Tuesday, March 6, 2012
MEET DEPUTY DAWSON BROWNING
Dawson Browning is a deputy sheriff assigned to Halo, Oregon and the surrounding rural countryside. The wide open Eastern Oregon rangeland fits him as comfortably as his well-worn cowboy boots. He's not an adrenaline junkie like some of his law enforcement peers looking for nonstop action, but finds great pleasure in assuring the citizens of Halo they are safe.
Genie Gabriel: Dawson, why did you go into law enforcement?
Dawson: So I didn't become a criminal.
G: You're known for your integrity and determination to see justice done. Please explain that statement a bit more.
Dawson: When I was a teenager, I was very angry. Mostly at the woman who gave birth to me but couldn't be a mom. But also at the system that labeled me a loser without even knowing me. When adolescent hormones and attitude kicked in, I was determined to prove I was a loser. Not many choices of friends in a small town, but I fell in with Reid Weston, who is now the sheriff. We made some stupid choices and had some scrapes with the law. I don't know why, but Bill and Audrey Chambers saw some good in me and gave me a place to stay. Bill also provided a boot up my butt when I needed it. Didn't take me long to find a straight path with that motivation.
G: And you continue to live at Bill and Audrey's ranch?
Dawson: Yes. Their son, Cayle, and I got the bunkhouse when we were teenagers. Cayle is a wanderer--not home much--so I stayed on to help Bill and Audrey. They took care of me, now I help with chores around the ranch and make sure they're safe.
G: You take great pride in protecting the citizens of Halo.
Dawson: Yes, I do.
G: But lately, there's been a lot of trouble.
Dawson: More than I've ever seen. Used to take Bigsy Dalton to jail once in awhile for silly stuff like stealing a gorilla costume from an old store. It was a way to make sure he and his brother, Charlie, were doing OK. I'd order supper for them and they'd let themselves out of the cell when they were done. And occasionally, bored teenagers would cause a ruckus. I lived that. I can deal with it, and it provided news for the grapevine. But lately, things have turned serious. A black market for prescription drugs operating in the county. Then people getting hurt when Marly O'Shea started digging for the birth mother of a stolen baby.
G: You didn't like Marly much at first.
Dawson: <grins> My body liked her too well. But she was a caseworker. Had more than enough of those when I was a kid.
G: But she wasn't like those caseworkers.
Dawson: Turned out not to be. She took her job seriously. But stirred up a bigger pot of trouble than any of us could have suspected.
G: And you ended up working together.
Dawson: Personally and professionally. Never thought a blunt-spoken redhead would turn me inside-out and love me like Marly does.
G: So you think Marly loves you?
Dawson: I know she does. She just doesn't want to admit it. But she married me and moved into my bunkhouse. That should count for something. <laughs>