Happy Trails…

Aunt Charlie

On Thursday, January 8, I preached the funeral of one of the most wonderful women I’ve ever known – my Aunt Charlie Brown. She embodied the ideals of a Christian Cowgirl, living out her faith in the middle of the south Texas Brush Country. Just a few of her many accomplishments:

  1. Graduated from Texas A&I university, May 1947 as the first woman to graduate with a degree in vocational agriculture.
  2. Named who’s Who among students in American Universities 1947
  3. Began a long career as a teacher 1961
  4. Joined the Methodist church 1950 where she was a Sunday School teacher for 33 years.
  5. Traveled extensively to Europe, Alaska , Costa Rica, etc
  6. Admitted to the National Cowgirl Hall Of Fame 2012

She was tough, and tender. A great role model and, in these latter days, a consummate friend and counselor. She taught me to milk a cow, to twirl a rope (though I never came within a country mile of her ability), and she taught me to tool leather. She tried to teach me math; alas, even Aunt Charlie had limits! But most significantly, she introduced me to the public reading of poetry. I never recovered.

When Kathy, her daughter and a dear friend, asked me to officiate at the funeral and graveside service, I decided to find a cowboy poem that would fit the occasion. I looked and looked, but couldn’t turn up anything that I felt would capture our relationship. I prayed about it and right away the Lord opened my mind to the obvious – write a poem in her honor. So, I did. I didn’t have much time, so it lacks polish. But, like Aunt Charlie told me when I tried to make excuses in class (she was my fifth grade teacher), “Reg, you can do this. Now, let’s hear it.” So, here goes – my small tribute to a woman who changed my life:

“Charlie Brown”

 A nature book she might have been

Leather bound and tooled by hand

Burnished golden cowhide

With a scene of pasture land.

 

She might have been a river

Coursing through the brush

Always moving, steady on –

Though never in a rush.

 

Aunt Charlie could have been an oak

Her branches spreading far

To welcome children who would climb

To reach a distant star.

 

Or maybe something quite precise

A tool for number sense!

Mathematical, numerical

A slide rule based on tens.

 

But my Aunt Charlie was much more

Than verses can express.

She outrode men, she twirled a rope,

And did it in a dress!

 

She loved the Lord and served Him well

Though shallow of breath and frail

NOW she breathes DEEP of heavenly air

And rides a heavenly trail.

 

Now she and Uncle Tige can sing

And cast their victors’ crowns

Before the throne of Him who loves

Our blessed Charlie Brown.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Happy Trails…

  1. Reg,

    This was a beautiful tribute to Mrs. Brown. I had no idea or at the very least had somehow forgotten that she was your aunt. Like you, I had her for a fifth grade teacher and she was a remarkable individual with an obvious love for her profession and the students that she taught. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Hi Gary,
      Being back in GW brought back so many fond memories. I was able to touch base with some folks I hadn’t seen since 1971. Many of them rekindled memories that had lain for a long time on the ash heap. I’ve heard from even more via the Internet. If you ever find yourself in my neck of the woods (we are in Garland) give me a holler and we’ll catch up.

  2. Reg,

    I was at funeral and graveside and cannot describe adequately how great of a tribute you gave Charlie. She was my 7th grade teacher, UIL coach and she made a difference in my life as all GW students that had the privilege of crossing her path. I will miss her hugs on Sunday mornings. Thanks for sharing.

    Harvey