Mis’ Lou’s words are still inspirational

Published 1:25 am Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sometimes when I need a laugh or crave a bit of inspiration, I know exactly where to go. I turn to my office bookshelf and reach for a book with a well-worn cover, titled “My Country Roads.” I smile as I open it and glance at the author’s scribbled words. They close with, “Nina I love you, I do, I do. Lou.”

The author is the late Lou Brown, a columnist with The Andalusia Star-News for many years. Her hand-written column on lined theme paper turned up in my typesetting box shortly after I joined the Star-News staff. Unfamiliar with Mis’ Lou’s unique writing style, I was a bit flustered as I typed it that first time. In the beginning, I looked upon it as just something else to type. As I grew more familiar with it, I found myself looking forward to its arrival. I also anticipated Mis’ Lou’s brief visits to drop it off at the office. It brought a smile to my face and untold pleasant pictures to mind as she wrote about the wonders of God’s world and the joy this expression of His love brought her.

I treasure the memory of a visit I once paid Mis’ Lou and her charming husband, Mr. Pat. I became so engrossed in our conversation, I almost forgot I was there to interview her. Mr. Pat met me when I arrived to protect me from their “watchdog” goose, Adam. It was known to take nips of human flesh if one were not careful.

We sat in a pleasant glassed-in room where Mis’ Lou must have often found inspiration to write of the changing of the seasons and her observations of plants and various creatures, both wild and domestic. It was obvious she and Mr. Pat, whom she sometimes referred to as “my lord” or “my precious darling,’” cared deeply for each other.

Mr. Pat took me on a tour of the grounds full of scuppernong vines, sprouting day lilies and daffodils. I could imagine Mis’ Lou walking with the big dog Ben beside her, while she exclaimed over the wonders of spring. I saw the kitchen door where she stood one night and “saw a pale moon and an apronful of stars had been slapped against the sky. A happy coolness fell out of the heavens and fanned over the countryside…the cows lay drowsing in the shimmering pasture.”

In another column, she walks in the woods instead of “bathing” the dirty linens left by visiting family because, “My spirit needs the beauty of a gallberry flat aglow with honeysuckles.” And on that same walk she pondered, “Where else could I find more joy and more peace here beneath the budding trees with a pile of fragrant honeysuckles and two loving dogs beside me?” She declares it gave her “a joy unspeakable and a quiet spirit.”

To this day, I am thankful I can turn to Mis’ Lou’s uplifting columns to brighten my day. What a treasure!


Nina Keenam is a retired newspaper reporter.