Tag Archive | Danny

Sibling Rivalry – We’re at it Again!

Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way.  [Pamela Dugdale]

Danny and me a long time ago

Danny and me a long time ago

My brother Danny was almost two years old when I was born. According to our mom’s notes in my baby book, Danny’s first reaction to me was “pretty baby Marian” as he watched me sleeping in my crib. His next recorded comment was an exasperated, “Marian cries so loud I can’t think!” We’ve had a love-hate relationship ever since – for the past 65 years. I agree with Anna Quindlan when she says, “There is a little boy inside the man who is my brother… Oh, how I hated that little boy. And how I love him too.”

Danny Marrian Kittens

When we couldn’t get along, our cats were our friends.

As little kids, we played together – baseball, football, croquet, cowboys and Indians, Monopoly, and on very rare occasions – maybe once or twice in our whole childhood – we played with dolls. We worked together – feeding calves, gathering eggs, baling hay, washing and drying dishes, and whatever other chores Mom and Dad gave us to do. And almost every day we got into a fight over something – such as which story book Mom should read to us before bed, or whether or not the other person had done their fair share of the work we were jointly responsible for doing. Sometimes the fights were simply words and looks. Other times we’d hit each other. I was usually better at word fights. Danny was better at hitting. Fortunately, our anger at each other never lasted longer than a few minutes.

Danny and Marian - teenagers

Our teen years were not our best.

As we got older, we fought less, but we played together less, too. In grade school, I had become the studious little girl who got straight A’s, and Danny had become the boy who was interested in construction and mechanical challenges, and had little interest in books. If we passed each other in the hallway, Danny would look the other way rather than acknowledge that he knew me. I was an embarrassment to him. I guess the feeling was pretty mutual. The closest friendly thing I remember doing for Danny in high school was type a book report that his girlfriend had written for him so he would pass English.

We lived through those awkward years. When I graduated from college, Danny and his wife (who had written the book report) and their 3-year-old daughter helped me move from Wisconsin to Connecticut for my first job as an English teacher. From then on, we learned to relate to each other as adults, mostly.

Family Portrait - early 1960s

Family Portrait – early 1960s

I still love Danny, and I know he loves me, but we’re fighting again. He’s become the conservative, and I’ve become the liberal. Usually, we can avoid topics where we strongly disagree. But that wasn’t possible last weekend. A friend of ours held a wedding reception in her home for Mim and me. Our friend wanted to provide an opportunity for my family and a few close friends around Cambridge to celebrate our happiness. Although Danny has treated Mim as extended family for the forty years we have been together, he refused to come to our wedding reception because he doesn’t approve of same-sex marriage. That hurt me just as much as all those childhood punches. I’m sure our mom and dad are looking down from heaven and saying, “Won’t those kids ever stop fighting!”

No, I don’t think we will. We’re both human, and I’m sure we’ll both hurt each other, and forgive each other, until we die. “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” [Desmond Tutu]

Danny remodeled our old farmhouse into the perfect house for Mim and me. He also built swinging doors to help us keep guests out of the kitchen when Mim and I had a B&B.

Danny remodeled our old farmhouse into the perfect house for Mim and me in 1992. Later he built swinging doors to help us keep guests out of the kitchen when Mim and I turned the farmhouse into a bed and breakfast.

Another Talk with Abbey

Abbey-Marian

Late Sunday morning, after I got home from church, I was sitting in the La-Z-Boy in my office reading the newspaper. Abbey came up to me and sat down. I could tell by the look on her face that she wanted to talk. She started by asking me about church.

“Mom, how did the music go in church this morning? I know you played one of my favorite songs for the prelude, ‘God Will Take Care of You.’ I heard you practicing it.”

I replied with, “It’s funny you should ask, Abbey. Before church started Pastor Jeff asked me if I was going to play that song today. He thought he had heard me practicing it when I was in church on Friday. When I told him that song would be part of the prelude, he said that was quite a coincidence. That’s the song he was going to sing in his sermon. I told him it’s more surprising that we don’t have these ‘coincidences’ more often, since we both are studying the same Scriptures as we select our music for the service.”

Abbey responded, “Oh, that’s no coincidence, Mom. God obviously wanted the people in church to think about the words of that wonderful old hymn today.”

GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU
(Words: Civilla D. Martin, Music: W. Stillman Martin, 1904)

Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

Refrain:
God will take care of you.
Thru every day, o’er all the way,
He will take care of you;
God will take care of you.

Thru days of toil, when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.
Refrain

All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.
Refrain

No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
God will take care of you.
Refrain

Dan and the dogs out for a ride. Holly on right. Sadie in background.

My brother Danny and the dogs out for a ride. Holly on right.

Abbey continued, “You know, Mom, I’m so glad you practiced that hymn all last week. That song has been on my mind ever since my cousin Holly was in an accident last Sunday and taken to the Emergency Animal Hospital in Madison. I know God takes care of us dogs, too. I really hoped that God would heal her body, but I guess God thought it was time for her to go to heaven instead.”

“You’re right, Abbey. We all love Holly so much. She has been an angel on earth for twelve years. Now it’s time for her to be an angel in heaven.”

“I guess so. But I’ll sure miss her.”

All the dogs get excited when Danny takes his recumbent bike out for a ride.

All the dogs get excited when Danny takes his recumbent bike out for a ride.

Abbey was quiet for a few minutes, obviously thinking deeply. Then she said, “That song is on my mind as I think about Uncle Dan, too. It’s been almost two months since he was diagnosed with leukemia. Even though it’s the “good” kind of leukemia, he’s really gotten sick from the chemo pill he takes every day. And then last Monday, he had to go to the hospital, too.”

“As the song says, Abbey, we can trust that God will take care of Uncle Dan, too. He’s got a team of some of the best doctors working together to make him better. He’s been accepted into a research study at the University of Wisconsin, which will give him the best, top priority, treatment possible. We certainly can be thankful for that. I think he might even be able to come home from the hospital early this week.”

"Sisters" - Holly and Sadie.

“Sisters” – Holly and Sadie.

“Oh, good! Cousin Sadie has been so lonely. First, her sister Holly left her. Then her mom and dad disappeared. She’ll be so happy to have them home again. Aunt Linda has been staying with Uncle Dan in the hospital, so it’s really been lonely for Sadie. I’ve been telling her about this comforting song all week. I wish I could sing it to her, but I don’t have much of a singing voice, so I’ve just been sending her the thoughts.”

God will take care of you.
Thru every day, o’er all the way,
He will take care of you;
God will take care of you.

“Those thoughts are good ones for all of us to keep in mind, all the time, Abbey. I’m glad we have that song to remind us that God loves us and is always with us.”

“Me, too, Mom. Can you keep playing it on the piano this week? Whenever I hear the tune, the words come to mind, and it feels just like I’m getting a hug from God.”

“I’ll remember that. I’ll keep playing the song and feel God hugging me, too.”

Abbey getting a big double hug

Abbey getting a big double hug from her two moms.

My Brother Danny

Danny and me a long time ago

My brother and me a long time ago

I have a brother who is two years older than me. He’ll be 67 on September 11. (His birthday is the event I prefer to associate with that date.) To me, and to most of his friends and relatives that have known him since childhood, his name is Danny. To his wife, and to friends that first met him as an adult, his name is Dan. Legally, his name is Daniel, but I don’t know of anyone who calls him that.

My big brother as a baby being held my Mom

My big brother as a baby being held my Mom

I sometimes wonder why my parents gave him the name Daniel. I remember my mom said she really liked the name Danny, but she didn’t like the name Dan. I also know she liked the song “Danny Boy” – even though there wasn’t a drop of Irish blood in her – it was all Norwegian. I wonder if she named her only son for the song, or for the Bible character Daniel.

I knew the story about Daniel in the lion’s den, and something about some writing on a wall, but I didn’t know much else about Daniel in the Bible. One of the daily devotionals I’m reading this year is Designed for Devotion: a 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation by Dianne Neal Matthews. On July 10, I started reading about the book of Daniel. I’ll have to admit, I’ve peeked ahead through July 18 to read everything she says about Daniel. I’ve learned that when Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem in 605 BC, he captured the most impressive young men and brought them back with him to Babylon to indoctrinate them and then place them in prominent positions in his court.

Daniel was one of the young men captured. Despite living the next 70 years in a culture that worshiped idols and promoted a very luxurious lifestyle, Daniel remained faithful to God.  Daniel trusted that, no matter what happened, God was in complete control. God’s plan would be accomplished for Daniel’s life, for the Jewish people, and for the world at large. For thousands of years, Daniel’s courage, integrity, and commitment to prayer have been an inspiration to generation after generation.

Maybe that’s why my parents gave my brother the name Daniel. They wanted him to have the same courage, integrity, and commitment to prayer that the Biblical Daniel had. And they wanted him to be an inspiration for future generations of our own family. Maybe.

Don’t feel that I’m putting any pressure on you, Danny!

Danny was always ready for a big job!

Danny was always ready for a big job!