EULOGY/Frosty Troy

Charlie Wilson Joins the Choir

Dear God,

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 till.

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 the pompous.

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, Frosty Troy

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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