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‘Labor Day’ by Shane Brown


I have nothing to do today. It’s Monday and it’s Labor Day.

I’ve asked for work, but Billy Ray said he didn’t need it. He said that he, Paula, and Joe can do the work needed. I don’t mind his reply. My other boss wants time off to spend with his family. I’m glad about that too. I smile cause he wants to spend it with his family.

I smile too because I want another day off. I’ve been working every day for the last two months except for on Sundays, so a two-day weekend will be nice. I’ve milked a few times on Sundays so Billy Ray could take his family out to eat. That’s just a few hours of work. It’s not a whole fourteen-hour day like I’ve been working for Anthony and the farm.

I recently had lunch instead of breakfast because I slept in. I lazed around in bed, looking at the Internet and reading some. I take my time to try easing my mind. I enjoy this time of rest and somewhat laziness. I have told Paula I will come wash her Suburban today, but I haven’t given her an exact time. It’s my day off, so I take it for granted. I continue my slow stroll around my house.

Later, I finally get to moving around and left my house after noon. I’ve had several missed calls and texts from others who have started their day before mine. They invited me to cookouts and to lakes and to back porches to celebrate today. I’ve not accepted, but have appreciated their thoughts and wishes.

I pulled up to the dairy and soon I had Paula’s Suburban shining and clean. She thanked me and asked me to bring Billy Ray a phone charger to a certain hayfield he leases since his phone battery was running low. She wants to take the kids swimming since they have the day off and I tell her it’s no problem.

I gather things for my small trip to some beautiful pasture land in Lafayette county because I know I’m gonna take my time. I love the place I’m headed to. It’s out east of Yocona from where I was raised and it’s hidden behind tall green trees, small hills and valleys with the river that runs beneath. The fields are open between them and black angus cattle grazing the grounds where I will find Billy Ray on a tractor.

I got in her shiny new ride and crank up her speakers. I’ve got her windows rolled down, blaring out a Sturgill Simpson song from the radio. I turn out of their driveway and I’m enjoying my day off. I cruise down the highway and sing to the song that sings to me, blowing smoke out my mouth in the meanwhile. My destination isn’t very far so I drove at an easy, unhurried pace. I then worried that my brother might need his phone so I sped up a bit. But my ride home will be slower.

Bales of hay are everywhere when I pull up to the the gate. I don’t see Billy Ray, but I know he is here. Cows are grazing by the new round bales and the sun is hot and bright. I drove down the hill by the cows and see the green John Deere moving. It’s steady and it’s in a straight line over the hay that’s been raked by Big D or Joe, or possibly Billy Ray.

I roll the windows down and the smell of hay and pasture surrounds me. I love this smell. I turn the radio up a little more and I drive towards Billy Ray and snapped pictures. He never stops baling the hay. When he finally got a break from his duty, he jumps off his tractor to get his charger. He thanks me and says the Suburban looked good. I thanked him in return as I watch him climb back into the John Deere.

I turned towards the gate. The sun is coming down and I have loved this Labor Day. I watch Billy Ray make another turn as I drove over the hill. He has loved his Labor Day too. All he knows is labor…

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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