Don't Shoot the Messenger 01-31-2018


In every family a pecking order is established. While birth order does play a part in the development of this categorization, it is not necessarily the only determination. My brother Andy is a miracle baby, so to speak. I remember sitting on my Mother’s lap as a small child and her telling me I was always going to be the baby because they were unable to have any more. Well anyone that knows my family can appreciate the humor in that statement. Andy arrived six years after myself. He was kind of a cute baby with big blue eyes and a round “Charlie Brown” head. However he soon developed a regal air that set him against his siblings.  Andy could be difficult to deal with. I am not sure if his challenging behavior developed before Layne stuffed his diaper with snow or after, but the gauntlet was thrown. Andy was dubbed Prince Andrew and he made every effort to live up to that title. Andy was responsible for the first time I ever heard my Dad cuss. My Dad had poured cement for the porch and stairs leading to our new home. He had worked all day mixing the cement in an old mixer and transferring the cement in a wheelbarrow. Just as he finished smoothing the last section to perfection Dad stood up to survey his handy work. A kitten trotted across the fresh cement, which wasn’t really an issue but Andy followed, up to his chubby little ankles the entire length of the project. The tapestry of profanity that followed hung blue over the Johnson homestead. The wind ceased to blow and the birds halted their song and my Mother scooped up the toddler before my Dad killed him. Perhaps my Dad held a lingering resentment over the incident because a few weeks later Prince Andrew received a lesson. We were all playing in the dirt piles generated from water line trenches. Layne threw dirt on the Prince and he began to squall and prepared to go tell. Well Layne and I had to think quickly. With the materials we had available we buried Andy, only up to his neck. With him physically restrained we conferred on what to do next. And then we saw Dad driving down the road. It was too late to unbury him so we just pretended the screaming, snotting sibling didn’t exist. My Dad got out of his truck, stepped over Andy and said “Hi kids” and went in the house. We eventually set Andy free. I don’t remember any repercussions from the event but I do know Andy was a little leery of ditches for a while. 

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