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Brother Brodhead had gotten saved as an adult in the time of the Great American Depression, but he had a job and trusted the Lord to take care of him and his family. During this time, he had a small life insurance policy, and every month the agent would come door to door and pick up the payments as many businesses did back then.

Charles Linford Brodhead


We called him Brother Brodhead because he was a senior Christian and a bit more formal than the younger generation.  He was pushing 90 when I met him at the Nazarene Church; a small and bald headed fellow who carried a neck cushion device to put behind his head when he sat down in a chair.  Come to find out, he was from Pennsylvania Dutch country, but he lived with his son and daughter-in-law for some time in California.  In their home, he stayed mostly in his bedroom where he worked on his paintings of church buildings and towns, landscapes, old-fashioned covered bridges, and read his Bible.  Some of his things were always on the bed because he didn’t sleep in it at night but in the easy chair next to it.  He said because of his stroke in his 50’s, he couldn’t sleep horizontally because lying down made him dizzy.  His son had been an officer in the Navy, so Brother Brodhead got to travel to foreign countries, make friends, and corresponded later with those he met abroad hoping to win them to the Lord.

Brother Brodhead had been a professional truck sign painter back in the Great Depression when such things were done by hand.  At first, he had painted cars and told me how they’d float the paint on just thick enough to spread and flatten out without leaving brush strokes or runs.  Also, they did pinstriping and used something like a yardstick to hold against the vehicles’ body and rest their painting hand on while they laid down a line.  (Some of these principles have been applied to my Michelangeloian house painting efforts.)  Later he was promoted to do truck signs. Well, Brother Brodhead figured one day he was going to be asked to do the signing on a beer truck and was going to tell them he couldn’t do it in good conscience, even if it cost him his job.  And it did.

In spite of his physical limitations, Brother Brodhead kept busy at the church from time to time with serious and humorous chalk drawings on large sheets of art paper.  He also customized his drawings for the group’s age; and afterward, he’d sit down, put the cushion behind his head, read the Bible, and give a corresponding message.

For decades, Brother Brodhead read the Bible four times a year in his easy chair in the small bedroom.  The last year he was alive he said he was going to pass on all the “begats” in First and Second Chronicles, so maybe that’s not a good thing to do. (Smile)  He also went to church when he could, and would say “Amen” during good preaching.  I liked visiting him at home because he talked about Jesus Christ all the time until he went to be with the Lord at 91 years old.  On the morning he departed, he ate his customary bowl of oatmeal, “and he was not: for God took him;” just like my Uncle Emil did after eating his bowl of porridge at 93.

Brother Brodhead had gotten saved as an adult in the time of the Great Depression but had a job and trusted the Lord to take care of him and his family.  And during this time, he had a small life insurance policy, and every month the agent would come door-to-door and pick up the payments, as many businesses did back then.  Well, Brother Brodhead had no money for a payment one month and saw the agent coming down the street collecting, and was getting mighty anxious.  As the minutes passed, and the insurance man would soon be there, he exclaimed in exasperation, “You let me down, Lord!  What can you do now?”

As the agent grew closer, Brother Brodhead heard a knock at the back door.  He went to open it, and there was the neighbor lady who inquired if he still had the painting she liked so much and was it for sale for what he had said?  He told her he still had it, and it was indeed for sale for that price.  So, as she handed him the money, the front doorbell rang.  He then went directly to the front door and gave the insurance agent the exact amount due which he had just received at the back door.  Brother Brodhead felt pretty bad for not trusting the Lord and humbly asked for forgiveness.



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The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.  Amen