Thursday, February 27, 2020

a feeling of emptiness now without him here

Paul Brown

a friendly smile,
a firm hand,
an engaging eye,
one of a Bunch of Guys,

a draft counselor who helped me
reason out my options as to Vietnam,
the Big Muddy where country pushed on
and so many of our generation were lost,

Paul and Julia upstairs from us on West Club Boulevard,
we share a news break of a child on the way to us,
and they reciprocate with the same news for them:
our Aaron and their Arlo inseparable as toddlers,

years turn to decades:
Paul visits with my mother in Gatlinburg,
serving as accomplice to her political tilting,
those windmills out there all needing
the right political stance,
and getting it from her, and from Paul,
his whole life,

Paul called to helping people with his social work degree:
“All those Type A folks at Duke Hospital need a Type B like me,”
maybe his family’s Georgia roots
helping him slow down and sit a spell,

his love for rod and reel:
“Time spent fishing is not counted against one’s allotted life-span,”

hiking with our big group up Mt. LeConte,
even once adding a few miles by starting at the Cabin rather than trailhead,
he didn’t get around to being ready till all the rides were gone,

religiously attending our pig-pickings,
which he’d call “the one event on my social calendar,”

devoted to grandparent, to parent, to child, to grandchild,

Paul was one of those rare individuals
who was so true to self
that his life had a clarity to its sound,
a profundity to its meaning,
a feeling of being at home when with him,

a feeling of emptiness now without him here.

Image courtesy of Halll-Wynne Funeral Home

by Henry H. Walker
February 27, ‘20

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