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‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ by Shane Brown


I’m driving down highway six outside of Oxford early this morning to meet my boss to go to work.

I roll over hills and pass drifting cars and trucks by the tall trees that border our routes. As I get close to the city limits the traffic gets thicker; cars and trucks are slowly coming off ramps and onto ramps as time rushes their destinations. Students are back in session at the university and everyone has noticed. The summer was a little bit calmer with traffic flow but today’s presence is different than last weeks. So has my work flow; my work flow has changed and I like it.

We have a three story cabin out east in Lafayette county we have been staining and clear coating for the last few days. I’m working for a guy that’s been rooted in the city limits of Oxford for forty-one years. I’ve never heard his name or have seen his face, but his work ethic and his roots of being from around here makes me respect him instantly and we are now friends. That’s the same for another employee of his I never knew; he has been here for thirty-nine years and our dads fought fires together. They were Oxford Fire Department brothers…

I leave from working with Anthony today and head straight out to my bother’s farm to milk cows, feed his hogs, and to bottle feed a few calves. I’ve already done a “day’s work” with Anthony and “Earl” and we are proud of the new face we have given the cabin. Other things have been a maintenance for the day around the house and we will finish out the job tomorrow. We’ve worked hard and steady; that’s all they know how to do so I have followed. We’ve laughed and joked all day. It’s been work, but it’s been fun too. I’ll do the same again when I pull up to the farm.

I pull up to Brown Family Dairy and Billy Ray and Paula are still working. Their kids are working some and playing some too. It’s after school and it’s around five-thirty P.M. Billy Ray and Paula are in synch on what’s to be done and what to finish. I am there now and they have told me what all I have to do. Billy Ray has warned me about not letting Betsy, a dairy cow, to be the last one to be milked. He has warned me this because she will try to kick my head off if she is in the four cow parlor alone. Paula comes out of her bottling room when Billy Ray leaves to go feed beef cattle and she shows me another way we are milking all the twenty-one cows now. She has left Molly, at twelve, inside alone to handle the task; Molly can handle that task.

I’ve run sixteen cows through the milking parlor and things have run smoothly. Friends have come over to sit on a bucket or a milk crate and ask about my day. Dogs are running around and their heads get scratched. I walk out to get the last set and look around to see if Betsy can go with the last four before I have to hook one up alone and I don’t see her. I see Aunt Betty and three others but no Betsy. I shut and lock off the gate to the parlor and walk out into the field to see if I see Betsy. I don’t need Betsy to be last. I don’t wanna be kicked.

I walk outside the barn and out in the field laying down in the dark thick grass is Betsy. I start to think she wanted to be last. I jokingly think she’d liked to kick my head off. I start walking towards her as I’m listening to music through iTunes connected to my phone and the song is perfect for how I feel right now in my life. It’s a Justin Moore song called “This Kind of Town.” I smile as I hear his words and mix them with my thoughts. The sun is trying to fade away as a breeze of cool wind blows across my sweated shirt and body. I feel the want of fall and some college football rush through my body; it’ll happen soon in this town. I run Betsy into the barn and I make sure she isn’t last to be milked. And I thank God I’m living in this kind of town.

We work hard, play hard
Take our paychecks straight to the Walmart
Girls will out drank you
Boys will out Hank you
Tie a yellow ribbon on a tree to say thank you
Sunday morning rolls around
We walk up the aisle and kneel down
We look around at all we’ve been given
And we thank God to be living in
This kind of town
-Justin Moore

Shane Brown

Shane Brown is a HottyToddy.com contributor and the son of noted author Larry Brown. Shane is an Oxford native with Yocona and Tula roots. Shane is a graduate of Mississippi State University and works as a salesman for Best Chance. He has two children — Maddux, age 9, and Rilee, age 7 — and makes his home at “A Place Called Tula.” He can be reached at msushanebrown@yahoo.com.

Copyright Shane Brown, 2015.

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