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‘Honest Work’ by Shane Brown


I pull off Hernando’s square in the suburban I drove up in this morning and hang a right down Highway 51 South.

I’ve already been at the farm since six this morning milking cows while Billy Ray loads milk in coolers for our trip. I’m tired and almost exhausted. But I can’t be. I still have milk to deliver in Oxford and a show to play tonight at Delta Steak Company in Abbeville. But, before I do those things I’m stopping in Senatobia to meet Billy Ray, Snuffy and our cousin William at a barbecue joint we go to after our day of selling milk.

It’s been a good day on the square, but I’m ready to get home.

We are sitting around the table William has picked out for us and eating our desires from the menu we picked from above our raised heads. Barbecue sandwiches, burgers, fries, slaw and fried onion rings cover the table. Laughter and talk float through the air and I smile with them. I’m still tired and I’m still ready to get home. This all is becoming routine to me and I like it– hell I actually love it. My work these days are continuous and long. It’s hard and it’s honest. I’ll wake up Monday morning after resting Sunday and do it all over again. I’ll have no complaints as I pull up my pants and pull on my boots. My mind won’t be too foggy from the weekend and I’ll take in the day.

All the work I’ve been doing lately is something I haven’t ever been used to. I worked hard while I was a coach but nothing physical like the work now. The grass cutting, the landscaping, the building fences, the painting, and the cows and hogs are tiring. My boots have been ruined as well as some shirts and pants. Stains from oil and smell have caused a few to go to waste. But it’s been a job and I do it. I don’t know how long it will last, but I’ll be at work Monday and I’ll be at work Monday night too.

I just got up from the dock at Tula where I was writing this story to read a short story called “The Whore In Me” Dad wrote years ago. I am flabbergasted by it.

I wanted to read it before I wrote this story but forgot… My hands are over my face and tears are in my eyes. The door ajar: ding, ding, ding, ding… It’s dark from where I sit and crickets and frogs are casting sounds over the pond. I can’t believe that what I have read is the same thing that I have just sort of written about: about work, and work ethic, and doing what you’re told to do and wanting to be home. Someone is talking to me…

I’ve always looked up to Billy Ray my whole life. He’s been a good brother. He’s been my best friend. I still look up to him and our relationship grows stronger every day. I try to follow his work and his flow. I’ll never catch up, but he tells me often that he is proud of me and he thanks me. I smile and continue my job. I’m just doing what I am told to do. Maybe it’s that whore in me that Dad wrote about. I don’t mind being used and worked as long as I can get home and the dough is there. I don’t mind the flow and I don’t mind being told what to do. I know after every task and every job I’m a little bit closer to home. So, I guess, if it takes me being a “whore,” then that’s just the whore in me.

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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