Thankful for a brother and miles in the station wagon

Published 10:07 am Wednesday, June 7, 2023

By Les Ferguson, Jr.

My brother is three years younger than me. Physically, he is taller and skinnier. However, I make up for the difference in body shape by being much better-looking than he is.

Trust me. I wouldn’t lie or fudge the truth very much.

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Being three years apart, we were competitive and enjoyed much the same things. Over the years, we have become even closer. I value and love my brother greatly. He is a good man, a good husband, and a good father. And even though he is three years younger, I look up to him in several important ways.

However, we haven’t always seen eye to eye particularly when we were younger – especially when we were on long road trips with the family in our Ford Country Squire station wagon.

Maybe you remember those old tanks. Ours was green and had fake wood paneling on the sides. When that one wore out, we purchased another.

At any rate, those old land boats had rear-facing trundle seats with a back door that could function like a truck tailgate. That function will be very important to the story that follows.

We saw a lot of country in those old wagons – the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Smoky Mountains, West Texas, Carlsbad Caverns, and many other places. We drove back and forth from Texas and Mississippi to Baltimore for many years visiting our maternal grandparents.

For the most part, we were comfortable – if you folded the trundle seats down, you had a flat area to store stuff. Better yet, I liked to lie in the back and read (that was before we knew we had to be in a seat belt or else).

Occasionally we’d get creative and make a sign that said we were being kidnapped to show in the back window. That was always good for the conversation between our parents where dad would say, “Honey, why are people looking at us strange?”

However, when there were three of us in the back seat, you could count on a couple of things: first, a sister would be riding in the middle over the uncomfortable hump; and second, my brother and I would get in a fight with my sister in the middle.

Even though I love my brother dearly, I can say without pause that the fights were almost always his fault – he thought aggravating was an Olympic sport to train for, and of course, he has always been jealous of my superior good looks.

When all was said and done, it was either the signs we made, hurting our sister, or just simply fighting that often resulted in what we called a “highway spanking.” Remember the door that opened like a tailgate? It was perfect for bending over two irascible boys for some good old-fashioned attitude and behavior adjusting!

All with the added benefit of providing entertainment for those who passed by.

I’m glad our parents provided us with love, encouragement, and the rod of correction. I’m glad my brother and I have these memories to share. Family is a blessing – take the time to be a blessing to yours.

“How delightfully good it is when brothers live together in harmony!” (Psalm 133:1 CSB17)

Les Ferguson, Jr., is minister at Oxford Church of Christ. Write to him at