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‘November 24’ by Shane Brown


It’s a late Monday night here in Tula. It’s November 23, and it’s a day I regret, but not like the day I dread the next. I shouldn’t regret this day, but only I know that. Eleven years ago I should have called or spent time with family or just stopped by to say hey… But, I didn’t.

My children and I are at the cabin. It’s quiet. I hear a clock ticking and a heater blowing from inside the living room. I hear faint breaths from my kids snuggled up beside me. Glows dance off our bedroom walls from the TV that has put them to sleep, but I’ve turned the volume down. I’m transitioning myself into tomorrow: something my kids will experience one day. I know that’s hard to grasp, but I have fully taken that in. It hurts me to say that, but it’s honest.

Tomorrow is November 24. It’s the day my father died eleven years ago. My kids never met him, but they know who he is.

They know because I talk about him and show them things, book, my stories and pictures and Tula… I spend so much time with them in Tula because that’s what he would have done. They would have fished, played, built bonfires, cooked out, paddled boats, watched deer, shot at squirrels and listened to bullfrogs, and… They know all of those things. They’ve known them for a long time. Daddy has been gone for a long time.

I remember getting the phone call from my sister-in-law, Paula, on that life-changing day. Her words were to the point and precise.

“Shane, this is Paula. You need to come home.”

I’ll never forget those words that day. I’ll never forget that day. It’s something I wouldn’t wanna wish on anybody. Dad? No goodbye? You’re gone? But…

Eleven years sure can change a lot about your life or a town or a person or even simple technology we use. Seeing how things change blows my mind. But love and family, in my family, never will change. We hold tight to each other on these couple of days. We watch over each other even if we aren’t seeing eye to eye at the moment.

My life has changed a lot since Dad has passed. I was coaching when he passed. I wasn’t playing much music and I never thought about writing a sentence of my thoughts to anyone. But now I’m not coaching; I’m playing music and I’m trying to write. I think I write and play music because I got called home.

Home called my mind while I was coaching away from home: something or someone told me there is a plan in my home.

I didn’t know what that plan was and sometimes I still don’t know. But I’m at Tula right now. My kids are warm and asleep. I’ve got a guitar gig this weekend and I’ll finish this story up right as the clock rolls over to 11-24-15.

Tomorrow will be tough, but I’ll make it through the day. I don’t need a call from Paula tomorrow, Lord willing, but I will take other calls.

As long as these calls lead me back to Tula.

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. Photo of Larry Brown is by Tom Rankin.


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