The simple things give us much joy

Published 7:30 am Saturday, August 13, 2022

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They inspire me. They make me laugh. They remind me of God’s wonders. After a desperate search through the bookcases in my office,  “My Country Roads” was missing. I needed that collection of newspaper columns by the late Lou Brown. The inspiration for my own weekly column had somehow hidden itself in a dark corner. When that happens, I reach for that magical prescription filled with Miss Lou’s words of wisdom and wit. In case you don’t recognize the name, Miss Lou was a long time columnist for The Andalusia Star News.

The first time I saw her columns, I was not impressed. They were not in print under her Country Roads column head, but scribbled in pencil on theme paper. The columns landed in the copy box where I set type at The Star News and her scribbling was a challenge to read. “Who is this person?” I asked anyone in range of hearing and pondered over a word or two I had never heard before. One of them was “sistern,” meaning sisters.

As time passed, I sometimes chatted with her on the telephone. One day she sent her husband, Mr. Pat, often referred to as her “Precious darlin’,” to me with a note. She said it had been a while since the newspaper mailed her “snuff money” for the column and requested I tactfully inquire about it for her.

I finally found my autographed book buried under several others on top of one of my short bookcases. Opening it to the well-worn page one, one of her prescriptions jumped out at me. There she described a dream where she was suddenly standing before the newspaper’s subscribers who expected her to serve them and the newspaper editor who demanded she do just that. She asked them a question: “Would you like a dish of October’s blue skies, seasoned with goldenrod and blue daisies?” She was surprised when they accepted.

I always appreciated Miss Lou’s talent for painting her words. For example, she wrote: A pale moon and an apron full of stars had been slapped against the sky. A nippy coldness fell out of the heavens and fanned over the countryside. The moon and stars outlined the pecan trees in silver and poured down a fortune in silver dust all over the pasture grass.” Who else, I asked could imply that God “slapped the moon against the sky” and still hold so much reverence for their heavenly father in the saying.

One day I visited the Browns at their comfortable home with a rambling porch. I found Miss Lou shelling butterbeans. As I looked around the yard at the bushes, shrubs and multitude of flowers and the woods beyond, I could imagine Miss Lou tramping through the woods with her dogs that she referred to as the Fidos, or sitting on the steps watching bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Yes, it was easy to believe Miss Lou did sometimes eat her breakfast on her doorstep so she wouldn’t miss any of God’s miracles of nature.

She once wrote that having such a big washing that she hung clothes out by the light of a full moon. She also told of leaving an evening worship service, asking that she not forget the joy of that night.

I found my prescription. It reminded me that, as Miss Lou said, it is the simple things of life that give us much joy.