If you knew Dad pretty well then you knew about his letters. He’d rather write you a letter than pick up the phone.
Those letters were the most amazing, thoughtful pieces of his heart he could share with you. Some letters would last for days. He would write and stop, then pick it back up and talk the whole week or just a few days. Some letters are collected by the local university. Some are in a safe drawer at my house. Some are at homes where he would reach out to friends or just simply write back if needed.
I miss our talks and his letters and I always need him to answer certain things as I get older. But I guess I will learn like he did. He didn’t have anybody help him either…except for books and letters…
Hey Man! What’s up. How you been? We sure miss you around here. How are things with what you are doing? I bet you stay busy and are super happy. What’s it look like up there? How’s Memaw and Mamaw? Delina? Do you get to play guitar and write any? Where are your fishing holes? What music you been listening to? I bet you get a lot of time to do a bunch of things that I couldn’t even guess. Let me know…
Tula is so pretty right now. Leaves are falling and they are changing into such pretty colors. They spread all over the place and give Tula a hell of a picture. I sit on the high top of the hill sometimes and just look out across our place. Baby deer walk out with their mom and graze the grounds. They walk around the cabin and the clubhouse that was recently built for your grandkids; J.J. built it for them. And guess what? J.J. is a captain of the fire department in Oxford too. How cool is that? Tula is being taken care of! We just put in some catfish and bream recently. Maddux hopes to catch some in the spring. He is pretty excited. Rilee is excited too but she’s not as crazy about fishing as Maddux is. She’s a good little fisherman but Maddux could sit on that dock you built all day; he does it often.
I’ve been listening to a lot of different music lately. It’s funny how I go back and listen to the guys you tried to get me to listen to and I wasn’t interested. I am now. My favorite new guys that I listen to are Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, and Sturgill Simpson. Man, you would love them. Isbell was a Drive By Trucker. He parted away from them and is doing well on his own. He played a show the other night in Nashville with Stapleton and guess who came out for a few songs? John Prine!! My friend that was there about shat his pants! I bet you would have. Ha!
Mom is doing well. She is still working hard, of course, but I wished she would retire; she needs to. Maybe she will soon. Billy Ray’s farm is outstanding. His dairy farm is making him a great business. All the kids and Paula help him run it. I help some. You would be amazed and proud. They work really hard every day. LeAnne is well too. I don’t get to see her much. She is in Batesville running a daycare. Her boys are a mess. They would make you laugh and smile and be happy!
I’m doing pretty good. I’m not coaching right now. I got away from it for a little bit so I could get back home. I might go back. But I’m pretty happy with the work I’m doing: landscaping and construction. I could make more money doing something else, but I’m happy. I’ll take happiness over money. I don’t mind the hard work. It makes it easier than not wanting to work. I think you and Mom taught us that. She ain’t happy with me not coaching, but she understands it. I hope you do too.
I’ve been writing some. I started a blog when Joe came out and I instantly got hooked with writing. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I try. I’ve been reading your books a lot and some Harry Crews; man, he was a genius freak! I got picked up by HottyToddy.com and they put a story out every Wednesday. I guess that’s a start and maybe it will build. Sometimes people say I sound like you. I don’t like it when they tell me that, but I take their compliments. I wish I you could tell me sometimes about things I write about; Mom helps me though when I ask. That’s close enough for me. I think…
Well, I just wanted to say hey and see how you were doing. I’m hanging out in the Cool Pad tonight and looking at pictures and fumbling over a few things of yours. I feel grounded here when I need you. I’m content here and when I’m at Tula. I’ll go over there tonight and rest my head. It’s probably my favorite place I’ve ever been. And I get to live there. Thank you! I always thank Mama!
Hope you sleep well! I love you and hope to hear from you soon. I won’t let you down.
P.S. – is that you I feel at Tula when I’m alone and writing or playing guitar or just relaxing by the pond on the deck?
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 email@example.com.
Copyright Shane Brown, 2015.