Welcome to Swampton: Momma plays with horny toads

Michael DeWitt, Jr.

Posted May 6, 2021

By Michael DeWitt, Jr.

“Even bad men love their mommas.” – Russell Crowe as Ben Wade in 3:10 to Yuma

Welcome to Swampton County, S.C., where the sign outside the Cattywampus Church reads: “Don’t forget Mom on Mother’s Day – you’re the reason she pees when she jumps on a trampoline!”

Here, Mother’s Day is a special time for most folks. Hell McCatchum, Editor of The Swampton Slinger, always strives to show his appreciation for motherhood in the local paper.

One year, he held a Hot Mom Contest. That was pretty popular with most of the Dads, as well as some of the wannabe Dads out there. The following year, he held a Pretty Baby Contest and then an Ugliest Baby Contest – that way every Mom took home some type of prize.

One year he even talked the Swampton County Sheriff’s Office into furloughing all the Moms in the county jail for 48 hours, just so they could be with their families. That went over especially well and lots of local families were reunited for the weekend. Unfortunately, several Moms were apparently flight risks and one or two of the poor dears are still at large.

This year, McCatchum decided to do something different. He asked readers to write letters to the editor and share stories about all the mean, horrible things their mothers had ever done to them, and he promised to respond with some wise editorial advice. These are their stories.

 Dear Editor,

You asked for “horrible mom” stories, and here is mine. My mother used to make me eat broccoli and brussels sprouts at least twice a week! Twice, I tell you! Can you imagine how disgusting that was?

Signed,
Green Around the Gills

Dear Green Around the Gills,

Is that the worst thing your Mom ever did? Please, don’t waste my time. Once, when my mother was washing dishes and I wouldn’t eat my mashed potatoes, she forced a handful of them down my throat and almost choked me! The worst part is, she didn’t even take off the rubber dish gloves or wash off the Palmolive dishwashing liquid. You want to know what tastes worse than green brussels sprouts? Green dishwashing liquid!”

Grow up, and buy your mom something nice for the kitchen for Mother’s Day!

Dear Editor,

My mean mother used to make me clean my room every day. That’s right, I said every day! Isn’t that like child labor or something? Wouldn’t that be illegal these days?

Signed,
Lazy in the Lowcountry

Dear Lazy in the Lowcountry,

Do you know what’s worse than Mom making you clean your room? When Mom cleans your room for you when you aren’t around! I was off at school, and my mother went in my room and discovered my contraband – including that stash of “special” magazines that I had. That wicked woman destroyed each and every one of those magazines while giving a stern lecture about respecting women and being a gentleman!  But the only person who was more upset than my mother was my father. Who do you think I stole the magazines from?

Stop wasting my time and go clean your room!

Dear Editor,

Growing up, I was afraid of the dark. So what did my mother do? She made me go stand outside every night for ten minutes, in the pitch black darkness. Sure, I peed my pants the first couple of nights, but eventually I overcame my fears. But don’t you think the horrible woman could have found a nicer, more therapeutic way of handling my childhood phobias?

Signed,
Safe and Sane in Swampton

 Dear Safe and Sane,

I can relate to this. Growing up, I was a big sissy. I was afraid of insects and spiders, I wouldn’t touch fish, frogs, or lizards, and I was deathly afraid of any type of snake. But my mother vowed that she would have a normal “country boy,” so that monster would go outside and catch all kinds of creepy, crawly things, despite the fact that she was squeamish around frogs and other slimy things herself, and make me hold them and play with them.

Look at the bright side: as adults you can walk outside at night without wetting your pants, and I can bait my own hook and remove my own fish without cringing and getting the willies. I even caught a horny toad the other day, just to put it in my hat and chase my wife. I chased her around the house twice with that frog before he escaped, then chased her for another two laps with just my empty hat. I owe that priceless moment to dear old Mom.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to call the old girl and tell her I love her, and thank her – not just for her many kindnesses, but for her many mean, tough-love moments as well.

Dear reader, I suggest you do the same.

Michael M. DeWitt, Jr. is the managing editor of The Hampton County Guardian, an award-winning journalist, columnist and outdoor writer who has been published in South Carolina Wildlife, Sporting Classics, and the author of two books.

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