Chapter 27 Harold Brown Memoir – Cancer

I spent over two weeks in the hospital during last Thanksgiving 2012 with what I rated as 9 on a scale of 0-10 back pain. My blood disease was confirmed during that time.

My body was shot from what I supposed was the results of so many drugs and limited use of my body. I did not understand why I would become emotional at the drop of a hat. I thought my life was over and every visitor that came to see me only stood to confirm that thought.

I was being controlled by a depression that I had never experience and thought that only a weak person was susceptible. I know what it was now, but that doesn’t mean that it will not happen again. I will be more prepared to deal with that depression if it should give this person another visit. It has proven to make me stronger.

God is good. He is the giver of only good and perfect gifts. In all thing give thanks. I try. My two children spent a lot of time with me when I was released from the hospital. We spent time talking. Mostly I talked and they listened. I told them stories and they stroked my back and fixed me food. I believe they have a better understanding of who and what their father is about and I have a new appreciation for the adults that my children have become.

Love without questioning. Need without demanding. Want without restrictions. Accept without change. Desire without inhibitions. Love not given is a life wasted.

Some of you make me laugh and others cause my eyes to water. Both emotions inspire me. Keep talking.

I visited my regular oncologist today, Dr. Willis, and I had several questions ready for him. Before that my first nurse looked at my results and asked me, “Do you work out?” Do you know what that does to a male’s ego? I know what it did for me. We spent several minute talking about what I did and what she did. That started my day off with a bang because I really like telling people what I do when they really want to know.

Dr. Willis finished my visit with him by telling me that he had never had a patient with my disease that exercised the way I do. His closing remark was to say, “Listen to your body.” I alway have.

Some of the things my body has told me has been good news and on occasion it has been negative. My last nurse wanted to talk about Ole Miss and how well they are going to do this season in football and basketball. I didn’t have the heart to spoil her day.

My daughter called before I left the doctor’s office. I went to visit her and my grandson. I had some of the best tomato and extras soup that i have ever had. I ate four bowls and would have had more if she had used a bigger pot to fix it. The three of us walked around the golf course and I finished my visit with some vegan ice cream that she made. I was a real pig.

Chapter 26 Harold Brown Memoir – Discipline

Mother must have spent more time than she needed punishing Garvis. He tells stories that she never denied. In fact, she often told him she was sorry when he told about one of his spankings.

Miriam tells of being spanked only once, and upon review, feels that it was deserved. Mother just wanted us to do the right thing.

She told Miriam not to let Grandpaw see her in a pair of shorts. Now, I am not talking about the shorts that exist today, but cut off pants that a country child would wear. Grandpaw was a Baptist minister and had opinions that were important to mother. At least she did not want to offend his puritan taste. Miriam, being the strong willed person that she is, appeared in grandpaw’s presence with the shorts and mother was forced to punish her.

Mother’s disciplinary tactics softened over the years. I got plenty of spankings, but each was well deserved. Did they make me better? Certainly!

Chapter 25 Harold Brown Memoir – Last Trip to Hamburg

The last time I was in Hamburg I asked a policeman where I could get breakfast. He told me. I took a look at the Post Office as I turned to walk toward food. The Post Office was proof that I had been in this town before.

I walked past an empty building that had once been Foot and Son’s Grocery. The five and Ten was gone as was the Ashley County Leader, the old name for the county newspaper.

Van Carpenter’s clothing store was missing and Sawyer’s Drug now sold food but it was not open for breakfast. What’s the point? Walker’s Hardware was empty. Across the street, Hester’s was growing grass instead of fixing hamburgers. Judge Ethridge was no longer practicing law and his office was gone.

The Baptist Church had been replaced with, well, it hadn’t been replaced, it had been upgraded. In its place was an education space. Across the street Mr. and Mrs. Serrett’s house was gone. She hired me to rake her yard one fall but I never finished the task. I would tell you that I was going to do it on this very day but that would not be true. Anyway I couldn’t finish it on this day because I was going to breakfast at the service station across the street from an Icon that let me know that Hamburg was still grounded in its faith. The Methodist Church played a song on the bells that made me smile. Thanks for reminding me that Hamburg is not ashamed of praising God in public.

The breakfast was good. I wondered later what their rating was. I am alive so what difference does it make. The lady that fed me took time to make gravey that didn’t have sausage in it. Try getting that service at The Mac. I decided to give them a 100 rating, so there.

As I moved back toward my ride I passed the building that housed the first job that I remember. Nap Murphy performing for the citizens of Hamburg. He sold gas and also had a tow service. I continued up the street.

I looked left and every thing across the west side of the street was different. The buildings were there but the businesses were different. The old hotel on the east side was now part of Carpenter’s but he was gone, moved to Russellville.

Harvell’s Hamburger joint did not move when the Pool Hall moved down the street. It was also gone. Maybe Hamburg no longer needs a place for kids to hang out. Mothers may not have approved of their sons being there but at least they knew where we were. Right James (Jimmy)? He was not the only one. My mother also chased me out of the hall one afternoon.

I got in my car and within four hours I was headed back to Tennessee. Like Hamburg, Nashville has also changed in the last fourty plus years. Hamburg was a great place to grow up. As they say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Thanks for the memories and for the old friends that still make me want to call Hamburg home.

Chapter 24 Harold Brown Memoir – Others

Big Boy Elizando

B.B. was as much an institution in Hamburg as Dr. E.E. Griever. He was big and brown and covered the area as if it belonged to him. It probably did. We called him B.B. but I think his real name was Big Boy. I am inclined to say he belonged to the Elizando family but it may be closer to the truth to say that they belonged to him. Big Boy was a boxer that never met a stranger.

Raymond Carpenter

Raymond Carpenter and Dr. E. E. Griever were a team when I moved to Hamburg. Mr. Carpenter directed music on Sunday and Wednesday. He never looked in the hymnal for the page number of the song he wanted us to sing. The job that payed the bill for the Carpenter family was with the post office. Inside of Raymond Carpenter was a pastor that wanted to get out. God gives you peace about the work he wants you to do.

When Mr. Carpenter resigned, Mr. Jimmy Linder took his place. He was the prosecuting attorney for the county and Miss Mary said he always wore a red rose when he tried a murder case. She also said that he never lost. Fact or fiction?

Dale Hester

I was sure that I could beat him in the mile so I told him so. Dale Hester said it just wasn’t possible. “Mark the route and I will show you,” I said. Dale did. It wasn’t close. He only beat me by half a mile. I decided that I would make it my life’s project to improve my running skill and then re-issue my challenge. I never did but I often thought about Dale when I was out running. Thanks Dale, for the inspiration you gave me. You were a great neighbor and friend.

Miss Mary

She was as round as she was tall. After class one day she said to me, as everyone else was leaving the classroom, “I know that Billy Ray put that tack in my chair but I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of seeing me jump from my seat.” That was Miss Mary, tough as nails. She passed away a couple of years after we graduated. I don’t know why. I understand that the First Baptist Church was standing room only. A fine tribute to a wonderful lady.

Bobby Chadwick

Bobby Chadwick was an early friend I made on the first grade playground. He was a big boy then but he introduced me to his bigger brother Charles. “If we ever need a person to take care of us, my big brother will look after us.” he told me.

Bobby continued to grow as Charles reached a leveling off point. Bobby moved to Star City for his last years in high school where he played fullback for their football team.

Mr Graham

The girls liked him. He had a winning smile and a disposition full of humor. Mr. Graham was always throwing his plastic vomit for effect. It was used almost as much as his poot cushion. He was always saying, “I’m not getting married until I have to.” That quote got me into a lot of trouble. Mother didn’t see the humor in it.

Sheriff B.A. Courson

He was a tall thin man that protected Ashley County as its sheriff. B.A. Courson survived the Bataan death march that took most of the lives that took part in the long dreadful journey during WWII.

After my brother came back from Korea, Mr. Courson took a liking to him. It was a friendship that my brother always appreciated. His life was cut short when he apparently ran off the road and struck a tree one night. People who influence your life should never be forgotten.

Jimmy Roberts

Someone had cut a large log into four pieces and place then vertically on the ground. Each took its place, proudly forming a square. Two, four by ten, boards connected the corners, creating two benches that controlled a barrel in the middle. That area between Mrs Young’s old white music building and the large brick building that brought us together for physical education.

The building became known as the Smoking Pit. It made prisioners of any student that had permission from their parents to enter the area for a tobacco break. Jimmy Roberts told me one day that he wished he had never started smoking. I didn’t understand and suggested that he discontinue the practice. He suggested, in return, that after eating lunch the craving for tobacco was stronger than his desire to eliminate the habit.

We all have habits that have taken over our lives. Some of these habits are productive and some are not.We move toward our thoughts.

Mrs Myers

Looking around Mrs Myers’ first grade classroom, which was full of pretty girls. I chose the one that I thought was the prettiest and clamed her as my girlfriend. I didn’t dare tell her but did confide in one of my male class mates. He then informed me that she was his girlfriend. I assured him that he was mistaken. He then turned to the female in question as said to her, “You are my girlfriend.” Her response shook me when she said “yes.” As they say, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Miss Essie and Miss Pink

They knew more about what I was doing than I did. Miss Essie and Miss Pink were two silver haired sisters that lived behind the bus station close to the Methodist church.

During the summer mother would assign me to ironing before I came to town. On many of those summer days one or both of the sisters would shout at me, telling everyone that I had been ironing for my mother. I asked mother to stop telling the sisters what I was doing. She did not.

One afternoon they asked me to pick up and deliver a package for them from the post office. Actually mother volenteered my services. I couldn’t believe it, those sweet little ladies were drinking ginger ale!

Miss Essie and Miss Pink did not want me to come back to Hamburg after college. Each of their visits to mother’s beauty shop would find them with information about job opportunities in other cities. Mother sent the information to me at Tech and I in turn would file the information away for later reference. Every job that I considered was a direct results of their imput. Look beyond your own council.

J.W. Hall

Mr. Hall was a man who dedicated his life to making ours better. If foundation means anything, he was our corner stone. I don’t remember seeing him smile very often but that was his way.

He taught me how to drive. He took me to the lake with his family. He taught one of my Sunday School classes. He never let me get away with running to lunch because it was against the rules.

These are just a few of the things that he did for me. There was much more. He was one of many that protected us during WWII. Hamburg honored Mr. J.W. Hall on Monday during Veterans Day. I did not know him as a soldier but only as an educator. Thank you Mr. Hall for being a part of my life.

Chapter 23 Harold Brown Memoir – Doctor Teeter

In every generation there are travel choices that put the traveler in peril. We certainly had our adventures. My late father-in-law told me a story about his free rides. He said that he never shared the adventure with his sons because he was sure that they would consider it okay because their father had done it.

He was a medical student that had to make his own way and working the wheat fields in the mid-west was his summer job. He would ride the rails when the school year was over and then return home the same way. His final trip found the local law looking for a man that fit his discription of a murderer. While he was in jail they found the villan and Dr. Teeter was released. He was a smart man and did not ride the rails again. What we do lives after us.