Donny was about seven years old when it happened. That day that would never be forgotten. The day that ended what was perceived to be a lifetime of trouble.
Donny was raised in a small fishing village on the Florida Gulf Coast. This was a place where people didn’t lock their doors. Neighbors knew each other and helped each other. A place where you would call your child for supper and all the neighborhood kids would arrive as well. The youngsters played all over town in that safe haven. A good place with deep roots and hometown pride.
Donny like the other children would play outside. He would ride his bike to the corner market,or drug store and to the Post Office. Yet there was one person in that quiet town who Donnie dreaded. His name was Windel. Windel was a full 8 inches taller than Donny. Windel was long and lanky while little Donny was short and stocky. This bully tormented Donny at every turn, and sent him home bruised and crying more times than a person could keep account. Momma would doctor him and send him on his way back outdoors.
Another morning arrived and along with the rising of the sun, came little Donny on his bicycle. Happily pedaling without a care in the world. He would go to the Post Office for Momma. He rode all the way to main street. Outside the brick building that was his destination, Donny leaned his bright blue bicycle against the wall, and scurried inside.
A line inside made getting Momma’s mail just a bit slower, but finally the Post Mistress smiled down at him and handed him three white envelopes. He thanked the lady and headed back around the side of the building.
His bike was gone. Hot tears welled up into his eyes, and began to slide down his full cheeks. What was he going to do? He shuffled his feet along the sidewalk, as he turned toward home.
“Baby, crying on the sidewalk,” came a taunting voice from behind him, “What’s wrong, cry baby?” Donny turned to see Windel walking toward him. “Go away.” Donny cried wiping his eyes not wanting to be terrorized by Windel today. “Cry baby lost his bike.” Windel crooned. “You took it, didn’t you?” the little one sobbed. “Watch what you say.”the bully warned. “I will tell,” Donny warned, “I will tell my Momma.” Windel ran up behind the smaller child and gave him a shove. Face first the seven year old went plummeting to the sidewalk. He howled in pain from scraped hands, and face lacerations. His knees were chaffed and bloody and stung as he straightened them.
Like a shot Donny bolted towards home, quick to forget about the pain and went as fast as his short chubby legs could take him. Panting for breath he burst through the front door of his home. “Momma,” he called through exhaustion.
Momma appeared from the kitchen wiping her hands, “For God’s sake, Boy, What happened?”She lifted him up and carried him to the bathroom where she could doctor his wounds. “So tell me what happened?” She repeated her question. The little boy tried to talk but was hyperventilating through his anguish. Finally one word became clear: Windel. Momma became overwhelmed. The protection instinct that is motherhood was burning inside her. How to protect her cub while teaching him to stand up for himself.
She took a warm cloth to his face and gently removed the dirt and grime as he had begun to calm down a bit. “Now you listen here to Momma,”she began to instruct stearnly, “You have to stop letting that boy get the best of you.”
Donny took a long deep breath, “But Momma?” “No, don’t but Momma,” she responded with insistence, “Just stop letting him push you around. Stop him. Just…Just…..Boy, just pick up a 2 x 4 and knock him out if you have to. But don’t keep letting him do this to you.”
Donny shook his head. He knew that Windel would be lurking around one corner or another. Now Momma was telling him not to let Windel get him. This would be an impossibility, he thought.
Several days later there were several children playing across the road at a construction sight. Donny was among the crew running and jumping and enjoying the beautiful sunshiny day. Then as if an eclipse covered the sky, Windel entered the scene. Several of the children ran away, but Donny remained.
“Well if it ain’t cry baby, Donny.” Windel chided as he loomed over his target. Donny instinctively turned and ran and his enemy followed him. Don’t let him continue to do this to you. Momma’s words kept going over in Donny’s mind. He would have to show her that he had heard her and that he would not back down from this bully. He stopped running. Windel ran up to him and pushed him by the shoulders down to the ground. And Donny grew angry. He did not say one word, he just slowly arose from his sitting position. He walked a few steps away from the boy near a stack of lumber. Donny lifted a 2 X 4 and held it high. “Windel,” he yelled, “You have pushed me for the last time!” Then he lunged towards the boy, swinging. Windel being naturally taller than Donny easily moved out of the way. He began to dodge and weave and run far enough away that he was completely safe. All the while laughing and gearing. After a while, Donny’s little legs became exhausted, his arms started to quake from the sheer weight of the wood. “Wiiiinnnnnnddddeeeeellllllllll,” Donny yelled, “You better stand still so I can hit you!”
Around and around that construction site they went. People were beginning to stop their work and watch the sight of this little chubby fella trying to catch this tall skinny guy with a large piece of wood. Suddenly, the bully stopped to catch his breath and WHACK! The board made contact with the back of the tormentor’s head and out he went like a light.
Donny’s momma had been watching from across the street and came screaming. “Oh, my Lord, you’ve killed him!” She screeched in fear. Donny dropped the board on the ground beside him and replied calmly, “Bet he won’t bully me no more.”
Windel had a knot on his head but was for all intents and purposes was just fine, but Donny was changed forever that day. He had learned to fight back. Fight with all your might with whatever you can use.
Today we have many resources at our fingertips to help us take control of the bully depression. Be strong like little Donny and fight back with all your might. Help is always a text, email, or a phone call away. Don’t be silent. Get help today. It doesn’t mean you are weak. It means you are smart enough to know you need it.