Mr. Brown

Mr. Brown

Quite a character, our Mr. Brown. He’s not the one that has been written about though, at least by anyone famous. Tomorrow, I imagine that children all over the country will read and giggle over the quite well known Mr. Brown as they celebrate the author’s birthday. Mr. Brown Can MOO, Can You? Quite splendidly written by Dr. Seuss.

I write of another Mr. Brown. This one makes children smile too. This one greets boys and girls every day at White Oak Elementary School in a little town called Edenton, tucked in the top right corner of North Carolina. He fist bumps, he hugs, he speaks and encourages, he calls my youngest son, “Famous Amos.” He stole my heart long before that though.

He’s just a custodian, you may say. His name is announced over the intercom to clean up classroom messes, quite unpleasant ones, often times. Mr. Brown, I hear him called most every day that I’m there, reading, collecting money, having lunch or making copies. I cannot recall a time where Mr. Brown didn’t smile or make my day a bit brighter.

Today he surprised me though, but not really. We’ve been raising money for field trips. It was Mr. Brown that helped me hang the twine down the walls of the front hall. It was Mr. Brown that measured and carefully cut twine and used clothes pins along side me as we hung classroom banners. If you bring one penny, you can sign your name, I had told the children.

Two boys brought me their classroom banner this morning and their names were absent. I asked if they were going to bring their pennies tomorrow or Friday. I was met with silence and their eyes told me that they couldn’t make a promise. I stood quiet, wondering what to say or do, and a passing Mr. Brown dug in his pocket and pulled out a handful of change which he divided and handed to each boy. Thank you, they said, without my prompting. Thank you, I said too. In the words of Dr. Seuss:

Oh, the wonderful things Mr. Brown can do! Mr. Brown can do it.

How about you?

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