I miss Joe Brown.
Just like most people who you take for granted, I didn’t know I would miss him until he was gone. But it’s true. I miss Joe a lot.
I used to turn on Joe’s early morning weekday TV show and listen to him talk about various things while I got dressed for work. It was sort of like being married. I halfway listened to Joe talk about the weather and cattle prices and wheat crops and whatnot and once in a while I answered him or maybe even argued with him a bit.
Then, before going to work, I read the newspaper and the first thing I read, even before the front page headlines or obituaries, was How Now, Joe Brown. Every Wednesday morning, I looked forward to reading his column. He wrote some memorable stories.
Before Joe retired, I felt that I was pretty well up-to-date on what was happening in this area. I knew a lot about what was going on in Clay County,…and Wichita, Archer, Montague, Wilbarger, Foard, Knox, Hardeman and Young included. I knew what kind of weather was expected, what the Farmer’s Almanac said, if the mesquites were blooming, and whether there was likely to be a good peach crop this year. I knew it because Joe told me so.
But now, no one talks to me in the mornings. Not like Joe did anyway. I felt that Joe and I had a bond.
This year, without Joe to tell me, I couldn’t even be sure it was Spring. Oh, sure, the calendar said it was Springtime. But in Texoma we know that it’s not Springtime until the last frost has come and gone and it’s safe to pull the night time coverings off the tomatoes that we impatiently planted a bit too early on a warm March day. It isn’t truly Spring until the mesquites leaf out and bloom.
For me, it isn’t Spring until Joe Brown says so.
So last week, I set out on my own to find out just what was happening in the countryside around me. I took a road trip through northern Clay County to check and see if it really is Spring.
The grass was green and herds of cattle with their newly born spring calves were grazing in pastures and wheat fields. The thigh high (to a short person) wheat crops that weren’t being grazed supported full green heads of grain.
The bluebonnets covered the hills and roadsides and the Indian paintbrushes were popping up alongside them.
I stopped at Young’s Orchard and Berry Farm. Their roadside market was open and Steve and Jan were selling fat, sweet strawberries. They told me they expect a good peach crop this year. They said they miss Joe, too.
I drove on to Petrolia and stopped on the side of the road to check the mesquite thicket growing by the fence. The trees were full of leaves, and yes, they were blooming, too.
I headed on toward Henrietta and saw a herd of deer grazing along a creek. The tanks in the pastures were full and there was water moving swiftly in the Little Wichita River.
All was well in Clay County and Spring had come. I had to see it for myself because Joe wasn’t around this year to tell me.
Mike Campbell will start a new morning show on KFDX on April 23 in the 5:15 a.m. time slot. I know he’ll do an exceptional job and he will keep all of us informed of the same things Joe Brown told us about. I’ll listen to him while I tend to my morning routine. I may talk back to him and even argue with him a bit while I do my hair.
I wish Mike the very best in his endeavor. He has big shoes to fill, but he will bring his own form of information and entertainment to us all. I look forward to waking up and turning on the TV on the 23rd.
Next year Mike can tell us when it’s Spring. But, I’ll probably still miss Joe a little.