The Left-Handed Smoke Shifter

The Boy Scouts have some strange ways of welcoming in “cubbies” and newbies. My troop was no exception.

Just like any club-like group, the older and more seasoned members have a distinct advantage when it comes hazing-like traditions and techniques. These “veterans” also had the privileges and status of some sort of secret society.

My older brother John was one of the select few and he gained a bit of distinction and respect from his peers in this manner.

You can imagine his predicament when faced with a situation where I came into camp and he had the choice to play along with his buddies or surrender to his older-brother instincts and protect me from the humiliation of searching the woods for the valued “left-handed-smoke shifter.”

Hey, it sounded legit to this 10 year-old.

The older guys described it in some detail. When you’re a junior partner in anything, you are so proud to get even the smallest assignment that might help you work your way up the social ladder.

Seeing I had taken the bait hook, line and sinker, my older brother stepped in to the rescue.

He might as well have said, “Bob, there is no such thing as Santa Claus.” He did say something like, “Don’t listen to these guys - they are only messing around with you.”

It went from a cherished junior-partner assignment to an eye-opener for gullible me. I was a little embarrassed and relieved at the same time that I had an advocate - one who chose his little brother over appearing cool to his peers.

PORTAL TO HEAVEN: God rescues us from many fool's-errand assignments and uses certain people to be our protectors. It is a portal in two ways in that we see His rescue at the same time He reveals who it is that is trying to make a fool out of us.

am I my brother’s keeper?…no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother…a brother is born for a time of adversity

[God]You are my defender and protector; I put my hope in your promise…

Genesis 4:9 NIV, 1 Thessalonians 4:6 NIV, Proverbs 17:7 NIV, Psalm 119:114 GNT. Editor’s bracket


God has stepped into the ring for me so many times Bob ! The one though that is Most memorable is when he took a football injury and A college alcoholic And pursued me through my present wife Susan!

Frank Wray, Delmar, NY



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