There may be among you fair readers, one or two who will recall a confessional essay in that first book of mine, Notes from an Old Fly Book in which I write about our being up on the ridge of the range, in the second month of our marriage, now sixty-six years ago, fishing with two of my good angling friends. When, around our small campfire, I began to behave quite badly. Betty would have none of it and, picking up a heavy iron cup, whanged me on the side of the head, leaving me to struggle for consciousness.
My behavior was modified on the instant, and I, at once, became the model husband that I have remained ever since.
Now, so many years later, I occasionally find myself stopped in the street by this or that lady of a certain age who has heard my story and wonders if whacking her husband a good one, as Betty had done, would aid in her marriage problems.
I almost always recommend against it, explaining that the “discipline of the cup” must be administered no later than in the third month of a new marriage-- if any good is to come of it.
I try to explain that deeper into a marriage, whanging does little if any good and is not worth the effort. I advise the ladies to bear up and try to be content with us old husbands who are, generally speaking, a pretty sorry lot—and there not being much anyone can do about it.