‘Glowing Flames Of The Shack’ By Shane Brown

I came home last night to write a story about this picture, but I got lost about what to write about. I’ve been getting in a rut lately with my words and pictures to write about these short little stories I love to tell and share…

That’s me in my Dad’s writing room called “The Shack,” which he would eventually want to write in. But, he didn’t get a chance to really put his work into the work he built of this beautiful little place. It’s a small structural hiding in Tula that bursts with glows of red from flames bouncing from the walls and ceilings as candles burn the night away. If you crank open the windows and listen down below from your view to the pond, you will hear a fish top the water, a bird chirp from its branch, crickets and bugs letting you know of a peace, a bullfrog bellow deep throughout the hillside into this room or possibly a sound that makes you say, “oh s**t, what the hell is that?” But I get to write in here some when I want to. But I’m learning I have to write in here more than when I want to. I’m lucky he left this here for us. For me.

The name on my shirt and hat and the beer bottle in the picture all say “Brown”. The typewriter in my hands was his ,and its gone from white to a faded brown color. There used to be a note on the top of it that reminded him every day to “Think of Tula” and “Kick Ass.” I guess age got to it, like it does most things. It doesn’t say to kick ass anymore or to think of Tula. Most things turn either bad or good with age. I always wonder what age is going to turn me to. Good? Bad? Hell, I ain’t worried about age…

My sister, LeAnne, and Billy Ray helped me watch my mom and dad work hard all their lives; they taught us those things too. We had nice things, but they never came easy. No one ever saw what we did behind closed doors: the nights, the hours, the when, the wants, the why, the needs, the… but we have always been proud of our last name. Hard work eventually pays off. Ask that guy on my shirt if that is true. Or call that guy on my hat and ask him the same. You have to keep going, even if you don’t have something coming in. You have to be broken before you can be fixed. Maybe age will catch up to me, or maybe age will teach me…

I never finished this story last night and erased it from my phone. I did have it saved and written down on sheets of paper. I thought it was no good. I didn’t like it. But something changed…

I woke up this morning to a text from someone that talked about inspiration that they got from my dad and me and asked why I wasn’t writing. They said it helped them grow in life, and they talked about what all he did for others: that he wasn’t just a writer, that he was a subject. That never dawned on me… the subject.

I’m running a usual route this morning down Highway 334 when a delivery truck is in front of me, taking its time. I’m in a hurry, but I never pass him. I stay behind him and watch him gain speed and linger over the yellow lines. We get close to an intersection and I start hitting my brakes. I’m easing down on my speed and his stays the same. I watch the vehicle and cringe…

BOOM!!! This guy never saw the stop sign as he was crossing a major highway. He got cut and flipped and landed on his side. The vehicle that hit him, luckily, spun out of control into the yard about 60 yards away from the accident. No one was injured but only rattled and shaken; someone should have died. I helped at the scene and helped the young man who was at fault out of his vehicle. He was in shock and scared. I asked him if he was alright and he told me he was fine, but that he probably didn’t have a job anymore. I patted him on the back and said, “Yeah, well at least you have your life.”

I drove back home to the dairy, slowly after that. My hands were still shaking from the accident and thoughts on my mind. I thought about how I’ve been wasting my time with what I really want do in life and how something so sweet and so innocent can be gone in a second. I’m glad no one got hurt today…

I got off work tonight and went straight to the The Shack. It was 7:29 when I sat down and the flames were bouncing off the red walls, and that was the earliest I’ve ever seen them glow.


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 and Rilee — and makes his home at “A Place Called Tula.” He can be reached at msushanebrown@yahoo.com.

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