My father used to tell me when I was growing up, “Son, you sometimes need to get taken, or spend some money, to find someone out. Whether it be someone you just want to help or a true friend, sooner or later you will find them out. But then again, it may not cost you anything.”
Over the years I have taken that message to heart many times. So goes the story of my friend and brother in spirit, Raymond “Pap” Brown. I am and will always be reminded that Pap is as true a friend as it gets. I drove in to Whitesburg last week to see my lifetime friend, and both of out hearts were filled with the kindness that only exist between two people who really are friends.
Pap is not feeling well and has been hospitalized now six times since August. As we sat in his living room I could hear the oxygen tank doing its job. His eyes were shining as bright as I ever remembered and we talked about the good old days. Just hanging out together over coffee and telling hunting stories no matter how many times they have been told never grows old.
Pap told me he was able, with the help of his son Dale, to fill his tags during turkey season, both spring and fall. He told me the 2014 season was his best ever, and I could see his excitement as he talked about it. Pap has worked hard to have a good place to hunt. Good hunting places are not cheap, with food plots to plant and feeders to keep filled, but Pap has stayed the course and has as good a place as you could ask for to hunt.
Word came to me as I am writing this Struttin’ Time that Pap is back in the hospital yet again. True friendship like that between Pap and myself is hard to find. It has cost me nothing to find out what kind of man Pap is. He is for sure top shelf in my world.
Although I am concerned about my friend, I am not alarmed. He has promised to do the last Struttin’ Time when I cross the Silent River. During all these years Pap has always kept his word. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
Give your roses to your friends while they can still enjoy them.