COLUMN: Love at first sight for Pat and Lou Brown

Published 7:30 am Sunday, February 11, 2024

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I thoroughly enjoyed a visit with an elderly couple 30 years ago and hearing them share about how they met, married and spent their lives together. The couple is celebrating the joys of heaven together now.

I visited them once again a couple of years ago when I found an old cassette tape of our conversation. Listening to the voices of Pat and Lou Brown brought back special memories. Over 30 years ago, my mother-in-law, Marie White, took me to the Brown farm in southern Covington County just before Valentine’s Day.

Mr. Pat and Mis’ Lou celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary in 1982. For the two of them, it was love at first sight. Mis’ Lou graduated from Opp High School in 1918 and went on to complete a course of study at Troy Teacher’s College in 1920.

She was among three young women chosen from hundreds of applicants to teach school in a Cajun community near Mobile under the Southern Baptist Missionary Board. The women took turns traveling horseback 11 miles into the nearest town to pick up the mail. One summer day in 1923, Lou rode up to the sawmill town’s commissary.

She saw Pat sitting in a rocker reading the Mobile Register. “The minute I laid my eyes on him, I knew I would marry that man.” Lou recalled telling the other teachers that she didn’t know his name, but she he was the one she was going to marry. In the spring of 1924, one of the other teachers had date with a young man who asked his friend, Pat Brown, to come along because Pat had a car.

“When Pat walked in the door, I just purely nearly fainted…. I knew the Lord sent him and in two weeks we were married.” She remembered they went to Mobile and a federal judge tied the knot. The couple eventually bought a house and 420 acres where they raised seven children in the Beda / Pleasant Home community.

The day of our visit, I was a newlywed of barely three years compared to the Brown’s marriage of 57 years. So I asked for their advice on the subject. Lou and her “precious darling,” or “my Love,” as she called him, had experienced the joys and sorrows through years of hard times, hard work and lasting love.

A marriage founded on Bible principles is the secret to a happy life, according to Lou, and communication between a man and wife means “everything.” Mis’ Lou wrote regular newspaper column called “My Country Roads,” some of which were published in a book by that title in 1979.

She wrote about husbands being described as the presidents and their wives as vice presidents. “It’s plain that the vice president is two or three button holes lower than the president, especially if the vice president is a conservative and plain spoken.”

Miz’ Lou added, “I’ve had to eat crow and beg forgiveness so many times in my married life that it’s easy for me to fall on my knees and say, ‘forgive me.” She mentioned Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”

Her words of wisdom speak timeless truth. I’m grateful for the opportunity to get to know Pat and Lou!

— Jan White has compiled a collection of her columns in her book, “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”