Loaves and Fishes
Fourteen years ago, there was a young photographer who walked up to you on one of her first assignments. She was a little nervous about asking your name as she was surrounded by celebrities and believed you might be someone she should already know. As it happened, you graciously told her your name (and spelled it) without the slightest whiff of irritation. If I remember right, she hid her surprise pretty well, because the name was all too familiar. In an effort to both educate herself and intensify her personal humiliation, she went home and looked you up.
Months later, after she had met approximately seven thousand new people, the same thing happened again. And again, you were a class act. You even went so far as to shake her hand and make her feel appreciated when in fact, you could just as easily have walked away or made her feel small.
Now, all these years later, this woman has taken your picture maybe thirty times. Out of habit, she pays close attention, not to the way people look but to the way they behave and you my friend, have earned your own special category. Granted, she doesn’t know anything about you personally. You may go home every night and kick your dog, but she doubts it. You have a habit of looking at people instead of through them which leads her to believe that you might treat the guy who mows your grass with the same respect you’d offer to your colleagues. No press agent will ever figure out how to manufacture that.
Everyone probably knows by now, that you are likely the greatest guitar player in the world. She thinks they might also like to know that Soul Man was more than just a song.
Cemetery trees, north Nashville
of living in a neighborhood where three organic apples cost $9.14 (Inglewood Kroger) I’ve decided to plant an apple tree in my backyard and encourage everyone I know to plant one also.
Yesterday I took our old friend Walter Burns over to Wayne’s Unisex Salon on Gallatin Road, for a haircut. He likes going there because the people are nice and Mike does great haircut. I like it because part of the year, they have fresh honey and it is impossible to predict who’s going to walk through the door next.
Walter’s been hounding me to get a haircut for a couple of weeks now. It is no surprise that he’s managed to charm a woman at Fifty Forward into something of a courtship. He’d die if he knew I told it but the two of them hold hands on the bus every morning. They talk all day and play bingo together on Thursdays. They sing church hymns and God Bless America around a piano. I told him I was going to write about it because people need to know there’s hope.
He said: “Hope for what? Improved personal hygiene?”
Well yeah, that too.
Between the bank and the home improvement store.
In 2005, Christine Kreyling wrote a piece in the Nashville Scene about Evergreen, a historic Nashville property built around 1790, at the corner of Gallatin Rd. and Briley Parkway. It was bulldozed by developer Robert N. Moore after 5pm on the same day he applied for the permit to tear it down. Despite an affidavit to the contrary, Mr. Moore claimed he didn’t know there was a stop work order on the property. To be clear, in the story the words: “willful ignorance” and “bureaucratic malfeasance” are used in the same sentence.
The point of bringing it up now eight years later, is based on a portion of the story whereupon Mr. Moore escapes legal responsibility after cutting a deal with the city. Ms. Kreyling wrote:
"Metro is now negotiating an agreement with White (Mr. Moore’s attorney) that would absolve Moore of legal liability for the violation. What Metro gets in exchange is $3,000 to cover the cost of three days of archaeological investigation of the site. The agreement also requires Moore to preserve two log outbuildings that escaped the carnage, and to use some of the ancient timbers of the main house as an historical marker.”
It is not clear if this became the (official) agreement but one thing is undeniable. What’s left of this sad piece of Nashville history is today imprisoned behind a chain link fence, wedged between a Home Depot, and a Region’s bank. For those who see it regularly, the irony is nauseating. An indirect followup to Ms. Kreyling’s story by Stephen George, may provide some insight as to why the property is all but buried. An internet search however, yielded no explanation for why Nashville continues to tolerate such things.
Ruby Chapman – that’s her son Ed sitting on the left there, is about to turn a hundred years old. She says “a life of hard work on the farm” was the secret. Her kids finally insisted she leave the farm and move to Nashville. I asked her if she liked it and she made a face that said: not so much, though she does like going to the senior center. She’s invited her doctor to the birthday party.
Thursday night dance.