Andy Thinks


Today’s entry is in honor of Uncle Dan.

We didn’t always call Uncle Dan Uncle Dan.  When we were kids, we referred to him as Danny Joe, or just Danny.

I recall one episode when Danny and I were in the kitchen together.  I was probably about 6 years old, Danny 4.  Mom was somewhere else in the house, probably doing laundry.  I spied a glass of what looked like 7-Up on the counter, immediately to the right of the sink.  Although back then, we didn’t call it a counter, we called it a drainboard.  Why did we call it a drainboard?  Because that’s what Mom called it.  (I just looked up “drainboard” in the dictionary.  It’s not listed.  But “counter” is.)  Anyway, the 7-Up was up against the back of the drainboard, out of my reach.

Now in those days, we didn’t have soda pop in the house.  I had previously tried 7-Up only once before, in a restaurant.  It was definitely something special, and I remembered how cool and sweet and bubbly and good it was.  And I saw that 7-Up up there, and I wanted it.

But was it really 7-Up?  It sure looked like it was.  It was in a clear drinking glass.  It was bubbly.  Tiny bubbles clung to the side of the glass.  Oooh, I wanted it.  But, just to be safe, I sought confirmation from Danny.

Don’t ask me why I considered 4-year old Danny to be an authority on 7-Up.  I think it must have been the way he carried himself.  He had the smug appearance of someone knowledgable about many things.  So I asked him a simple, direct question: “Is that 7-Up?”

In retrospect, of course, it is clear that Danny had no idea what was in that glass.  So there are a few options he could have considered.  The most obvious response would have been to tell the truth, by simply saying “I don’t know.”  Or, he could have offered some helpful advice, like “Let’s ask Mom.”  Or, realizing that his beloved older brother was walking a dangerous path, lusting after a glass of mysterious bubbling potion, he could have played it safe and said “I don’t think so” to deter me from my perilous course.

But instead, he confidently and with sincerity in his voice gave me the answer I so wanted.  “Yes,” he said.

Yes!  Good old Danny, I knew I could depend on him.  And, so as not to disturb Mom, I quickly and quietly climbed to the top of the drainboard, and I took a gulp of that 7-Up.

To this day, I don’t know what poison was in that glass.  Whatever it was, it was bitter and it tasted terrible.  It was the worst tasting stuff I had ever had in my life up to that point (except maybe cauliflower).

I jumped back down to the kitchen floor.  Danny’s authoritative air was now replaced, not with concern, but with laughter.  Clearly Danny needed to be punished.  And since Mom wasn’t there with the Red Stick to exact his punishment, I did what obviously needed to be done.  I slugged Danny in the stomach.

And so, like a thousand times before, and a thousand times since, I was the one to receive the hot end of the Red Stick.

So today, Uncle Dan, on the occasion of your 46th birthday, here’s to you.  Have a 7-Up, on me.

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1 thought on “Danny”

  1. Well first off, happy birthday uncle Dan.
    Do you think it could have been seltzer water? That doesn’t taste very good either…
    And comments on your photo – I do believe I still see that same expression on your face from time to time… not to mention that from pictures I’ve seen of little Jim, Jeff, and Josh, they all look like they could have fit as siblings in that photo next to you and little Danny.

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