Thursday, March 30, 2023

‘The Beginning’ by Shane Brown


I’m a procrastinator. A bad one. I always push off for an extra hour, a certain time or for another day. It’s not because I’m being lazy, but that I tell myself I’ll begin whenever I’m truly ready.

The beginning can be difficult, fun, inspiring, fearful, prideful, lasting and so many more things – depending on the situation you have at hand. But in the beginning, there is always a start. You can always count on that. It could come with inexperience too, something new. You have to find that point that starts it all for you. You have to have a starting point.

If you’re a firefighter lying in bed at the fire station, peacefully asleep when the fire alarm goes off for a call to a burning house, you have to get your a** up and fight the fire. You’ve been trained to control the situation and follow the procedures necessary to mount the obstacle at risk. You want to be the first one on the scene, and you want to bust through the burning building to save a life, a home or even a treasured framed picture that could be lost forever. Nothing else on your mind matters in the beginning of this task – nothing.

You could be a fisherman who loves the beginning of an early morning on the lake. You’ve woken up before everyone else and have merged your one man boat into the black water that reflects a falling moon. Birds are chirping with bugs are chiming in too. You hear frogs on a log call out to mates and a splash on the water gets you a little more excited. You might hear a turkey gobble too. You think of the shiny crappie you will pile in your cooler all day as you keep a steady pace of preparing your fishing trip. It’s the beginning of your day that you wanted. You hope it’s a good day. You’ve made a good start of it.

When I was coaching, I always loved the beginning of a ball game. The intensity is at a high level and the look through a face mask into a kid’s eyes who you coached all week for this moment. It could be the greatest night he’ll remember for the rest of his life. It could be the first kickoff that he ran back for a touchdown as the band blasted from the stadium bleachers and fans shouted and screamed. It could be the winning touchdown pass that he caught as time ticked off the scoreboard. Those plays could be the beginning of a scholarship, a district championship, a hug, a high five or simply another good night.

I came over to The Shack tonight to write a story about the beginning of things. The beginning of all things has been on my mind lately after riding around with Billy Ray the other day as we checked on his cows. I saw some bottle calves I helped raised since birth. I was amazed to see how much they had grown in a few months. They were tall and lean, ready to be turned into cows. They were ready for another beginning.

When I got to The Shack, the first thing I did was light some candles that Dad left behind. He planned to write over here in The Shack, but he didn’t get to. He wrote a few pages of “A Miracle of Catfish” on legal pad paper, but never was able to begin really writing over here. I’ve finally cleaned the room up and starting to hang out here. Tonight was my first time to write a whole essay in it. It’s a starting point for me. I’m burning candles that he began with…

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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