Listen! Do you want to know a secret?
Listen! Do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?
—The Beatles, “Do You Want to Know a Secret?”
October 31 began with the confirmation that the Habitat truck repairs had been completed. The good folks at B.I.R. Truck and Trailer Repair, who had graciously towed it to specialty repair center Neely Coble Co. in Nashville, advised us that they would be unable to make the drive to pick it up and bring it back to Franklin until early afternoon. We opted instead to check out of the hotel, park the UHaul in which the piano was stored at B.I.R. and make the one hour drive to Nashville ourselves.
And so two hours later, we were back in Franklin, ready to transfer the piano back into the Habitat truck. By then, we were able to disclose our secret mission to B.I.R.’s Galen Tronnes, who just four days earlier had assisted us in moving the piano from the Habitat truck to its emergency replacement so we could continue our road trip to Louisville.
Galen was pleasantly surprised to learn the details of the adventure for which he had provided invaluable assistance.
Though he knew that the cargo moved from one truck to the other was a piano, the Ringo Starr autograph had remained covered during the transfer. Now, the piano featured the addition of Paul McCartney’s sig as well.
Galen happily posed for a photo with the uncloaked piano, smiling and making a peace sign in honor of the upcoming East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity’s gala’s new theme, “Peace, Love and Hope for the Future,” as inspired by our two-Beatle adventure.
It was a photo that weeks later would be featured in the local paper, The Franklin Favorite, along with a Letter to the Editor sent to thank the local folks for their hospitality and celebrate their contributions toward the Beatles fairy tale.
With the piano transfer completed, it was time to return the UHaul to Franklin Self Storage and finally head home. We were also able to share the truth about our adventure with Dena Cantrell, who had been so helpful in providing the unplanned truck rental when we were rushing to make it to our destination on time. She, too, was tickled to learn of the part she had played in the journey.
We then had one more important stop to make before our departure: a return to Cooters Barbecue.
The night prior, when Habitat ReStore manager Eric Jones was speaking via phone with his wife, Kentrell, he advised her that was having the most amazing Cooter Pie. The next morning, when Debbie and I asked if he had enjoyed his dessert, he told us that when he mentioned it to his wife, she was caught off guard by the name, and asked him if he was being disrespectful. With a deadpan expression on his face, he advised us that he assured her it that the treat’s name was derived from the name of the establishment at which it was purchased.
“But it really was out of this world,” Eric said, smiling.
Of course, we were amused by this anecdote. So we knew that a stop at Cooters to pick up another slice of pie, this one for him to bring home to Kentrell, was mandatory.
Of course, we had to snap a few parting shots to document the occasion.
A quick fueling and fast food drive-thru pass, and we were on our way. Because quite a few folks were inquiring as to our status, we provided social media posts announcing that we were on our way home, with occasional updates as to our progress.
One of the more heated (literally) posts, about an hour into our return, was as follows:
“Things that I have learned during this journey:
“Debbie Crouch is a rebel. She likes to enter parking lots through the exits. But there was that one time in which the lot only had an entrance sign and she could not find the way out.
“Eric Jones is a warrior who has an amazing spirit of adventure and ‘whatever it takes’ attitude. What an asset he is to the East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity.
“I am no longer allowed to navigate unless we want to take the scenic route.
“One should never, ever reach for the camera to document those storms when a cup of hot chili is on your lap.
“And most of all, I get by with a little help from my friends.”
Yes, I really was wearing remnants of the cleaned up chili mess when that post was made. But it didn’t matter. We were headed home and all was good with the world.
With the passing of each state line, a sentence or two updated folks as to our progress.
Then on November 1, shortly after midnight, we celebrated the final post of the road trip:
“The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear.
I’ve seen that road before.
It always leads me here.
Lead me to your door.
Hello, Slidell. So happy to see you.”
To be continued…