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:
- Graduated from Texas A&I university, May 1947 as the first woman to graduate with a degree in vocational agriculture.
- Named who’s Who among students in American Universities 1947
- Began a long career as a teacher 1961
- Joined the Methodist church 1950 where she was a Sunday School teacher for 33 years.
- Traveled extensively to Europe, Alaska , Costa Rica, etc
- 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:
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!
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.