This post is published with the modest expectation that readers have the capacity to recognize foolish behavior and determine not to follow the examples described. As I do qualify in the body of the narrative, I preemptively point out that, as a future pastor, I was blameless.
The primary way that the New Testament describes the relationship between Christians is that we are brothers and sisters.
I’m the second of six children (Shelley, Chris, Mary Dawn, Danny, Rusty, and Erin) so I can work with brother/sister imagery. In the picture to the right I am in the back row next to my sister Mary Dawn. From left to right in the front are Danny (the protagonist in many Brauns stories), Shelley, Rusty (the guy who made the shot), and Erin.
I remember launching water balloons off the roof of our farmhouse at my sister’s first date. We also stole the same guy’s hubcaps. He was a champion sprinter but I had a motorcycle.
My brother, Rusty, once shot my brother Danny in the eyebrow with a BB gun. Danny was looking out of a knothole in the barn when Rusty shot him. Fortunately, Rusty was a little off center and Rusty plunked him in the eyebrow. Ideally, little boys with bbs lodged in their face seek medical attention, but my brothers feared our mother more than infection. The BB stayed put. Years later, a surgeon removed it when Danny was getting medical attention for reasons which involve another story.
In Rusty’s defense, he only shot Danny after Danny violated an agreed upon rule of BB gun fights. We had our own version of the Geneva Convention and war crimes were discouraged.
As a future pastor, I stayed away from the violent part of things. I was most often the voice of reason. And I don’t remember my sister Mary Dawn getting stung with a BB in the same way she does. Though, I do remember her really accelerating after she got hit.
Danny has the leading role in many of the Brauns sibling-stories. Depending on how you look at, he was behind the wheel when two of my sister’s cars went to the happy hunting ground. Danny was driving Shelley’s Chrysler Cordoba when it caught fire and burned in Bonaparte, IA. He had previously taken her Mercury into a tree in the state park. Strictly speaking, Danny wasn’t totally responsible for this car because Mary Dawn had previously wounded it when she plowed through a mailbox. Danny was with her at the time and to this day no one knows quite what happened. The mailbox, for the record, was on the opposite side of the road.
One year Mary Dawn was cutting down sweet corn when Danny tried to show her how he could disarm her of the knife. You know where this story is going. His hand was cut bad enough that he had to go to the hospital. Mary Dawn was too traumatized to drive, so Danny had to drive which might have been okay if (a) he was not losing blood at the time and (b) he was old enough to have a driver’s license.
Danny didn’t always drive himself to the emergency room. Mom drove when they pumped his stomach.
Danny was also present when I became violently ill with appendicitis while we were sledding. We were in the pasture at the time, a good walk from home, and there was nothing to do but for my brothers to pull me home on one of the sleds. They made it about 20 yards before they decided it wasn’t worth it and left me in the snow, at which time I figured out that I had the strength to walk home. My sickness meant a delay in Shelley getting her braces off so she accused me of faking, but I was gloriously vindicated when they did surgery.
The Brauns siblings get together fairly often. Brothers and sisters stick together, BB gun fights and wrecked cars notwithstanding.