Read George’s columns with a generous dose of skepticism

Dear Editor:

Sir, I’m writing to express my appreciation for the weekly opinion column of Mr. George Brown.

Unlike other opinion columns in your paper, Mr. Brown’s column is seldom informative; but while lacking in this regard, it is (almost) always enjoyably entertaining.  I say this with sincere approbation for I have arrived at that time of life when I find myself more interested in being entertained than in being informed.

I hasten to add that it is not my intent to disparage the informative opinions of the other fine gentlemen who share bylines with Mr. Brown on your Opinion page. Although, if I may say so, I find it troubling to rarely see opinion columns authored by members of the feminine gender, for surely we do have opinions!

Having offered these brief words of commendation for Mr. Brown, I wish to share some personal insights which I happen to have about him, and which I find myself compelled to share with the readers of his column (a following which I understand is quite large).  But first, allow me to briefly introduce myself, as doing so will help explain why, after much thoughtful deliberation, I have decided to write this letter to you.

I arrived in this community just five months ago, having retired from my position as chief book editor for a small publishing house located near my hometown in Knox County Ohio. Though I once had a true love I never married, and so it is that I now reside with my beloved goddaughter and her husband just outside of Batavia. They were gracious to have taken me in, as my eyesight is fading from the tedious review of countless manuscripts over the past 42 years, and my poor arthritic hands are beginning to curl and ache with pain from turning the pages of those same manuscripts, most of which I can now say were not worthy of my time.  Now, comfortably situated in the home of my goddaughter, I look forward to living out my retirement years surrounded by the love and laughter of her children and grandchildren who live nearby.

Soon after arriving at my new home I purchased a copy of The Clermont Sun to begin learning about the local news and happenings of this community. Imagine my surprise when I turned to page A4 for the first time and my eyes fell upon a picture of George Brown, the beau of my teenage years and, yes, the love of my life which was not meant to be.   Of course, George has aged as his picture reveals, but after all these years his warm smile has not changed. I would have recognized it anyway.

Do not feel badly for me over a lost love.  Although I now find myself reading, and admittedly enjoying, the weekly column of the one who broke my heart so many years ago, I do so with true contentment about who and where I am today.

So now you know how it is that I happen to have some personal insights about George Brown. I attended high school with George and his wife, Yvonne.  Knowing she may read this, I want to say that I have never harbored hard feelings toward Yvonne for stealing George away from me because she was the sweetest girl in school, and she was as pretty as she was sweet. I must say, I know Yvonne is not the mean spirited person George often makes her out to be in his columns. She would never make him live in their travel trailer for weeks at a time no matter how frustrated she may become with him. I hope I’ll get to see her sometime soon to catch up on old times.

In high school George’s nickname was Charlie Brown. All the kids said that song by the Coasters, “Charlie Brown,” was written about George because he was the class clown and was always getting into some kind of trouble.

George was always telling the most outlandish and preposterous stories about strange adventures he had had over the weekend or during summer vacations. We all knew they were big fat lies, but they were always funny and you couldn’t help but laugh. I can see from his column that he hasn’t changed a bit.

This is really the main reason I’m writing this letter. As I’ve gotten acquainted with neighbors and as I talk with people at church I’m amazed by the number of people who really believe all of those stories George tells are actually true, and that those things have actually happened to him (like that story last week about an encounter with a buffalo at Little Bighorn, for instance.)

I’m not saying some of the tales George tells aren’t true, at least in part. I’m just saying that people should read George’s columns with a generous dose of skepticism.

I realize some may view this letter as the vindictive ramblings of a “disgruntled old lady” who still harbors hurt feelings over a long lost love. And I must confess, my heart does sigh just a bit as I remember and reminisce about those fun days of youth and what might have been; and, yes, as I gaze upon George’s picture each week my heartstrings do twinge just a little.  But I assure you I am sincere in suggesting that your readers not believe everything they read in the paper.

Respectfully yours,

Grenelda Shnitzoldorf


Note:  George Brown says he was called away on important personal business this past week and was unable to submit a column. As it happens, a “letter to the editor” about Mr. Brown was received just yesterday so we are taking this opportunity to share it with you in lieu of his column.