My brother Gary is four years younger than me. He turned 68 years old this month. When I think of all the things I did to him, it's a wonder he made it past childhood. So here and now I would like to say I'm sorry for the following childhood incidents . . .
I am sorry about swatting that rock at you with my baseball hat, and it chipped your front tooth off . . . OOPS!
I am sorry about that time I was trying to scare you by shooting a B-B gun over your head, and I accidentally shot you in the chest . . . OOPS!
I am sorry about the time I was trying to teach you how to ride a bike, and I caused you to swerve into a barbed wire fence...and I am really sorry that Dad poured turpentine on the cuts as I held you down and you were screaming . . . OOPS!
I am sorry about the time I found a dead mouse in our bed, held it in front of you, and chased you from the bedroom...and you missed the first step and tumbled down the stairs, hit the door . . . laying there and screaming in pain . . . OOPS!
I am sorry I made you play "strip basketball" one winter when there was snow on the ground . . . and you had to shoot baskets only in your underwear . . . OOPS!
I am sorry I threw a fastball to you while we were playing catch in the driveway, and I hit you in the mouth and called you "butterfingers" . . . OOPS!
I am sorry I laughed and threw dirt clods at your bare legs back in the field and made you cry . . . OOPS!
I am sorry I ran over you with the old Dodge truck and got you all scratched up, but at least the tire did not roll over you . . . OOPS!
Now, I must ask these questions.
Gary, are you sorry you threw a large rock at me, hit me in the back of the head, and knocked me unconscious . . . and you laughed when Dad told me to lay still or my brains may leak out? OOPS!
Gary, are you sorry that as we were playing hide and seek, you stood behind me while I was seated . . . and you "relieved" yourself on top of my head as I was counting to 100? OOPS!
Gary, are you sorry that while we were loading ear corn with shovels one afternoon, we ran into a nest of rats...and you hightailed it...leaving me to load the entire truck...and you tried to use that excuse for not helping every time after that?....OOPS!
Gary, are you sorry that afternoon when Dad had us lined up side by side to administer a paddling because of something we did . . . that I received a "whack" . . . but you took off running and hid back in the woods . . . and never got your "whack"? OOPS!
Gary, are you sorry that you had me make a big list of presents that we wanted for Christmas . . . and told me that if we were good, we would receive all of them . . . and then on Christmas morning, you received toys and a Roy Rogers lunchbox, and all I received was a weird-looking shirt, a baseball, and a tube of Brylcreem hair dressing? OOPS!
Well, I guess I'm sorry . . . IF you are sorry . . . But we both survived!

John "Butch" Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 30 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history.