W. L. Brown

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In the summer of 1951, when I was 13, I was staying a week with my grandmother on Patrick Street. Playing outside one day, I heard funny noises coming from an open window across the street. I wandered over and saw a man next to the window in front of what turned out to be a ham shortwave radio.

What's that? I asked. He said, "well, come on in and find out." Thus began my friendship with "Brownie," W4SIY (later, K5FL). I spend the next year under his tutelage and passed the FCC exam for my Novice license in June, 1952, W4WDZ.

For the next four years it seemed that I spent as much time with Brownie and his wife, Joy, as I did elsewhere. His influence on me was extensive. I loved him.

He died 30 November 2005 in Denton, Texas, at the age of 94. A few weeks before his death, his pastor and friend, Tommy Nelson, pastor of the Denton Bible Church, wrote this poem about Brownie.

WL Brown

By Tommy Nelson 

Old, crusty, weathered
Old scarred up, beaten up, used up
Worn out old man
WL Brown

Loved a wife and son and daughter and their seed
And God and country and church and the right….and Patton
…..and me.
94 years now…..loved us all, WL Brown

Pulled his duty, buried his daughter and still born granddaughter
And sent his boy to Nam….because he ought.
Sat quiet each Sunday…in his pew….listening with little boy eyes
Gave and tithed and supported…because he ought.
Quiet behind those old eyes God beat cadence….never a misstep
Old WL Brown

Each one who crossed his bow met with delighted jocularity
The good man’s concession to all….the tipping of his hat to any fellow traveler.
Should conversation drift to things of truth –
That old eye fixed upon you fast…and narrowed….like cross hairs
And that old voice took on martial timber. Best you line up right
With old WL Brown

Momma named him “WL.” Didn’t stand for anything---just the man—
He made it stand for something.
Did all that was asked…did it right…”t”s and “i”s
Because he ought

Merely gazed with contempt on the fast rising, pervert, rebel world,
Unworthy. It was but of perfunctory scorn beneath regal eyes.
Beneath a regal presence
Of old WL Brown

His final duty now. He waits. Faithful, trusting, uncomplaining.
I visit and feel those old familiar arms…and stubble….and kiss
knowing that soon they shall be part of my deepest treasures, and he my deepest longing. All that is gold may not glitter
Old WL Brown

 Copyright 2005 by Tommy Nelson


This page last edited: June 25, 2008 Copyright© 2006 by Lynn Hopewell.