Thursday, September 29, 2022

‘Two Boys in Tula’ by Shane Brown


I’ve spent a lot of time with a fishing pole in my hand. There’s a relaxing feel to it and I just sit.

I don’t try to catch the most or the biggest. I just try to catch that moment.

I enjoy sitting on the Yocona River bank where it’s quiet and I can only hear the rustling of trees hanging over my head and the dark green bushes. The water is calm as it moves. It’s cloudy and muddy.

I like to fish in Tula because of its rich beauty. Well, I used to like fish Tula. Now I sit and watch Tula being fished now. I go on a river with my brother to sit and stare now. I’m watching two little boys fish Tula at the moment.

My son straddles a five-gallon bucket in hopes for a bite. His first cousin stands over the edge of a dock his grandfather built as he waits for the final snatch of a bite he is feeling on his line.

Birds are chirping and bullfrogs are barking while the glow of the trees dances across the water’s surface. Their faces and bodies dance on the water too from the dock’s edge. They talk and laugh. They look back at me watching them, asking different questions. I look back at them and see my brother and myself.

I wish I could remember that age. It’s kind of foggy in my mind, but little things like this remind me of the perch pond adventures and riding four wheelers with my brother to the Yocona Falls. It reminds me of making a best friend, not just a fishing buddy.

They are bringing in the catfish, over and over. They are numbering each land to the old withered seating. The twenty-year-old structure holds steady. They catch and release and do it again. I sit and smile. And, I will do it again.

I see hands go into a worm bucket again and I think of all the holes my brother and I made in the pasture we roamed all our lives. They’ve made holes in these hills somewhere because I’ve not purchased any worms at the local bait shop.

I think of fishing this water and certain river banks when I was a little boy. They have this fishing thing figured out. They’ve got it figured out enough where Billy Ray and I can just sit back and watch.

We used to have to stand on that dock when they were younger to bait a hook, cast a line, and then free a fish off the hook. But not today we don’t. They’ve got this figured out. In twenty-five years, they’ll have what my brother and I have figured out too.

My afternoon is ending, but my thoughts do not. Leaves are falling all around us, and they float on the top of the pond at Tula. Fall is upon us and the weather is desirably cool.

I’m still watching these little boys enjoy their afternoon bond. They’ll wanna fish into the night with a flashlight and more worms as I fire up the grill and turn on the lights on to the kitchen pavilion.

My brother and his family will ride over after they’ve tackled all the farm duties. College football and music will have some of our attention as the house lights bring in friends stopping to visit on their drives.

We will sit and watch all these cousins roam the grounds. They’ll not wanna eat or sit down or be still. It won’t bother us much until bedtime when they say they are hungry. They are just doing what they love to do. And so are we…

Shane Brown

Shane Brown is a 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

Copyright Shane Brown, 2015.

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