Sunday, April 05, 2009

Webster Carl Brown
August 29, 1909 – April 5, 1999

Carl Brown is my dad. The ‘Webster’ is from Daniel Webster. I don’t know where the ‘Carl’ came from, but that is the name he went by. He and my mother adopted me when they were in their early forties and I was nine months old. They raised me as an only child.

Only children can be a) intelligent (because they get all the attention), and b) spoiled (see reason for ‘a’). Scratch the first. Consider the second. Growing up spoiled can have one of two effects. It can make you a) selfish, arrogant, and never happy unless you always get your way, or, b) generous, humble, and easy to get along with because you want to treat other people the way you were treated. Whether you are selfish, etc. or generous, etc. is determined by the kind of heart you have. The kind of heart you have is determined by your exposure to the Bible. Success as a parent and success in life is thus inextricably linked to the Bible. I hope that doesn’t surprise anyone.

Back to my dad. If he were reading this, he might say I was rambling. He used to tell me I mumbled, “You’re mumbling, son.” I’ve told my friends where I preach about this (more than once) and they usually say “amen.” Dad had a dry sense of humor. I hope you’re seeing a shadow of that now.

By my clock, as I write this right now, Dad passed from this life exactly 10 years, 2 hours, and 15 minutes ago. This is the tenth anniversary of his death and I thought writing this would help me – and maybe you too.

Dad was an elder in the church, a Bible class teacher, and a very successful businessman. He dreamed of being a farmer. He found a farm when he was in his thirties (I’m not positive about the age) and went to the bank to get the money (which he would have been able to get). Literally, while he was gone to the bank, someone else with money in hand showed up and bought the farm “out from under him.” His life, and my life, would have been drastically and forever changed had he bought that farm. I’m glad he didn’t. I’m not sure I would have met my wife if he had.

Dad’s main traits were his honesty and his humility (which made him really easy to get along with – if you couldn’t get along with Dad, you had some serious issues, and if you were still that way today I doubt your FB friend list would tally very high).

In middle age, Dad had a good friend who was of a very wealthy family. They owned a bank, vast acreages of land, a stash of cash, as one would say, they were “well off.” When the family patriarch passed away, his son came and told Dad that his Daddy had told him that there were three people that he could loan money to without security. Dad had made the list of three. That always meant a lot to me. It was a testimony to Dad’s trustworthiness and it made me want to be like him. People bought insurance from Dad’s agency because they knew they could trust him.

Dad always tried to accommodate people. He would help some of his trucker clients fill out their fuel tax forms because they asked him to. It had nothing to do with their insurance. I still don’t understand why all of my brethren can’t be accommodating and easy to get along with like my dad. Where I’m preaching now, they are that way. But they’re not over our entire brotherhood. Why not?

I miss you every day, Dad. Some nights I dream about you. I’ll see you soon.


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