I don’t know most folks that cut the grass around their daddy’s grave site. But I do. It’s my last thing I do when I’m at Tula, and Mom has asked me to weed eat around the cabin and pond and our front entrance that holds a fence line and the black iron gate that reads “A Place Called Tula.” It doesn’t take me long and I enjoy helping keep this place clean for different gatherings, our kids sleepovers, or for an eye to view as it passes by.
I waited till it got a little cooler before I started today; right when the sun is about to drop from the sky and its cast is still showing our eyes vision but it’s not shining in your eyes. I started at the top of our place and cleared the two fence lines and gate. I threw my weed eater in the back of my truck and came down to the pond and cabin.
The cabin was easily manicured and mowed down swiftly. The grass has really gotten tall around the ponds edges and it took me longer. Bullfrogs leaped from beneath the grass and into the pond. Water bugs danced around the shallow waters and grass flew and floated on the pond. I finish the ponds edges and cut the weed eater off and throw it over the sweat covering my shoulder and start walking towards my truck.
I got halfway to my truck while I’m wiping sweat and grass off my chest and arms and realize I forgot about Dad’s grave. I twist back around and yank the handle cord on my cub cadet. It rips the little orange string of line around and I walk up the slope to his final arrangement. I’ve done this several times but tonight there was something a little different. As I was trying to stand lightly over his grave it felt like someone punched me in my stomach.
I kept weed eating and wondering why I was having this feeling. I felt pride and pain. I felt alone and loved. I moved slowly around the back side of his grave where the names of his children and grandchildren are listed and edged around it. I cut the engine off and walk to my truck. There’s a lump in my throat and I throw the weed eater in the back of it. I ease my way down to the dock and sit and stare at all the beautiful trees that reflect in my eyes and on the water.
It felt good to be finished and for a rest. I feel a cool breeze go over me and I lean back in my chair and relax. I secretly thank Daddy for this place we love. I’m pretty sure he thanks me too.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.