A Band of Brothers

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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My brother, Denny, and I look an awful lot alike. But that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. He’s always looked for the opportunities and challenges of life.
I’ve always been reluctant to take risks.
When I started being recognized from television, people would often mistake him for me..which, I would imagine, became rather annoying.
He’s four years older but usually tells anyone who gets the two of us confused, that I’m not only older than HIM but that I was a bed wetter to the age of 16. (an exaggeration of 3 years..it was actually age13)
 Denny and Doug..all GROWN up.
I don’t know if he was ticked-off because mom had to put a plastic sheet on the bed we shared  but growing up, Denny used to tease and torment me over and above what big brothers are usually prone to do.
My upper arms were always black and blue from his punches.
He fancied himself quite a baseball pitcher and would literally drag me over to the neighbor’s yard to endure the pain of catching his fast ball with my paper-thin glove.
He used to make me ride on the back of my own motorcycle just to scare the snot out of me by leaning the bike from side to side as we weaved down the street at thirty miles an hour.
The louder I screamed for him to stop, the faster he would go.
 
His quick wit and self-confident attitude made him a big hit with everyone in high school except the teachers, of course. But even they had to admire his gift of gab at selling an idea or getting out of a jam.
 
I hated my brother and yet admired and idolized him at the same time.
On more than one occasion, he actually came to my rescue fending off anyone he spotted giving me a hard time. (After all, giving me a hard time was HIS job)
Whether it was  playing golf, shooting pool or shooting the breeze, I wanted to be just as good as him but never came close.
 
He used to push our parents’ patience pretty hard too yet the only time I ever saw my tough old man cry was the day Denny left for the Air Force right out of high school.
Those four years mellowed him a lot and although he still liked to tease and make me feel like a klutz, we grew closer as brothers. He even got me out of my dirty job at the local grain elevator and hired on with his company where I could wear a suit and tie instead of dusty blue jeans.
 
Tragedy often brings families closer together. That was certainly true when our parents died… dad in 1977, mom 18 years later.
It was Denny and especially his extraordinarily kind-hearted wife, Judy who took mom into their home when she needed full-time care.
We grew even tighter eight years ago, when our younger brother, Tom, nearly died from a brain aneurism.
Then last night, Denny, who has been taking medication for an irregular heart rhythm,  found himself down on the kitchen floor..experiencing a numbness on his right side.
Judy called the ambulance and a short while later, called us.
On the way to the emergency room both Linda and I were once again offering up prayers for a miracle.
It worked for Tom who made a 100 percent recovery.
Would it be too much to ask for Denny too?
Apparently not.
When we arrived, Denny was wide awake, alert and joking around.
There was no paralysis on his right side and a scan showed no signs of bleeding in the brain.
The doctor says it was a mild stroke and after a battery of tests, he hopes to know the precise cause and how to best treat it.
I want them to find it fast and fix it.
 
I’d even be willing to play hardball catch or ride with him on the back of a motorcycle again if it would help.

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