Today, I would like to pay tribute to a very special man in our lives. My precious father-in-law, Charles B. Brown, Sr., Popo, who would have been 102 years old today--but he has the joy of celebrating this special day in Heaven. He went to be with his Lord May 9, 2005, at the age 95. What a man he was and what a life he lived.
When I first met Popo, a little over 50 years ago, it was "love at first site"--such a quiet and loving southern gentleman. He accepted me as his future daughter-in-law from the moment I met him and Memo at the airport in Orlando, over Christmas 1962. This was my first introduction to the whole Brown family. From the big hug and huge smile on his face as he greeted me, he won my heart and I knew that I had won his. After all, not just anyone could marry "his son" Charles B. Brown, Jr., and I was a Yankee from Chicago to beat all. Over that holiday, Popo introduced me to grits (which I thought were Cream of Wheat cereal), turnip greens (which I thought was spinach that had gone bad) and hush puppies which I loved but tasted like a northern version of corn fritters without the corn. Yes, this was my Big Debut to becoming a transplanted "Southerner". Charles literally had to translate for me during this visit, because Popo had this slow, southern drawl and I had a bit of trouble understanding it all. But I never had trouble loving this man "of few words" and when he did speak it was like E. F. Hutton--"everyone stopped to listen". He was a man of simple but great wisdom.
Popo loved his wife, daughter, son, his other daughter (me), his grandchildren and his great- grandchildren. At Christmas time, his birthdays and other special occasions, we would always give Popo some "spending money, to keep his pocket warm". He loved this. He would sit on the couch, flatten each bill out, count them and then hand to our son Rob and Popo's banker, for safe keeping until he left to go home. Thus the picture you are seeing below, I believe this was taken on Popo's last Christmas with us. This picture is from an album that our son Charlie, Heather, Conlan and Keegan gave Memo this past Christmas. That is Memo's 97 year old hand holding this album. They were married 68 years when the Lord took Popo home. What a priceless "keeper" this memory is for all of us.
Popo was a wonderful mentor and teacher, in my life. He taught me bait my first hook, with live shrimp. The only shrimp this Northern girl had ever seen were the ones fried to eat and laying on a plate, with french fries and cocktail sauce. He always took time out to find out what was going on in our lives--taking in everything around him but sometimes never speaking a word. But even then he taught me so much by example. He was an incredible Popo (Grandfather) to our grandchildren. He and Memo seldom, if ever, went to the beach for the day or a week-end, that the grandchildren didn't receive that exciting phone call saying, "pack your suitcase, we are headed for the beach, coming to get you!!" He was also Mr. Fix-It, not always quite the professional way, but the "Popo Fix It Way", as we still call it today. We had kidded that Popo went to Heaven with duct tape in one hand and WD40 in the other--probably to do some work on the "Pearly Gates"- the Popo way.
We miss you every day but would not want you back--we know that you are too busy helping out in Heaven and enjoying the presence of your Precious Lord and Savior. But I want to say to you Popo, thanks for accepting me just like I was, loving me more than any father could love a "daughter" and blessing me with your life. We could write volumes on this man who said very little but spoke so much through his life. Thanks for the "Memories", Popo, always your Lynne