Blue. Brett decides the shirt must be his. Couldn't be anyone else's. He throws it into his traveling bag. Now he needs to find only one more shirt for the trip. Why is the outside world so complicated? A golf shirt to play golf.
The house is on Irvin Farve Road in Kiln, Miss., a dead-end dirt road that finishes at a still stretch of water called Rotten Bayou. On a hot day, of which there are many here, a visitor arrives in a small tornado of red dust. Almost 10 years ago the road was named after Brett's dad, which seemed logical since he was the local high school football and baseball coach and no one but Favres and their relatives lived on the road anyway. The sign was misspelled, which is not so bad because that is the way the name is pronounced. People can figure it out.
As for Kiln, the n is dropped by local speakers. The town of 7,500 residents usually is called the Kill. The question would be "Where does the hottest young quarterback in the NFL live in the off-season?" The answer would be "The Kill." People can figure it out. This is home.
"People say, 'You're the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers and you still live at home?' " Brett Favre says. "Well, I could be other places, but I can't think of one I'd rather be. Where else could I have so much fun? That's what this is all about. Having fun."
He is 23 years old and as uncomplicated as a Sunday afternoon. Natural. Where else could he fall out of his water bed every day and land in a family party? His grandmother Mee-Maw lives in that little trailer down the road and makes the best gumbo on the Gulf. (Mee-Maw's real name is Izella French, but Brett and his brothers began calling her Mee-Maw and their other grandmother Maw-Maw when they were little. The names stuck.) There always is someone around who will play a little golf or maybe go over to Biloxi or Gulfport and do a little gambling on one of those new paddleboat casinos. There always is someone around to have a beer, to start a barbecue. Where else is every day the Fourth of July?
"I remember the first long trip I made," Brett says. "Senior year of high school. The class trip. We went from here to New York and Boston. We raised the money ourselves with all kinds of projects. I went to a restaurant, a sandwich place in Boston. The guy said, 'What'll you have?' I told him I guess I'd have a shrimp po'boy. He just looked at me. I tried to explain what a shrimp po'boy was. I wound up with a submarine sandwich."
The wheels and gears of the Great American Celebrity Machine only now are starting to turn. There has not been time yet to turn him into a 6'3", 220-pound plastic package, to make him accustomed to limousine living and large sums of money and everyday fame. Everything is still new. He basically has had one electric season in the NFL, last year, when he came off the bench for the Packers in their third game and never sat down again, rejuvenating the team, at one time passing for more than 200 yards in each of 11 straight games. The team missed the playoffs only on the final Sunday. He wound up in the Pro Bowl. He showed again and again that he could throw the football. Then he came home.
"Reporters would ask me where I got my arm," he says. "I always thought it was from my father, but now I think I got it from my mother. She got mad at me last summer and threw a pastrami sandwich and hit me in the head. Hard. She really had something on that sandwich."
"I was really mad," says Bonita, who is a special-ed teacher at Hancock County High. "I was running the four swimming pools in the area, in charge of 12 lifeguards. They were driving me crazy, the lifeguards. I told all of them if it started to rain, I would call and tell them whether or not to close the pools for the day. I told them not to call me. I would call them. Well, it started to rain, and this one lifeguard calls me. I was just fuming, and Brett, he's sitting in the kitchen just laughing at me. I had this pastrami sandwich in my hand, and I just let it go, mustard and bread flying all over the place...."
"I didn't even know what pastrami was," Brett says. "Except that it hurt."