Yesterday, all our troubles seemed so far away. Road trip, Day Two.
“Woke up. Fell out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head.”
Day Two of our adventure to Louisville to secure Sir Paul McCartney’s autograph on The Beatles-themed piano found us in White House, Tennessee. It was an unanticipated detour due to repeated breakdowns of the East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity truck in which the piano was being transported.
We had caught a few hours of sleep after our 2 a.m. arrival and a middle-of-the-night visit by the White House mechanic who attempted to fix the truck. Following our overnight stay, if you could call it that, at 7 a.m. we awoke ready to forge ahead. But first, we opted for a quick bite at the hotel buffet.
Now I ask of you, how many people can say they have enjoyed breakfast at the White House with the President?
Okay, technically, it was the White House Holiday Inn Express, and the President of East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity, Debbie Crouch. But still, it provided a good laugh to start the day.
I continued to provide updates to our Sir Paul contacts to keep them apprised of our transportation delays, hoping this would not cause complications.
In the original proposal for the autograph, I had requested that five people could accompany the piano to the venue: the Habitat president, the artist, myself and two lifters. The response was that this was too many people and that only one representative of the charity and two “heavy lifters” could be present to help offload. It was emphasized that no one would be meeting Sir Paul.
When we had confirmed that the Habitat truck with lift gate would make the trip, I requested that the artist could be substituted for one of the lifters, serving instead as a “heavy roller.” With all of the time she had invested in the piano, she really wanted to be present in the venue, even knowing the opportunity to meet Sir Paul or be present for the signing was not an option.
Habitat Re-Store manager/driver Eric Jones was to serve as the third lifter, and I would remain in the hotel until all was done. But the closer we were to our destination, and the more Debbie suggested that she really wished I could be present after all of the time invested in making this happen, the more I wished the same. So with much trepidation, I sent one final email, requesting the opportunity to serve as the second assistant in moving the piano.
“Of the very few people who are aware of this journey and sworn to secrecy, all have asked the same thing: how I could have worked so hard the past two months to try to make this happen and not be present for the signing?” read my email.
“My answer has been twofold: 1. My focus has always been about the autograph and the cause, not me, and 2. I am not a heavy lifter. But because we have confirmed use of a lift gate truck, we now needed three ‘heavy rollers.’ Even then, I requested that we sub the artist for one of the two lifters, and didn’t think to ask of the possibility of subbing as well. One local magazine literally ‘stopped the presses’ so we could add this story, which I’m working on at present, ready to drop into place with a picture of the coveted autograph.
“So as the event draws nearer, hopefully it’s not too late to make that final request,” I continued. “As Sir Paul sang in a Wings song fondly recalled from my teen years….’Let Me Roll It.’ I never imagined that song could apply to pushing a piano that was about to feature his autograph. So it is with utmost gratitude for all that you have done that this final request is submitted for the three piano ‘rollers,’ with required contact info copied below.”
Then we anxiously awaited a reply.
Meanwhile, around 8 a.m. CST, we departed for Louisville, which allowed for plenty of time to make the 2 p.m. EST designated arrival time. That was the plan, anyway.
Based on the prior day’s events, we should have anticipated that things don’t always go as planned.
We celebrated as we finally crossed the Kentucky state line. But that merriment was short lived when the Habitat truck resumed the similar pattern of sputtering and chokes of the day prior.
All along the way, Debbie was becoming more and more unnerved by the 18 wheelers that got a little too close to our crawling brigade. Finally, when she could take it no more, she exclaimed in what could only be described as Debbie’s version of road rage cursing: “God bless America! Could you get any closer?”
Wild woman, she is.
And so as the truck continued to fail, we coasted into yet another unanticipated pit stop, this time in Franklin, Kentucky.
As we exited the interstate, we noted a diesel repair shop slightly right of the exit ramp. This would turn out to be one of the most fortunate events in our series of seemingly perpetual misfortunes.
To be continued.