October 26, 2006

With this morning came the sad news for those of us left behind that Mr. Jimmy Brown had departed this mortal coil and I feel embarked on even greater journeys. Words won't allow me to express how much I admired him.
I think I first met Mr. Brown in his family hardware store here in White Bluff, Tennessee, an amazing place in itself. Later on he was my sixth grade teacher and he helped instill in me a love of literature and reading. But most of all I think he helped us want to learn and in that to think and question.
And one of my fond memories from that year is him having us do a dinner theatre production of "The Devil & Daniel Webster", no telling how many headaches we gave him, but I am sure he loved doing it as much as we did.
A few years later he was named the principal at William James School and after the county consolidated the high schools, he was for a time over the elementery school here in town. Later on he served White Bluff well as its mayor, I think the best we ever had. He also was a writer, having a column in the Dickson paper and I recall several being printed in the Nashville papers as well. If I remember correctly, for a time he even put out a paper here in town. I will never forget his booming voice when saying "Hello", and his laugh as well. I think he made everyone he knew feel like a good friend, and I remember several long talks with him about politics, religion, philosophy and much more. I won't go into his religion, but for sure he was a very spiritual person.
He was a maverick of sorts I think and certainly a freethinker. One question he was always asking me when I would see him out and about town was "Well Nick, have you figured out the meaning of it all?" And with that would start a good conversation. A few years ago he lost his lovely wife Miss Colleen, who herself was a much loved teacher here in town, and I know must have missed her terribly. But still when I would see him in town he would seem as he always had. I think the last time I spoke with him, and this was awhile back, he told me had started reading "Walden" again, that was so him. I don't know if a town can have a soul or spirit, but if so, Jimmy Brown was a very large part of White Bluff's, and he will be very much missed.

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer"~from the "Conclusion" to Thoreau's Walden

"Soon the ice will melt, and the blackbirds will sing along the river which he frequented, as pleasantly as ever. The same everlasting serenity will appear in this face of God, and we will not be sorrowful, if he is not.~ Thoreau

Nicky McNeil

From Thoroughly Modern Milley

I submit the following quote in honor of a true friend who passed away today. Jimmy Brown had a profound effect on my life both as an educator and as a friend. I mourn the loss of him as a friend and mentor. With his passing, and that of Miss Colleen, White Bluff has truly lost an era.

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt

Godspeed Jimmy Love always, Milley

The PC writes: Nicky, I'm so sorry to hear about Mr. Jimmy Brown. Thanks for letting me know this. I just loved him. I didn't have him as a teacher, but he was a friend to me at school. There were two 6th Grade Classes and I had the misfortune to be in the other one. I also remember him allowing a boy that I was sweet on, to come to my class room and get my radio so that they could listen to the World Series Game that was on. My teacher would not even dream of letting us do that. I had known him since I was a little kid. His Mom & Dad ran the Hardware Store, had that silly Monkey in a cage that would pull your hair outta your head (speaking from experience) and the Bird that would whistle at all the women and announce "pretty woman!" I remember him telling me about his Mom, Mrs. Brown fussing at him for jumping on the beds at home. I said well, how old were you? "I was in college!" and he kept on walking and left me standing, laughing so hard that I cried. I loved him as Mayor. He always did a good job and he knew how to get things done. And even if he couldn't, he treated you with kindness and respect. Like you said, he was a good guy and I too will miss him. I had always wondered how it would feel to be loved as much as he loved Miss Colleen and she in turn loving him. She always seem to glow when you talked to her about him. You have to admire those folks, because not everybody is that fortunate. But I bet somewhere in Heaven those two are smiling those big smiles at each other once again. Both will always be missed.