All posts tagged: Tom Brown

The More Things Change…1998 to 2017

My father loved to read Molly Ivins.  Her brand of populist liberalism, her concern for the powerless, her razor-sharp wit were all right up his alley.  As a New Deal Democrat, Daddy didn’t have much sympathy for corporate-backed, hypocritical, poll-watching politicians. So when I went to my father’s house earlier this year to help clear out his library, I brought home the four Ivins books he had at the time plus a biography of the Texas firebrand.  Daddy had almost all of Ivins’ works, but some he had given away.  (He once gave me a copy of one of her books that he said he had purchased at the remainder table at the local bookstore, only to come home and find out he already had two copies of the same book.) I was looking for a quick and lively read a few days ago after working through a couple of more difficult offerings, and pulled You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You off the bookshelf.  This is Ivins’ 1998 take on the Clinton …

Top Posts of 2016 (Family and Friends Edition)

I’m lucky to have patient readers of More to Come… as the blog (like my mind) is often all over the place. In looking back over posts from the past year, I decided to highlight the top ten (in terms of views) in a “family and friends” edition, to be followed tomorrow by a “whatever else tickles my fancy” edition, where I’ll catch the posts that don’t directly relate to family members. Unfortunately, many of the top family posts this year related to death and loss. There were so many losses this year (both family and others who felt like family) that I added a Rest In Peace category to the blog. I’m grateful for the notes and comments these musings brought, but like so many readers I still miss the people who are no longer with us. I’ll highlight the top ten family and friends posts in the order in which they showed up on More to Come… Andrew was asked to join Lady Gaga and 50 other survivors of sexual assault on the …

Our Year in Photos – 2016

As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, I continue my tradition of posting family photographs from the past year on More to Come… We have much for which to be thankful in 2016. During a year when our country has seen much distrust, hatred, and focus on the worst aspects of our common life, we – like so many of you – are working hard to recognize the many blessings we have shared individually, as a family, and within our communities.  Not everyone in our families and in our group of friends agrees with our outlook on life. But no matter where one stands on the political divide, it is clear that we have a profoundly broken country at the moment. Our family will try and be advocates for a loving, inclusive country that recognizes the gifts of all and the bounty available if we will only embrace the “we” as well as the “me” in our communities.  I know we have to do more. Last December, I gathered with all my brothers and sisters …

Six (or Less) Degrees of Separation

My father stayed in touch with people all over the world.  But I was still surprised earlier this week when the Senior Minister of First Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia – where I was speaking – quickly made the association between me and my hyper-connected father. Historic Savannah Foundation invited me to be the guest speaker at their annual meeting, which was being held in the historic sanctuary of First Baptist Church.  In a bit of chit-chat before the meeting began with their senior minister, Dr. John Finley, I mentioned that I grew up attending First Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. That’s when Dr. Finley looked at me and asked, “Are you Tom’s son?” I must have looked pretty dumb-founded, because he quickly added, “My first job out of college at Vanderbilt was as a youth minister in First Baptist in Murfreesboro.”  Dr. Finley was there in the mid-1970s for three months, and became friends with my mom and dad, as well as the staff and others.  Daddy kept in touch and even visited Savannah …

Going Out in a Blaze of Glory

Last evening’s Commemoration of All Faithful Departed service at our church was beautiful and personally meaningful.  I had it marked on my calendar for some time, as I wanted to attend to remember my father, who passed away earlier this year. The choir’s music was beautiful, with Mozart’s Requiem interspersed between the readings.  The first of those readings is from the Book of Wisdom and begins, “The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall ever touch them.” We put the names of loved ones departed into a basket, and during the prayers of the people each name was read while members of the congregation could come forward and light a candle. (As an aside, I loved hearing baseball legend Monte Irvin remembered among the departed.) Lovely. Thoughtful. Deeply moving. And when I saw that The Rev. Emily Griffin was the evening’s preacher, I knew all three of those feelings would continue.  We have three very insightful and thoughtful priests who enlighten us each in their own way with …

A Blessing for our Children

It was Thanksgiving Day, 1982. Candice and I were spending our first married Thanksgiving with my parents. After the meal, Dad gathered us all together and gave the following blessing to his children, daughters-in-law and son-in-law.  (He later expanded it to include his grandchildren.) The blessing was read at his funeral last Wednesday, and it was hand-written in my father’s Bible that we brought home with us. It says all you need to know about how my parents thought about their responsibility in raising children and their release of us as adults to find our own path to grow into the people we are. Blessing for our Children Your mother and I give you: Unconditional love, and to each one of you we give all our love.  Love expands to meet the need. Unconditional acceptance based on who you are – our sons and our daughters – our sons-in-law and our daughters-in-law and our grandchildren. Not on what you do or don’t do. Release to be the person God intends for you to be.  Release …

My Favorite Tom Brown Stories

We celebrated my father over the past four days before his burial next to my mother in Evergreen Cemetery.  Tom Brown was well-loved, and over those days we heard many stories full  of love, support, and humor. In the four-hour receiving line on Tuesday evening, the family was strategically stationed so that Joe and Carol – who live in Murfreesboro – could introduce people to my older brother Steve who lives in Sarasota.  Then Debbie and Mark, also from Murfreesboro, were at the end of the line so they could give Candice and me a heads up on who was on the way.  The grandkids (especially the older ones) then set up another receiving line near the casket. Every person from First Baptist Church (it seems) came, along with a good number of people who worship at my brother Joe’s church and my sister Carol’s church.  (These are Baptist – they are never content with just one church!)  The entire Murfreesboro Water Department, where my sister Debbie has worked for decades, came (leading me to …