindly. I think that's what we might have been destined for if the bully had actually showed up. Then this story would have been even weirder.

Catherine, I'll proudly take full blame. So happy to make you laugh!

Joan, you're the best! Thanks for the words of encouragement and support!
The fact that we can't simply do really, really late term abortions on bullies is a cause for concern.
I'm glad your encounter went so well.

In high school I caught a bully pouring ketchup on the back of my much bigger and stronger brother older brother. The bully was sitting at a lunchroom table and I was standing holding an empty tray. I lowered the tray more rapidly than prudent and "accidentally" bloodied the kid's nose. I don't remember why I didn't get in trouble. I think he was too embarassed about being "owned" by one of the skinniest clarinet-playing kids in school to rat me out.

My brother was not happy with me.

Decades later I still don't feel right about this. But, we had no more trouble from that kid.
What an f-ing awesome story! That is as good as anything I've read by David Sedaris! Thank you for your comment. Actually I have compiled a collection of essays for a book. I think you should most definitely do the same!
Great story! Your mom was a smart cookie. I wonder if Billy was hiding somewhere close by, peeping on your family picnic. Or maybe his mom had locked him in his room.
Anna, you write wonderful stories that so many of us can relate to. Yay, for your Mom and Ronald!
My mind fled back to my own childhood when my brother took on a local bully to save my honor. Thanks for priming the recollection.
Great story, we all can relate

Dawn, it's always good when I can take you back to your own childhood.

Fay, coming from you that's truly a compliment!

Green, that's a thought! His redneck parents had probably taken him to the Monster Truck derby so as to take his mind off his cowardness.

Terry, thanks so much! Great idea. I look forward to more of your posts.

Steve, that's pretty awful. I wouldn't feel right either, but you can't be too harsh on yourself.

Doug, that's a really strange thing to say. I'm not saying that bullies shouldn't get shipped off to their own private island. But are you saying that bullying is confirmed at conception or in the genetic code? HAHAH! I know you never meant me to take it so literal. That will teach you!
Mothers! They know more psychology than anything contained within the covers of a textbook. And that feeling of family unity, the mutual entailment--well, it hardly gets better than that.
Cheers for a new twist on the old bully story!
Buffy, thank you!

Jerry, you're so right!

Muse, oh I'm so glad I wasn't predictable!
Excellent story. Enjoyed it. Thanks for using a bigger font. I just hate the tiny OS default font.
This is a GREAT story!
Grew up in a neighborhood run by bullies. Ate several lawns but never backed down.
Good story.
Sheba, thank you. I aim to please!

S.ophie, I'm really glad you enjoyed it!

Alsoknownas, I'm sure those were character building experiences for you!
Many years ago, when I was maybe 11 or 12 and lived in a small town, fights were not common but they were also not forbidden. The police were not called and the participants were not hauled off to juvie n0r did the two sets of parents file suit against each other when their offspring engaged in fistacuffs.

There was an older kid up the street (maybe 14) who did a fair amount of bullying to the younger kids in the neighborhood and it seemed more of it than my share fell on me. One day on the way home from school I reached my limit and called the kid out. He was at least a half a head taller than me and a year and a half or so older. There was a large crowd of the neighbor kids in a big ring in the front yard of the folks across the street from my house and the two of us in the middle. I don't think he counted on the fact that my Dad (a Golden Gloves champ in the Army during WWII) had taught me how to box at any early age or even that I'd come after him. But come after him I did. He made a couple of inconsequential swings at me and I landed several hard ones on him, one of which bloodied his mouth at which point he ran home crying and I went home triumphant. He never bothered me or any of the other kids again.
There was a viral video/story recently about an incident not so different from this, the fight actually took place, though, and the mother was cheering on her 16 (or so) year old daughter. The world was horrified, simply horrified. Good story, though.
Beenthere, that's a great story! Thanks for sharing it!

Nerd, that sounds like a Jerry Springer show. I think my family was only a step away from that!
Excellent tale. I could have used family support like that when I was a kid!
Forgot to add that this was the only real fight I ever had growing up. I avoided them like the plague but in this case, the kid finally got under my skin.
Great story! I'm glad it worked out for Ronald...and for all of you! The thought of your mother calling his mother is hilarious.
Bell, thank you! Yeah, I have a strong feeling my brother really didn't want to actually fight. And it was quite formal and funny of my mother to call. That know!

Beenthere, yeah sounds like a real trouble maker. I don't blame you and one fight for your whole life is pretty good.

J.P., thank you! It was a good bonding time for the family and nice to support Ronald over something.
This is such a wonderful story. One of the best I've read about bullying issue. The story serves as the best example to avoid getting in such a situation. Your mom is so smart and responsible for thinking ways that would provide solutions to your brothers struggles. I learned a lot from your nerve racking but funny story. To this extent, I would like also to share my ways in securing the safety and protection of my kids. It's a mobile personal safety solutions that they could easily ask for immediate help for whatever problems that they might be encountering, and by that, it is easier for me as well to take actions and guide them from any possible hazardous situation. This is my kids safety protection check this out