Some years ago, after losing almost everything and hitting the road, Donna still had a little rental house that the bank didn’t take. It was on lower Second Avenue. It was built in the late 1800s and had the original fireplace and lighting fixtures, one of which was an Art Deco piece of blown glass. She had turned it over to a management company to take care of it. We had traveled, and when we returned to Nashville and checked out why we weren’t receiving any money out of it, we found that the agent had embezzled money from the company and had taken off. He had not managed the property, which had ‘fallen between the cracks.’ The house had become a crack house and ‘TAZ,’ a temporary autonomous zone for homeless people and junkies.
The carpet had all been torn up, and the house had been pillaged of the foam padding, which was apparently something that could be sold. The beautiful fireplace mantle was ripped out, the light fixtures stolen, and the bathtub was through the floor and full of feces. There were feces on the walls, and urine splashed the height of what was obviously an actual pissing contest. The house was a wreck. Donna called the insurance company, which sent an agent to survey the damage. Wearing a face mask and gloves, he entered the house for about one minute. Upon exiting, he informed us that we would stay out of the house until he could get professional cleaners to come and sanitize it.
Within a short time, there was a settlement paid to Donna to be able to hire a construction company to make repairs. We decided to save what money we could and had the skills to do the repairs ourselves. Sleeping in our van parked in the driveway at night, we worked hard every day. Our friend Edmond stayed in one of the sanitized rooms, and helped us with the repairs. Edmond was well known in Nashville as one of the great ‘undiscovered’ rockers. He got around and knew lots of people. He even ‘rubbed elbows’ with several famous people.
One day, Donna and I had been working really hard on the house to get the bathroom back in shape. I was missing one part to be able to fix it and therefore have an indoor toilet. As I was bolting out the door to make the Home Depot before it closed, Edmond and a friend arrived and walked toward the door.
“Hey, Lance! What’s up?” Edmond says.
“I must make it to the Home Depot before it closes!” I said.
“Well, I thought I might come to see you with my friend here.”
“That’s great, but I really have to go right now, or we will be one more night without a toilet!”
And with that, I nodded at the friend and said, “Sorry!”
The guy smiled and nodded.
Home Depot Bound
I jumped in the van and sped off to Home Depot. About halfway there, I got a picture in my mind of the fellow there with Edmond. He was not particularly tall, with a shaggy, almost mullet styled haircut, and a slightly bulbous nose,…. OH MY GOD! I think that was Jeff Beck! Edmond was bringing one of my biggest guitar heroes over to meet me, and I just blew them off to make a run to Home Depot! AAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHH!
Oh well, at least the toilet worked that night.