My neighbor Big Country and I are hanging out by the fence, as we do most mornings. It’s cold: the steam from my coffee's fogging up my glasses, and this makes Big Country laugh. He’s in a t-shirt and overalls, barely flinching in the ten degree weather.
We’re talking about music, or at least I’m pretty sure that’s what we’re talking about. With Big Country, you only grab, at best, one out of of every three words, so it’s often a “I’m reading one line below where I should at the eye exam” kind of situation. Uhhhhhhhhhh, is that an M? Wait, what, Q?!
Big Country’s “talm bout” this and that, pausing here and there to hawk chew into this Tennessee Titans cup. I've never discussed music with my enigmatic neighbor, largely because, aside from calling out requests for Rhinestone Cowboy from his porch, BC's never really been super engaged with what I do for a living. And that's fine: I am, after all, a fedora-wearing weirdo, and Big Country's more than likely a criminal. There's an unspoken understanding between us that our conversations, while wide-ranging and entertaining, won't stray too far from neutral territory.
That said, I ask Big Country how he feels about music. He glances at his dog (aptly named Little Country) and the American flag hanging undisturbed above his garage- things that carry meaning, things he loves.
“Shit Trevor,” he declares, “the world needs more beautiful things.”
With that, BC farts loudly, scratches his belly and heads back inside his house which he never heats (in his words, why spend money on bullshit?).
I’m thankful for my clearly insane, redneck buddha of a neighbor. When I moved to Nashville, I expected certain things- incredible music, blisteringly spicy fried chicken, Brooklyn transplants scowling from behind cash registers at hipster coffeeshops, etc- but I never imagined my most edifying conversations would be with a maniacal moon shine distiller.
Wisdom is everywhere, provided we’re open to receiving it.