Oh Brother, Who Art Thou?

History and literature are full of intriguing stories of babies being switched at birth. It’s usually the story of a poor fellow finding out he’s really the son of a rich family, or even royalty…and vice versa. Mark Twain kicked it up a notch in his story “Pudd’nhead Wilson”, where a white baby and a black baby were switched, with both passing for members of the other’s race.

Babies being switched at birth – that just doesn’t really happen much in modern society. Hospitals go to great lengths to document which baby goes with which mommy. I think it’s to avoid getting sued. Having said that let me say…I’m pretty sure my brother was switched at birth!


Andy-ites, we’re called. We recognize one another… I’m not permitted to tell you how. I will say there’s a handshake involved...

Why do I say that? Well, all my life I was called Opie. The reason for that is because I resembled Ronnie Howard, who played the role of Opie Taylor, the fictional son of fictional Sheriff Andy Taylor, of the fictional town of Mayberry. Ron Howard (he goes by Ron now) was born in Duncan, Oklahoma in 1954. My brother Joe was born in Duncan, Oklahoma in 1954. Ron Howard resembles me. I resemble my dad…ergo Ron Howard resembles my dad. My brother Joe does not bear resemblance to my dad…well, not as much as me and my real brother, Ron. Ron and I have the red hair and the freckles. Joe has black hair. Now that I think about it, Ron’s little brother, Clint Howard has black hair, or at least he did when he had hair. And Joe kind of resembles Clint (except not nearly as scary looking). How much more proof do we need?!

Granted, Ron was born on March 1, whereas Joe was born on July 10. But that’s only 4 months and 10 days difference. Perhaps Joe’s real mom took him in for his 4 month and 10 day checkup, and then, in her haste to get home and catch the latest movie about babies being switched at birth, she accidentally grabbed the wrong kid. See, they didn’t have VCRs back then.

I would like to tell you here and now that “The Andy Griffith Show” is my wife’s favorite program. That’s what I’d like to tell you. The truth is - she can’t stand it. But it is my favorite program. And, like the Shriners or the Skull and Crossbones, many are the followers of “The Society of Mayberry”. Andy-ites, we’re called. We recognize one another… I’m not permitted to tell you how. I will say there’s a handshake involved. The reason this is relevant is because, like me, Ron is an Andy-ite. Joe may claim to be an Andy-ite, but he doesn’t know the handshake. I think he might actually be a Barney-ite, or even an Otis-ite.

But mom and dad did take him in and raise him as their own. Perhaps it was to save 4 months and 10 days of diapers. After all, money was tight for mom and dad. But I will say this - Joe and I grew up together, and we love each other as brothers would. So maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he really is my “blood” brother. But if you don’t mind, I’ll wait for the DNA results. In the mean time…Ron – I’m here for you if you need me, “Bro”!

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