Charlie Wilson Joins the Choir
By now you've encountered one of your newest arrivals, Charlie Wilson, age
80, the Sage of Heavener, Oklahoma. I'm sure he's there because he said
there would be no Republican politicians in heaven.
You will get a kick out of Charlie regardless of your politics. I know you
have a sense of humor because you made man.
I'm writing in hopes that you will share Charlie with the heavenly hosts,
which seem always to be referred to in the most pontifical tones. Nothing
stuffy about Charlie. He could crack up the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
He often called on you, especially when he was fighting the battle of his
life against demon rum. And you came through for him. He said your Hotline
was out of order when he tried to warn you about Ronald Reagan, the fellow
who cut school lunches and declared catsup a vegetable.
The trashy Oklahoma City newspaper referred to Charlie as a "knee-jerk
bleeding heart liberal" -- which means he's your kind of guy. He always
fought for the underdog and the down-and-out. He was for civil rights when
they weren't cool in Little Dixie. He was for equal rights for women when
most in his town were barefoot and pregnant.
Your Son had special words for the children. The Book of Life you keep will
reveal that Charlie spent years serving for no pay on a school board to
make sure the kids got their due.
He and Jesus had a lot in common. Charlie would take in the drunks and the
emotionally wounded -- always had a hand for the bums and the woebegone.
Nobody ever left his hardware store broke if Charlie had anything in the
He was already an old man when he started writing the funniest column in
the universe. You'll love his wit, especially if you put on a pot of coffee
and invite in a few neighbors.
He acknowledged fracturing a few of your Commandments. Nobody's perfect
-- present company excepted. Even your son Jesus didn't pick 12 winners.
In the balance of things you will find Charlie's a first-rate human being
with an over-sized heart and under-developed patience for the greedy and
Your Son, when he was here, was high on love and charity. Charlie's most
passionate love was for his country. Few knew he was a highly decorated
veteran of World War II. That's why he so loudly mocked the sunshine patriots
-- Limbaugh, Reagan, Buchanan, Kemp, Nickles, Gingrich -- that ilk who were
pro-war but were AWOL when it came time to serve their country.
I know you love Charlie as much as we did. He was our ray of hope during
some really dark days in politics. He never lost faith in this country.
Far be it for me to tell you how to run heaven (although as an editor I
reserve the right), but if there are Republican politicians in heaven --
especially ex-Democrats -- I'd advise you to keep 'em away from Charlie's
digs or you'll never know a moment's peace. And if you ever need any political
advice, I'd suggest a toddy with Charlie -- he can have one now. Tell him
we miss him. Tell him we will see him again. -- Charlie's friend,
Charlie Wilson died on April 9. Frosty Troy is editor of the
Oklahoma Observer, a twice-monthly newspaper. Contact him at PO Box
53371, Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3371; phone 405-525-5582.
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