We have all heard the saying, “He’s never met a stranger!” Jim Brown was one of those that truly fit that category. When I read his obituary in the Pampa News the other day, it brought back happy memories of knowing Jim. Back in 1963, my family and I returned to our hometown of Pampa for me to begin coaching Harvester Basketball with Coach Terry Culley. While growing up in Pampa, I bought all my clothes at Ed Mize’s Friendly Menswear. Since they no longer existed, I began buying things at the new store, Brown-Freeman Men’s Wear. These two guys were very friendly to all who entered the store on Cuyler Street.
I will never forget Jim’s introduction when I entered his store. As I stepped in the front door, he came walking toward me, and his first words were, “Size 46 extra-long, 36 pants in the waist and inseam of 36 inches, and I guess size 13 in a shoe!” Well sir, I was genuinely impressed because he hit the nail on the head. He continued, “I’m Jim Brown; welcome to my store. How can I help you?”
That began a unique relationship with Mr. Brown! I say unique because he always had something special to keep a customer’s attention, have you laughing, and enjoying your day. He was a scholar when it came to just about any subject you talked about. My wife and I were invited to Jim and Betty’s home on Mary Ellen Street. There were books everywhere. They both loved to read. He was also a connoisseur of fine wines, and I received an education on how grapes were grown and turned into wine. He loved New Mexico, Santa Fe, and the Taos areas, and they had a collection of Indian artifacts, especially Indian pottery.
Jim was also heavily involved in many civic clubs, the Red Cross, and especially the First Presbyterian Church. Jim truly loved people, life, and his country. Being around him rubbed his enthusiasm off on everybody he encountered. Jim Brown certainly had an effect as a mentor on my life.
As Christ teaches in the scriptu res, we are to (/love thy neighbor as thyself,” and Jim was that kind of person. With a glass of wine raised, Jim would always say, “Here’s to you, my friend!”
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