So much of what he wrote, I didn't know. As I read it and thought about it, it stuck a chord and sparked rhyme. I wrote the first line and, like my cousin, once I started, I couldn't stop.
Granddad Brown was a railroad man.
He raised his family with the strength of his hand.
Feeding coal and sweat to an angry boiler,
Powering people and freight, down the line in good order.
Earning burns and muscle, pushed shovel aside
From Fireman to Engineer, his career did stride.
Driving engine and cars to Monroe back
Repeating the cycle -- little time in the sack.
Granddad Brown was a family man.
He held his family in the palm of his hand.
He moved to the country to feed his brood,
Raising crops and livestock to give them food.
To survive the Depression and grow seven kids
He became a police, when railroads hit skids.
When my dad was born – child number four --
The doctors gave up – they could do no more.
He was sickly, so given no food. For why?
He was put in a closet and left to die.
But Grandma Brown, a railroad man’s wife
Ignored the doctors -- nurtured dad to life.
Dad lived on years, full of might,
And honored his parents who won that fight.
Granddad Brown was a big-hearted man.
Left kindness and gentleness wherever he ran.
“If more were like him, this world would be better,”
For all, and to all, he lived kind -- to the letter.
What life’s legacy could be greater than,
“That Mr. Brown -- he’s such a nice man.”
His days on this earth were seventy-five,
But his kindness and humor are still alive,
In children, grandchildren and even beyond --
Generations born after he was gone.
Descendants living not by strength of hand,
But with kindness and character -- from a railroad man.