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‘Change’ by Shane Brown


My call has gotten better. I claimed to Paula (and a story) that one night it would.

I’m talking about my call for the Jerseys to come into the parlor to be milked. It takes repetition and practice. It’s like how I learned how to ride a bike or how I learned to play guitar. I like doing something over and over that I love or that draws my attention. I never thought milking cows would draw interest to me, but it does. It’s not really the cows or the milking, but it’s the work I do for my brother and my sister-in-law.

I’m learning to love that type of work. I’m learning to love what they do every day. It’s hard, it’s honest, and the reward is sweated through my shirt and a hat. I love taking my soaked shirt off when the night is over and sit on a bucket while I smoke a cigarette to end the night looking over their farm. I never saw writing as interesting either. I left that up to Dad to tell me those stories and I left the cows with Billy Ray. But things change, and so have I.

I’ve been working the night shift for Brown Family Dairy all week long. It’s been a long but fun week of work. On Sunday I planned to rest and cook out that night. Again, things change. I wanted to grill out at the cabin while listening to frogs and bugs talk to me as Chris Stapleton blared over the radio. I was going to prop my feet up and let the Tula night take me in.

I pulled up to Billy Ray’s house to say hey and visit with kids and things changed quickly. He was bottling milk and moving fast. He asked me what my plans were and I told him. His plans were better than mine; he wanted to take his family out to eat. He wanted to spend some time with them and to buy some school supplies for the kids. I told him to take off and have fun. He stayed around for a few more minutes and then he and his family left me to finish up. They left me to take care of their farm and cows. They trust me and I trust them.

I finished milking twenty-eight cows and began breaking down chores of cleaning and washing the parlor and milk system. I bottle fed two baby heifers and poured a five-gallon bucket of milk to his heifers waiting in a feeding pen. I finally finished and I peeled my shirt off. The air was cooler and the night has set in. It was quiet and the lights were off.

I sat and wondered about what all has been done in the last seven days, and for me, the last seven nights. All that’s going through my mind is the work, the want. I’m pretty happy right now. Things have changed, but things are good. Life is good!

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. 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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