Brotherly love

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Conservative views

Ponder this: Had Cain not killed Abel, but only walloped him hard enough to necessitate a few stitches, would God still have banished him? Today, it is commonplace for the younger brother to visit the ER for sutures compliments of behavior initiated by his older sibling. Perhaps this same ritual occurs with sisters, but since I only had brothers I will not write of things about which I have no experience. Here is my history on brotherly love.

My brother, Dana, was only 15 months my senior so apparently, I was a foal heat baby. Being of similar age meant actual flesh wounds were rare but Dana perpetually subjected me to his embarrassing performances as class clown. Try as I may, I could never get even. It wasn’t until he became engaged that I spotted the perfect opportunity to balance the score. To meet the family, Dana’s fiancée’s parents were invited to our house for dinner, so I let it be known I was going to hit on his future mother-in-law. She was the wife of a career Army officer, so was more accustomed to formal dinners in the Officers’ Club than rednecks, pizza and beer pong. I announced I planned to wink at her and rub my toes on her leg under the dinning room table. Dana ignored my intentions because he knew I couldn’t do it. Mother, not so much as she always viewed me as an unpredictable work in progress.

The dinner date arrived and when I came home from the hayfields my younger brother, Blaine, my trophy bride and I were seated at a separate table in another room. Dana snickered. Using today’s politically correct standards where one’s race is determined by feelings, I could have screamed racism because Mom’s discriminatory behavior made me feel like a second-class Irishman. Instead, I did nothing. The truth is there is no way I could act as I proposed because my mother and father had pounded proper manners into my psyche and this brings me to my point.

Sibling shenanigans fade with time until eventually your older brother becomes a source of wise counsel. If you live through the early years, the later ones more than make up for the misgivings of adolescence. With the passing of my father last June, Dana is now the patriarch, a title I hope he holds for a very long time.

Krayton Kerns is veterinarian in Laurel, Mont., and a former Republican representative in the Montana State Legislature. He can be reached at drkerns@rbbmt.org .

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