The Hanging Tree!
By Daniel L Keith
Just one of the many things I had to endure as a child.
The Hanging Tree
When I was 10 or 11, one day my Dad came home drunk as usual. At first he seemed to be in a happy mood, and that was a relief. The house we lived in was a large home, and the property was large as well. There was a house in the backyard that Dad rented out to people who didn't have children, but as I look back the house wasn't big enough for more than two people. We also had two of the largest trees in the neighborhood, and being a kid, I never thought to ask what kind of trees they were. My brothers and me used to love to climb them. It seemed I could stay up there for hours. For some reason or another our dad didn't stay happy for very long. He went out to his car and brought in a gallon of Bali Hai wine. He told us kids, lets go to the back yard, and afraid of what would happen if we disobeyed, we all went. Dad said, look at this, and pulled the jug of wine out of a bag and took a big drink of it. He then passed it around to each of my brothers and our sister. They all took a drink of his wine. I would not take a drink of it, and sure enough, Dad saw me pass the bottle without taking a drink. He looked at me and said, "What the hell is your problem?" Oh, no Dad, I don't have a problem. I started stuttering, "I, I, I just, just don't like it." It's not the taste of it I didn't like, I just didn't want to be like my dad.
By this time he was so mad I thought his eyes were going to pop out. He said, "I don't care if you like it or not, you get that damn bottle and take a drink!" No sir, I will not drink it! My brothers and sister knew, and they said, "Daniel, just drink it." No, no, I will not drink it! My dad said, "You think you're too good to drink with us?" "Fine then, I think I will hang your skinny ass on that tree, what do you think of that?" I was so tired of being beaten and always hungry, then seeing my dad do things to our sister. I can't even mention what a dad would do to his own daughter. I think you probably know what I mean. By now I knew he wasn't bluffing and neither was I. At that time I was young and didn't know the Lord Jesus, but I always believed there was a God. And so, in my young mind, I was thinking, maybe if I died, I could come back as an angel or something like that. I would then be able to help my brothers and our sister some how. I wasn't afraid of dying. So, after thinking of these things, I said, "That sounds good to me." Dad walked to the tool shed and came back with a rope that already had the hangmans noose tied. I have no idea when he did this.
I remember thinking that Dad would most likely bury me in the backyard and would tell everyone that I ran away. I remember seeing dad throwing the rope over a large branch. He then picked me up and put the noose around my neck. I was watching my brothers and sister. They all had tears on their cheeks. I knew my life was almost over. Dad then dropped me and I didn't remember anything until my brother,
David, was slapping my face. That's what made me come to. My dad wasn't there, I don't know where he went. I didn't realize until now that God had other plans for me. Often times we kids would talk about telling the police, but we never went through with it in fear that we would all be placed in different foster homes. All we had was each other. I'm not writing this true story for sympathy. The reason I'm writing this story is because I am worthy of voicing my opinion on this matter, and there is absolutely no excuse for abusing anyone, especially children.
Daniel L Keith
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Short Stories by this author.
Short Stories by this author
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Finding Gold (Tuesday, November 30, 2010)
Necessary Words (Sunday, October 24, 2010)
God Doing What He Does Best (Saturday, September 04, 2010)
In Dreams (Saturday, July 17, 2010)
The Man In the Box (Saturday, August 22, 2009)
Writing My Book (Sunday, July 05, 2009)
Summer of 1967 (Saturday, June 13, 2009)