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Volu m e 14

| Nu mber 9 | A pr i l 15 - 29, 2020

Losing Legends

JOHN PRINE, PAGE 9 This Old Man Is Goin’ to Town

JOE DIFFIE, PAGE 11

Pay Your Last Respects A Quarter At A Time IL L U S T R AT IO N B Y H A R R Y S MI T H (@H O T B O Y C O F F E E )


a pesar de ser un miedo común tampoco nos ayudará a avanzar. Es hora de darse cuenta de que la gente no debe temer a sus gobiernos; son los gobiernos quienes deben tener en cuenta a su gente. Tenemos voz y cuantos más seamos, mejor. Puede ser la pregunta sobre nuestra "raza" sea el problema.

Si yo fuera el gobierno, también estaría preocupado. Contar los 330,562,930 millones de personas que viven en nuestro país, no es tarea fácil, y con los hispanos siendo casi 20% de este número (y creciendo) no podemos Por Yuri Cunza permitirnos otro con- La Noticia Newspaper Editor in Chief teo insuficiente (como en el 2010). Una encuesta del Centro Pew dió como resultado que 1 de cada 5 personas generalmente no participa, citando falta de interés y desconfianza crónica al gobierno.

IN THE ISSUE La verdad es que es posible que no estemos preparados para un esfuerzo tan titánico. Y ahora hablemos un poco de los hispanos. No solo es confuso sino disfuncional no esperar preguntas sobre la cooperación de las comunidades no tradicionales que a menudo se identifican con adjetivos tan duros que los hacen inmediatamente elegibles para no ser elegibles para recibir servicios gubernamentales y básicamente para cualquier derecho básico. Esto tiene el potencial de traducirse en miedo a participar, pero no solo eso, podría causar la indiferencia intencional de una comunidad en crecimiento con el mayor potencial.

Con suficientes razones para preocuparme, decidí probar esta posibilidad preguntando a miembros de nuestra estáticamente invisible comunidad hispana sobre el Censo y, para mi sorpresa, 2 de cada 3 mostró interés en ser contado, pero la mayoría, estaban preocupados por ser “identificados” debido a la falta de un estado migratorio permanente o definido. El entendimiento de por qué el Censo 2020 es importante para asegurar la financiación de la edu-

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cación, la atención médica y la infraestructura se le pasó a la mayoría. Incluyendo por qué los datos del censo determinan los distritos electorales y, por lo tanto, los puestos para los funcionarios electos que podrían ser fundamentales para aquellos atrapados en el limbo de un sistema de inmigración que no refleja la realidad.

Caso en cuestión: el coronavirus COVID-19 está afectando desproporcionadamente a hispanos y otras minorías, precisamente a ese talento de fondo desapercibido, que mantiene el espectáculo para la mayoría de nosotros quienes continuamos disfrutando de "servicios esenciales" proporcionados por una "fuerza laboral esencial”.

¿El gobierno le dará dinero a Tennessee si me cuentan? Un joven hispano preguntó medio sorprendido, medio escéptico. Pero, ¿a dónde vá ese dinero si siempre me rechazan debido a mi estado legal? Agregó, dándose cuenta de la complejidad paradójica del problema. "También somos importantes", señalan-

Conoce tus derechos: ¿Que hacer en caso de una redada?

por

1. Mantenerse callado 2. Sólo dar nombre y apellido 3. No mentir 4. Nunca acepte/lleve documentos falsos 5. No revelar su situación migratoria 6. No llevar documentación de otro país 7. En caso de ser arrestado, mostrarla Tarjeta Miranda (llámenos si necesita una)

Basados en la Quinta Enmienda de la Constitución, los derechos de guardar silencio y contar con un abogado fueron denominados Derechos Miranda luego de la decisión de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de Estados Unidos en el caso Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, de 1966.

do la pregunta 8, que se refiere específicamente al origen hispano, latino o español que necesitan las agencias federales para supervisar el cumplimiento de las disposiciones antidiscriminatorias, como la Ley de Derechos Electorales y la Ley de Derechos Civiles. Los gobiernos estatales y locales pueden usar los datos para ayudar a planificar y administrar programas bilingües para personas de origen hispano. -Sería excelente ¿verdad?, pero luego sigue la Pregunta 9 ¿Cuál es la raza de la Persona 1 ?: Blanco; Negro o afroamericano; Indio Americano o nativo de Alaska; Chino; Filipino; Indio Asiático; Vietnamita; Coreano; Japonés; otro asiático; Hawaiano nativo; Samoano; Chamorro; otro isleño del Pacífico; alguna otra raza... Geez!! a estas alturas, alguien debería ofrecer un paquete combinado de censo de 2020 y exámen de ascendencia genética. Intentar comprender la falta de interés implica primero aceptar que vivimos en tiempos difíciles y confusos. La desconfianza al gobierno, el miedo y la apatía,

Nuestra sociedad estadounidense ha cambiado significativamente su opinión sobre la raza; la clasificación de las personas, las políticas sociales, los desarrollos científicos e incluso las leyes han cambiado principalmente debido a las prioridades políticas. Hace dos décadas batalleé tratando de decidir si era "rojo" u "otro" en un formulario federal; ser “otro”, no me ayuda mucho a aclarar las cosas. Ahora es hispano, latino o español, pero ¿estamos mejor?. Los antiguos griegos alrededor del año 400 a.c. diferenciaban a las personas por cultura e idioma, pero no por diferencias físicas. Los africanos eran aceptados como ciudadanos griegos si adoptaban el idioma, las costumbres y la vestimenta. Grecia, como Roma, trató a todos por igual, ya que esclavizó a las personas independientemente de su apariencia. He elegido la oportunidad de ayudar con el conteo; confiando en que cuanto más sepamos, más preparados estaremos para enfrentar futuros desafíos y oportunidades. Está en NUESTRAS manos el MEJORAR las condiciones PARA TODOS. Incluyendo aquellos conside-rados a veces como una amenaza demográfica "alienígena" de otros mundos. ¿Eres homo sapiens-sapiens? podría ser una mejor pregunta. Solo espero que esta sea una pregunta que todos estamos dispuestos y listos para responder.

Cathy Jennings, Chair Tom Wills, Bruce Doeg, Demetria Kalodimos, Ann Bourland, Kerry Graham, Peter Macdonald, Amber DuVentre

Envíenos sus sugerencias por e-mail: news@hispanicpaper.com

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La Humanidad vs. T-Rex Coronavirus

Si la crisis actual fuera una serie continua de ataques de T-Rex en lugar de COVID19, estaríamos cazando al tiranosaurio hasta la extinción y por una buena razón. No aceptaríamos los ataques del T-Rex como una amenaza más para los humanos, como los accidentes automovilísticos. A diferencia de las otras causas principales de muerte que a muchos les gusta mencionar, como la gripe, el cáncer, el suicidio, etc. T-Rex está dificultando el tratamiento de todas las demás enfermedades. Esto se debe a que T-Rex puede comerse rápidamente a todas las personas enfermas, las personas sanas, tus padres, tu bebé, tu artista favorito, tu abuela, tu enfermera y tu médico. T-Rex te comerá antes de que puedas morir de SIDA, cáncer, suicidio, etc. ... Incluso si él no te come, T-Rex puede tomar tu trabajo, tus ahorros, tu tiempo y tu libertad cuanto más tiempo permanezca vivo. A T-Rex tampoco le importan tus creencias políticas ni de dónde crees que él vino. La buena noticia es que T-Rex morirá si no tiene a nadie a quien comer. Esta es la razón por la cual ejercer tu derecho a ser comido por T-Rex infringe los derechos de aquellos que desean morir más tarde que en este mismo momento. Por favor, haz tu parte para matar al T-Rex. - Cameron Parrish

Nonprofit Spotlight

The Great Outdoors

Moving Pictures

La Noticia + The Contributor

A local nonprofit started when a longtime Contributor vendor left a friend $1,000 in a duffle bag after he passed away.

Even under Tennessee’s stay-at-home order, walking outside is allowed. We explore your greenway options.

The Innocence Files interrogates the American justice system on Netflix. And we give you podcast reccomendations.

La Noticia, one of the leading Spanish-language newspapers in the nation, brings Spanish content to The Contributor.

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Contributor Board

Contributors This Issue Amanda Haggard • Linda Bailey • Holly Gleason • Hannah Herner • Harry Smith • Joe Nolan • Sandra Amstutz • Mr. Mysterio • Ridley Wills II • Tyrone M. • Anthony G. • Maurice B. • Jaime W. • Vicky B. • Yuri Cunza

Traducido por Yuri Cunza

Contributor Volunteers Joe First • Andy Shapiro • Michael Reilly • Ann Bourland • Patti George • John Jennings • Janet Kerwood • Logan Ebel • Christine Doeg • Laura Birdsall • Nancy Kirkland • Mary Smith • Andrew Smith • Ellen Fletcher • Richard Aberdeen • Shayna Harder Wiggins • Pete MacDonald

Cathy Jennings Executive Director Tom Wills Director of Vendor Operations

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!

Hannah Herner Staff Writer Jesse Call Housing Navigator Barbara Womack Advertising Manager Amanda Haggard & Linda Bailey Co-Editors

Andrew Krinks Editor Emeritus Will Connelly, Tasha F. Lemley, Steven Samra, and Tom WIlls Contributor Co-Founders

Editorials and features in The Contributor are the perspectives of the authors. Submissions of news, opinion, fiction, art and poetry are welcomed. The Contributor reserves the right to edit any submissions. The Contributor cannot and will not endorse any political candidate. Submissions may be emailed to: editorial@thecontributor.org Requests to volunteer, donate, or purchase subscriptions can be emailed to: info@thecontributor.org Please email advertising requests to: advertising@thecontributor.org

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The New Christian Year Selected by Charles Williams

Charles Walter Stansby Williams (1886–1945), the editor of the following selections, is today probably the third most famous of the famous Inklings literary group of Oxford, England, which existed in the middle of the 20th century, and which included among its ranks the better-known and longer-lived Oxford Dons J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis—but he was arguably the most precocious and well-read of this eminent and intellectually fertile group. He was also known to have influenced Dorothy Sayers, T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden. Lacking a proper degree unlike his fellow Inklings, this genius Cockney-speaking author, editor, critic, and playwright was eminently well-versed in both philosophical and theological writings of the remote past as of the present day (the mid-20th century) and used this familiarity to good effect in his poetry, supernatural fiction and his lesser-known devotional selections designed for the spiritual benefit of the faithful in the Church of England. This series of profound quotations, encompassing all walks of life, follows the sequence of the themes and Bible readings anciently appointed for contemplation throughout the church's year, beginning with Advent (i.e., December) and ending in November, and reaches far beyond the pale of the philosophical and theological discussions of his day. It was under his hand, for instance, that some of the first translations of Kierkegaard were made available to the wider public. It is hoped that the readings reproduced here will prove beneficial for any who read them, whatever their place in life's journey. — Matthew Carver

Easter Week Wednesday THE will of the Creator shall gather together man's dust, shall renew it, and make of it the temple of glory; the body shall lead his companion, the soul, into the bridal chamber and there comfort her; and the body filled with sorrow in Hades shall rejoice, and the body that hath despaired shall give praise for his redemption, and that over which the foolish despaired shall receive great mercy. St Ephraem Syrus: Hymns.

Easter Week Thursday THE Word, leaving his Father in heaven, came down to be joined to his Wife, and slept in the trace of his Passion, and willingly suffered death for her, that he might present the Church to himself, glorious and blameless, having cleansed her by the laver, for the receiving of the spiritual and blessed seed which is sown by him who, with whispers, implants it in the depths of the mind, and is conceived and formed by the Church, as by a woman, so as to give birth and nourishment to virtue. For in this way, too, the command "Increase and multiply" is duly fulfilled, the Church increasing daily in greatness and beauty and multitude by the union and communion of the Word who now still comes down to us and falls into a trance by the Memorial of his Passion. Methodius: Banquet of the Ten Virgins.

Easter Week Friday IT belongs to God alone to bestow beatitude upon souls by a participation with Himself; but it is Christ's prerogative to bring them to such beatitude, inasmuch as He is their Head and the author of their salvation. Aquinas: Summa Theologica. NONE can be eternally united who have not died for each other. Patmore: The Rod, the Root, and the Flower.

Easter Week Saturday AFTER the meeting was over I went to John Audland's, and there came John Story to me and lighted his pipe of tobacco. And said he, "Will you take a pipe of tobacco?" saying, "Come; all is ours." And I looked upon him to be a forward bold lad; and tobacco I did not take, but it came to my mind that the lad might think I had not unity with the creation. For I saw he had a flashy, empty notion of religion. So I took his pipe and put it to my mouth, and gave it to him again to stop him lest his rude tongue should say I had not unity with the creation. George Fox: Journal.

First Sunday after Easter NOT for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up in life. These are words by which the slanderers of the nature of the body, the impeachers of our flesh, are completely overthrown . . . We do not with to cast aside the body, but corruption; not the flesh, but death. The body is one thing, death another . . . What is foreign to us is not the body but corruptibility. St John Chrysostom: On the Resurrection of the Dead.

2nd Monday after Easter GIVE yourself up to ever so many good works, read, preach, pray, visit the sick, build hospitals, clothe the naked, etc., yet if anything goes along with these or in the doing of them you have anything else that you will and hunger after, but that God's Kingdom may come and His will done, they are not the works of the new-born from above and so cannot be his life-giving food. For the new creature in Christ is that one will and one hunger that was in Christ; and there-

fore, where that is wanting, there is wanting that new creature which alone can have His conversation. William Law: Letters.

2nd Tuesday after Easter ACCORDING to the Scriptures we have been taught that death is threefold. One death is when we die to sin, but live to God. Blessed, then, is that death which, escaping from sin, and devoted to God, separates us from what is mortal and consecrates us to Him Who is immortal. Another death is the departure from this life, as the patriarch Abraham died, and David, and were buried with their fathers; when the soul is set free from the bonds of the body. The third death is that of which it is said: "Leave the dead to bury their own dead." In that death not only the flesh but also the soul dies, for "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." For it dies to the Lord, through the weakness not of nature but of guilt. But this death is not the discharge from this life, but a fall through error. St Ambrose: On the Death of Satyrus.

2nd Wednesday after Easter CHRIST was common to all in love, in teaching, in tender consolation, in generous gifts, in merciful forgiveness. His soul and his body, his life and his death, and his ministry were, and are, common to all. His sacraments and his gifts are common to all. Christ never took any food or drink, nor anything that his body needed, without intending by it the common good of all those who shall be saved, even unto the last day . . . He ate and he drank for our sake; he lived and he died for our sake. Ruysbroeck: Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage.

2nd Thursday after Easter THE Word was from the beginning and therefore was and is the divine of all things; but now that He has taken the name, which of old was sanctified, the Christ, He is called by me a New Song. St Clement: Address to the Greeks. HE called us when we were not, and willed us from not being to be. St Clement: Epistles.

2nd Friday after Easter JEHOVAH’S salvation Is without money and without price, in the continual forgivness of sins, In the perpetual mutual sacrifice in great eternity: for behold, There is none that liveth and sinneth not! And this is the covenant Of Jehovah: "If you forgive one another so shall Jehovah forgive you; That He Himself may dwell among you." William Blake: Jerusalem. JOSEPH wraps the body in a clean linen cloth, in which same linen sheet were let down to Peter out of heaven all manner of living creatures; whence we understand that under the representation of this linen cloth the Church is buried together with Christ. St. Hillary, quoted by Aquinas: Catena Aurea.

2nd Saturday after Easter GRANT me, O most sweet and loving Jesus, to rest in thee above every creature, above all health and beauty, above all glory and honour, above all power and dignity, above all joy and exultation, above all fame and praise, above all sweetness and consolation, above all hope and promise, above all desert and desire, above all gifts and presents which Thou

Sponsored by Matthew Carver, publisher

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art able to bestow or infuse, above all joy and gladness which the mind is capable of receiving and feeling; finally, above Angels and Archangels, and above all the host of Heaven, above all things visible and invisible, and above all that falls short of Thyself, O Thou, my God. Thomas à Kempis: Imitation.

The Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist WHO has taught the evangelists the qualities of a perfectly heroic soul, that they paint it so perfectly in Jesus Christ? Why do they make Him weak in His agony? Do they know how to paint a resolute death? Yes, for the same Saint Luke paints the death of Saint Stephen as braver than that of Jesus Christ. They make him therefore capable of fear, before the necessity of dying has come, and then altogether brave. But When they make Him so troubled, it is when He afflicts Himself; and when men afflict Him, he is altogether strong. Pascal: Pensées. [LOVE said] What! Most of all, did I not make a loveday between God and mankind, and chose a maid to be compere [companion], to put the quarrel at end? Thomas Usk: Testament of Love.

Second Sunday after Easter THERE is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. But what is Repentance? Not the last and noblest and most refined achievement of the righteousness of men in the service of God, but the first elemental act of the righteousness of God in the service of men; the work that God has written in their hearts and which, because it is from God and not from men, occasions joy in heaven; that looking forward to God, and to Him only, which is recognized only by God and by God Himself. Barth: The Epistle to the Romans. ALL things in motion desire to make known their own proper movement, and this is an aspiration after the Divine Peace of the whole, which, unfalling, preserves all things from falling, and, unmoved, guards the idiosyncrasy and life of all moving things, so that the things moved, being at peace among themselves, perform their own proper functions. Dionysius the Areopagite: On the Divine Names.

3rd Monday after Easter WONDER not then that all the true followers of Christ, the saints of every age, have so gloried in the cross of Christ, have imputed such great things to it, have desired nothing so much as to be partakers of it, to live in constant union with it. It is because His sufferings, His death and cross were the fulness of His victory over all the works of the devil. Not an evil in flesh and blood, not a misery of life, not a chain of death, not a power of hell and darkness, but were all baffled, broken, and overcome by the process of a suffering and dying Christ. Well therefore may the cross of Christ be the glory of Christians! William Law: The Spirit of Love.

Easter Week Tuesday FAITH becomes hope through repentance, as does fear through faith; perseverance and exercise in these, united with instruction, are perfected into charity; and charity is perfected into knowledge. St Clement: Stromata. EACH one creates his god, when judging, "This is good or bad"; and men mourn or rejoice too much at events. Pascal: Pensées.


A BOUT US

Letter from ‘The Contributor’ B Y A M A ND A H A GG A RD & L IND A B A IL E Y, C ON T RIBU T OR C O -E DI T OR S Housing saves lives. There’s absolutely no denying it. Advocates and service providers around the city have been pushing for years to help people on the streets find housing, to otherwise find spaces for them to exist during the day, to work with them to find healthcare and food and more. The coronavirus pandemic has turned working with people experiencing homelessness and the outreach involved in meeting people where they are completely on its head. What happens if you have the virus, meet with someone to fill out some paperwork, meet with another person to help them sign up for food stamps, pick someone up to give them a ride to their campsite? Not doing any of those things feels wrong, but the chance of spreading the virus to someone already vulnerable feels worse. Much of it feels like an impossible choice. Many, if not most, nonprofits were spread thin before the pandemic — and many are operating on skeleton

crews now. The city has made strides in working with service providers to set up temporary shelters in places that will allow for more distance between people, though some people on the streets may not be able to get to a new temporary shelter. Group housing like the Nashville Rescue Mission or Room In The Inn doesn’t exactly work if people aren’t supposed to be in groups. A playbook for how to handle this situation, with an already broken system that was not working for the poor and most vulnerable, is being written on the f ly. Metro has added 14 sanitation stations with portable restrooms around the city to encourage people to stay in their camps. They’re organizing food box drop offs to camps as many of the large weekly meals have been forced to close. Outreach workers are educating people on how to practice social distancing and what to do if they think they are sick, and helping people find ways to charge their phones. But there is still so much that needs to happen in Nashville to make

sure people experiencing homenessles — who already have an average lifespan 20 years lower than someone with housing — can stay safe through this pandemic, which of course allows everyone to stay safe during this pandemic. We must find a solution in Nashville that puts people into individual spaces. Many other cities are putting people experiencing homelessness into hotels, closed down nursing home facilities, and other spaces that can act as temporary housing. Advocates have been saying for years that housing is healthcare, and this situation only emphasizes this point. A vendor for The Contributor recently told us she had ventured out of her home in public housing for the first time in three weeks to pay her rent and medical bills. She didn’t want to be late — hadn’t made a late payment in eight years, but she was fearful to leave. “I didn’t feel brave,” she said. “I felt more like the wife from The Road.” In Cormac McCarthy’s novel The

April 15 - 29, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 5

Road, the wife is unable to face the brutal post-apocalyptic world. To put it extremely lightly, she doesn’t have many options to go on and her journey ends most sadly. Her ver y real fear makes it impossible for her to move on. Plenty of people say that f lattening the curve and helping to stop the spread of the virus is as easy as staying home. That’s true, but there’s fear in the invisible threat for many people when they do have to go out. As those of us who are housed stay home to keep ourselves and others safe, we must remember to advocate for others to have access to stable housing. It’s something that’s true whether a pandemic is happening or not, but the need is now more acute than ever. Removing barriers of any kind to keep people safe and healthy should be our priority. Shelter in place because you should, but use your voice however you can to advocate for those who don’t have a place to.


NONPROFIT SPOTLIGHT

UNLOCKED GIVES KEYS TO WOMEN CLIMBING OUT OF HOMELESSNESS BY HANNAH HERNER When Ray Ponce de Leon died, he left a duff le bag full of money for Alexis Cook. Ray was The Contributor’s first vendor, and Cook had become his adopted granddaughter. Cook took that money to start Unlocked, a jewelry business that employs and houses women while helping them out of homelessness. Ponce de Leon and Cook met through a program in which Vanderbilt students visited residents at Mercury Court, a housing complex run by Urban Housing Solutions. “We just really hit it off,” Cook says. “You wouldn’t think we had a whole lot in common because I was 18 and at that point he was in his mid-60s, but we just started talking about Chick-fil-A and we realized we both spoke Spanish, so we started talking over people’s heads. We really became good friends.” They’d grab lunch together, and she would scribe songs for him. The two were bonded further when they were hit with medical issues around the same time. Cook was diagnosed with Lyme disease, and Ponce de Leon was diagnosed with cancer. She had to take a semester off from school, and during that time she took him to treatments. With extra time on her hands, Cook says she felt led to connect with people experiencing homelessness without the structure of a nonprofit. “I started thinking there should be an organization that provided wages while addressing barriers that people experiencing homelessness face,” she says. “Actually a lot of the people I was meeting were Contributor vendors.” With this idea swirling in her head, she visited campus, and got locked out of her car. She and her to-be business partner Corbin Hooker sketched out a little plan for an organization called Unlocked while waiting for spare keys to come. But she couldn’t decide if it was the right thing to pursue. On his deathbed, Ponce de Leon told her about the money he had set aside. And a couple of months after Ponce De Leon passed, she and his good friend Chuck C., also a Contributor vendor, retrieved the duffle bag. It amounted to a little over $1,000 a piece. That was enough to file for LLC status, buy some equipment and employ the first maker. “I had been walking him through my thought process the whole time and he had been helping me think through it,” Cook says. “I had never experienced homeless-

ness, so I really appreciated his input of what would be useful, what would not, and what different services we should provide.” A partnership with Urban Housing Solutions and Community Care Fellowship enables Unlocked to get their jewelry makers into housing first. Part of Unlocked’s model is the pathways program, which brings in nonprofits to help with career and personal counseling, and financial empowerment. Once in, they can begin to offer these services, and set goals. One of Unlocked alum Gwen Johnson’s goals was to teach art therapy for children. Now, she’s graduated from Unlocked and does exactly that. Before Unlocked, she had just moved to a safe house from the Nashville Rescue Mission, and was supporting herself as best she could through making jewelry with Poverty and the Arts. “They were still in college when they hired me! They put confidence in me,” Johnson says. “They saw something that I didn’t see in myself. It’s not that I was giving up on myself or anything like that. I was just taking it slow. They pushed me over the limit, like ‘hey you can do this.’ Even though I’m much older than they are, they sort of molded me into the person that I am now. I still have schizophrenic tendencies and I still have trust issues, but because of their love that they showed me, I’m able to give more back and I’m able to relax more around people.” As the company continued to grow, Cook and Hooker decided it was important that the products they were making were ethical to the environment, too. They created their own system of wax molds and recycled silver. When current maker Carolyn Neeley started at Unlocked in February, she had been living with a family member. Diagnoses of Crohn’s and celiac disease, among others, had sidelined her from her career since 2016. While at Unlocked, she’s working up the funds and confidence needed to get her mortgage license again. “Being able to get up and go to work and be in my own place, not living in someone else’s house, makes me feel so much better. It’s helped my self esteem, everything,” Neeley says. “They don’t look at you as this poor pitiful thing, they look at you as an individual that needs some support and they’re willing to do that.” Ponce de Leon was key to getting this organization started, even though he didn’t live to see it started. “It’s been quite a journey, but it truly only is possible because of Ray,” Cook says.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF ALEXIS COOK & SOULBEAM STUDIO

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NEWS

MEAL PROVIDERS SERVING FOOD DURING COVID-19 Visit homelessnashville.com under “Provider Updates” for the latest changes in homeless services. For now, these are the meals that are continuing in Nashville.

ROOM IN THE INN

Serving lunch curbside Monday through Friday. A mandatory free ticket is available beginning at 6 a.m.

COMMUNITY CARE FELLOWSHIP (KEN & CAROL’S)

Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday for to-go breakfast and lunches, laundry, showers and hygiene item distribution.

The Great Outdoors, Pt. 1 I THINK I’LL GO FOR A WALK OUTSIDE NOW BY HANNAH HERNER Even under Tennessee’s stay-at-home order, walking outside is allowed. And Davidson County’s Greenways are designed for just that. Walkers, bikers, strollers and dogs can continue to share these trails as long as a six foot physical distance is maintained. For the first part in a series on getting outside during the pandemic, we talked with Cindy Harrison, assistant director for Metro Parks, about staying safe while getting the most enjoyment out of Nashville’s greenways. What are the characteristics of a greenway? Cindy Harrison: They are mostly paved, they are multi-use and they’re off-street. So the idea is to get people away from vehicular traffic, to make it safer and more enjoyable, to increase green space in the city, and to make really meaningful connections. So we connect parks to neighborhoods, to commercial areas, dog parks, access to rivers for kayaking. We connect neighborhoods to schools, playgrounds, nature centers, picnic areas. It really brings people to areas you wouldn’t see if you were in a car — natural areas. Wildlife is abundant across the greenways. If you were just in your car, you would miss a lot of this. What are the safety guidelines we should follow during COVID-19? If the trail is crowded, try to come at

a different time, or maybe find another place to walk if you can’t maintain that six feet distance. If you have a pet, keep it on a short leash. One important thing is if you’re passing someone — whether you’re on foot or on a bike — call out, so that if you need to step aside, or maybe you have to take longer to pass somebody, you can make sure it’s safe. Just take those extra precautions. Bathrooms and water fountains most likely won’t be available, so take care of that before you leave the house. Just try to be respectful. Maybe we’re all slowing down a little bit, just to accommodate. How extensive are the greenway trails? We have right at 100 miles of greenway trails, and they’re spread out across the county. Initially, they were based on the eight main waterways in Davidson County: Mill Creek, Harpeth River, Stones River, Seven Mile Creek, Cumberland River (and that includes Shelby Bottoms), White’s Creek, Brown’s Creek, and Richland Creek. And in addition to that, we started doing urban greenways as well. So we have the 440 Greenway and the Gulch Greenway downtown. Do you have a favorite greenway? What are some hidden gems? I love the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge. It’s such a beautiful vista. You

can see downtown, you have the natural beauty of the river. Mill Creek Greenway has a lot of wildlife, and it’s in the middle of neighborhoods, so that’s pretty amazing! I also love the Gulch Greenway, and especially once we complete it. It’s such a vibrant downtown area that it’s a lot of fun to be on that trail. And we’re really trying to increase the green space in the urban areas with so much development going on. I guess there’s not a single greenway that I don’t like. They’re all hidden gems, really. You can get out and feel like you’re in the middle of nature and you’re really just a mile away from neighborhoods and the city. How have parks and greenways come into play with the stay-at-home order? I think people are feeling very cooped up. If you can’t get out and see your friends or do the normal things you want to do, but if you need to get out of the house, they’re a great resource. They’re a great resource for mental health as well as physical health. You can be on the greenway and maintain your safe distance, but still see people, and feel like you’re not isolated. More i n format ion, i nclud i ng maps, visit greenwaysfornashville.org

April 15 - 29, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 7

LOAVES AND FISHES

To-go hot lunch available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at Holy Name Church, 508 Main St.

PEOPLE LOVING NASHVILLE

Meal on Mondays at 6 p.m. at War Memorial Plaza, located at the corner of 7th and Union in downtown Nashville — just outside of War Memorial Auditorium.

BRIDGE MINISTRY

Hot meal Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. near the Jefferson Street bridge.

GREEN STREET CHURCH

Grab-and-go meals available Wednesday evenings from 6 to 7:15 p.m. at 146 Green Street.

DOWNTOWN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

Handing out breakfast bags Saturday mornings at 8:30 a.m. at 154 5th Ave. N.

FIRST CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE

Meal distribution from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoons at 510 Wooodland Street.

NASHVILLE RESCUE MISSION

Both campuses are still serving three meals a day to all guests staying at any location.


COVER STORY

John Prine This Old Man Is Goin’ to Town BY HOLLY GLEASON John Prine stepped over the monitor at the Carefree Theater on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach, looked down, winked, said, “Hi, Holly!” and proceeded to laugh. He was power-strumming “LuLu Walls,” and he was fired up. Something about that song got him bashing hard, a noted contrast to the ruminative sketches of the human condition that had pulled me to him as a barely teenager. Having just taken a full-time job at the Palm Beach Post, my interview for the Miami Herald hadn’t run. He hated interviews, I’d been told, but we’d ended up talking a couple hours about life, old school Nashville, listening to WSM-AM, Midwestern values and Mr. Peabody’s Coal Train. He had a big sense of humor about being “John Prine,” an object of obsession for enough to keep his lifestyle afloat, but not exactly a household name. After the show in that old movie theater, we sat on a couch, where he made the pitch for A Tribute to Steve Goodman, a Chicago-folkie-grounded tribute to his best friend, who’d died. Willie Nelson just had a No. 1 with “City of New Orleans” to help make sure the three Goodman girls got their college education paid for: Prine was doing his part to maintain the legacy of his running buddy. That was the thing about John: He was never really in it for himself. Over the years, he’d be in all kinds of places, doing all kinds of things, but mostly, he liked to stand back and grin, watching people and taking in all that joy. Wasn’t long before John got a great idea. His younger manager was an overly serious, somewhat awkward type. Maybe he’d play a little cupid, do what had to be done. Our first date could’ve been funded by John’s American Express card, except I wanted to go to Krystal. “Keep her,” he advised when he heard where we’d had dinner. And so, barely much more than a kid, I started spending so much time on the road with the dark headed songwriter, Garry Fish, his Sancho Panza tour manager, and Dan Einstein, my soon-to-be third ex-fiancee, Fish joked, “We saw you more than our wives those years.” It was Wolf Trap in the spring when the heat soaked through John’s jacket and left him in a clinging soggy tank top. You could literally wring the night air out. There to write the bio for German Afternoons, I was standing in the wings, watching the zealous fans pressing into the stage, reaching up for him like the masses in “Tommy.” I was terrified. Turning to Fish, I half-squeaked, “Do something!

They’re going to hurt him.” “Hurt him? They love him,” came the response. “Look...” They did. The sold out crowd rocked gently as they leaned over the front of the stage, singing the songs softly when it was a ballad like “Sam Stone” or “Hello In There,” more raucous for “Blow Up Your TV” or “Illegal Smile.” It was a revival, but also a moment to reconnect with who they were. That was the magic: who you were, as you are. Enough, plenty, seen for the cracks and broken places and loved almost more for them. Still, John wasn’t pious. He’d take over the Bridal Suite at the Peabody Hotel and have three and four day poker parties, breaking only to have cocktails and watch the ducks march in the lobby. One night, flown in from LA on a record company junket, I turned up super-late, thinking they’d still be rocking, only to be met by a sleepy-eyed Prine in striped pajamas, hair akimbo, just shaking his head. Scanning my companions, he chuckled, admonishing, “Choose wisely” as he shut the door. When I got fired from The Palm Beach Post — accused of being on the take from Southern Pacific and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, as well as sleeping with Sam Kinison — John decided Dan and I needed to go to Europe. Passport packed, we embarked on a whirlwind tour of folk festivals across England and Belgium; touring the country in a vintage Daimler, we took in the countryside, realized how loneliness, emotional scars, alienation and indignation wrapped in humor were universal. It was a magical trip, except for the part where my eyes wouldn’t stop leaking. Standing in baggage claim in Belgium, John first brought chocolate only to receive more tears; then flowers and more

tears; finally, a little stewardess doll, and yes, even more tears. The tour was renamed the Pack, Unpack & Cry Tour. But that was John: He’d never get mad. He knew none of what was said was true — “my God,” he teased, “the alimony alone, they couldn’t have afforded you!” — but he hated seeing the pain. Whatever it took, he was my Huckleberry. And I wasn’t alone. There was nothing like being charged with taking John to Dan Tana’s for dinner. Old Hollywood kind of hang, white linen pasta and all sorts of characters hanging around. Tucked into the elbow of Santa Monica Boulevard, he loved the thick darkness that almost swallowed the candlelight whole. Laughing, we’d talk about records, gossip about people we knew, sometimes wait for Dan to get off work. Occasionally run into someone he knew. You never knew who, only realize when you saw legs that weren’t attached to a waiter at the edge of your table. It was that thing he had that pulled people to him. Twice I looked up, and — oh, crap! — it’s Bob Dylan, who would sit down, and just start talking.

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Part of what made John so precious was his ability to love all without bias. People were good or not his kind. When Dan and I were getting to the end, we made the trip to Dublin for a merging of musical worlds TV taping called “Sessions.” Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Marty Stuart, the O’Kanes, Rosie Flores, Flaco Jimenez and Guy Clark were part of the American contingent — and it was a week of entirely too much everything. Dan had promised not to work, and immediately forgot the promise. To make it up to me, I was asked if I wanted to visit Windmill Studios with John. Prine being friends with Cowboy Jack Clement had entre with U2’s people. Windmill was their studio. I said, “Yes, of course,” and got to be there when John saw Fiona for the first time. It’s funny how life works. John was trying to coax back Rachel Peer, his then-wife who’d taken off and had surfaced in Dublin, actually playing bass for his taping. I hated the idea. The pretty dark haired studio manager with the great laugh seemed to be so much more right. Two nights later in the deepest hours, I spied them tucked into a banquette at the bar holding hands. Dan and I wouldn’t make it, but John and Fiona somehow managed to transcend an ocean, the road and his idiosyncratic life. But in the inbetween, there are so many polaroids of still life with John. Tracking up in the hills above Sunset with Howie Epstein, pushing


COVER STORY himself to really deliver a record that pressed into the rock undertow, scraped away the hurt of a busted marriage and opened up the sacred hope of new love. The Missing Years was amazing in the generosity of “All The Best,” that hung like so many little white lights across a brutal tableau of being crushed, the humanity consuming fame of “Picture Show,” the jaunty new love shuffle of “I Want To Be With You Always.” The first run-in after the break-up at Roseland during the annual CMJ Convention. Having run down to the windy hall for soundcheck to make sure I could get in to see him open for Johnny Cash, the stage hands hadn’t known what to make of me; but didn’t want to make a mistake and leave some kid out in the cold. When John got there, they pointed to make sure he knew me, and when he came over, it was another gentle admonishment. “There were more Holly Gleason sightings than Elvis sightings during CMA Week, and you never called,” he said, looking me dead in the eye. “And I just want to remind you: I was your friend first. Without me, Dan would’ve never been able...” I was red in the face. Hot, embarrassed, devastated. Even then, he couldn’t hold my feet to the fire. Putting his hand under my chin, he smiled, “Never ever come back to Nashville and not call.” Kind of like “Summer’s End.” That lulling chorus, “Come on home... come on home...” It’s an invitation, and a prayer; it’s a lullabye and a meditation on having a place in the world where you just are. Welcome, safe, at ease, protected, loved. It was a world that could expand as needed. Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings wasn’t just a snappy title. He knew how to bring people in, wrap his arms around them, see what was beautiful about their spirit, and it was never the big stuff, either. I can see him, another crazy late night during a three day stand at the CoachHouse in San Juan, Capistrano. A massive table surrounded by people, Harry Dean Stanton in a sombrero crooning Mexican folks songs, as the assembled drank tequila and reveled in the moment. And there was John with that Cheshire grin, smiling at the euphoria bubbling around him instead of eating his enchiladas. I can see him at a ‘40s feeling local hall outside Sarasota, Florida, surrounded by the people he loved. Music, food, streamers for his 60th birthday. When the band wound down, and the Brothers Prine had played “Paradise,” leading us through the final number, we adjourned to a pier. Standing there, in a cloud of friendship and love, fireworks lit up the sky as John and Fiona embraced. I can see him, walking down the narrow stairs at some old British theater ahead of me. He’s got some stuff bundled up in his arms, cowboy boots poking up, a bottle of Aqua Velva sticking out of the one boot shafts. It was such a classic moment of manliness, unforced, just real. I can see him, walking up to me at Baja Burrito with his tray, asking me if it would be OK to set down and have a late lunch with him. “Of course, silly,” I said. “It’s always good to see you. Any time, any place, anywhere.” I can see him at another CMJ, years later, standing on the stairs in his black top coat and jeans. He’s ready to go, and can’t figure out where I’ve gotten off to. I’d been talking to a new guy friends from Cleveland had turned me onto, who’d recorded his first album at their studio. The guy wasn’t much impressed with me, but when Trent Reznor saw John waving me to come on, he almost fell out of his chair. “You know him?” “He’s like my uncle....” I can see him, in that kitchen on Lindawood,

with the not quite yellow wallpaper with the pineapples, candlesticks lining either side of a small table-sized bowling alley, laughing and rolling strikes. When the people started leaving, he showed me a perfect vintage Wurlitzer jukebox, stocked with the best classic singles. “You know how I got this?” he asked. “Stevie.” Then he started telling a tale about touring in the South, AM car radios and old school hillbilly stations. The two friends got so high on the classic country by the time they hit New York, they decided to write the perfect country song. Only they did it trading lines in Sharpie on the wall of the fancy hotel they were staying in. When the boozy haze cleared, John told his friend if he’d take the fall, he could have the song. The jukebox was his publishing money. Every time I’d hear David Allen Coe kick off the redneck national anthem of “You don’t have to call me darlin, darlin’...,” I’d smile at the secrets I know. Sometimes I’d look at John and he’d wink. I can’t remember the day many years later Dan Einstein called. “I don’t want you to hear this from someone else. John has cancer.” My heart stopped. “Don’t worry. We have the best people at MD Anderson. They’re on it. John’s on it.” “I’ll pray.” Somehow I knew. Having finally found Fiona, having two darling sons — Irish twins born 10 months apart, plus young Jody Whelan, Fiona’s little boy — and an even larger family in Ireland to love, he would fight with everything he had. Scrappy Chicago mailman, former Army mechanic, son of a ward healer. My money was on John: things were going his way, he wasn’t going anywhere soon. I would get updates; I would do laps on my rosary. I would squeeze my eyes shut, and beg God not to take him. And God heard me. One day Dan showed up at my house, rang the bell. “Come on out, let’s talk.” My heart sank. “John’s made a record. Duets with country girl singers. He wants you to do the press.” “Al will never go for it.” Al Bunetta didn’t believe in publicists, John was a critics’ darling. “John’s already taken care of it.” And so after a career of Patty Loveless, Rodney Crowell, Lee Ann Womack, Asleep at the Wheel, Tim McGraw, Emmylou Harris’ Spyboy and Matraca Berg’s Sunday Morning To Saturday Night, we dug in for In Spite of Ourselves, an album of deep vintage country with one new original sing with Iris Dement known for the line, “I caught him once, he was sniffin’ my undies.” It was, for the most part, heaven. When I asked John, “Why a record of duets instead of your own songs?,” his eyes sparkled. He told a central truth: “I like singing with girls. I can sing with me any time.” He did TV. He did interviews. He did too many interviews. He got mad at me. “I feel like a piece of meat,” he barked on the New York sidewalk as early crush of rush hour people parted like the Red Sea around us. “I don’t like it.” “But it’s good! People are going to know this record is out...” “No, I feel like meat. MEAT! Do you get it?” “Yes,” I said emphatically, knowing the USAToday photographer was set up in the bar of the Edison Hotel, waiting to get the picture for the cover story that was booked. I needed to break the momentum, and I needed to get John back into the cocktail lounge. “I get it. You feel like meat, like you’re being

pimped, and you know what? You’re right! You... are... right. But you know,” I paused for some tension, “I may be a whore, but I’m your whore.” Black Irish rising, my voice kept getting louder. His eyes kept getting wider. When I dropped the coup de grace, he couldn’t believe I went there. Busting out laughing, he grabbed me in a hug, and went, “Good Lord.”

“Down on the beach, the sand man sleeps/ Time don’t fly, it bounds and leaps/ and a country band who plays for keeps/ play it so slow, singing, ‘Don’t let your baby down...’” We were in McSorley’s in no time, the shooter snapping and popping the flash as the bartender poured John a cocktail. It was quick work, happy hour was coming on. We all had places to be, and I had calls to return. It wasn’t long ‘til I got a call. “We’re downtown in an Indian restaurant. We’re gonna go see Willie at the Bottomline. C’mon out, Cinderella, and have some fun. You work too much.” They ordered some Tikka Masala, waited while I ate — and off we went. The Bottomline with John is probably a lot like the Vatican with the Pope. We watched Shelby Lynn, went out to Willie’s bus, where I was once again gently admonished, “Whatever you do, don’t smoke Willie’s weed.” “John, I don’t smoke pot.” “Well, people get excited around Willie.” Watching the two masters visit, I was silent. The love and respect, the courtesy and grace with both men was astounding. They laughed some, talked about Kristofferson a little. Then it was time for Willie to hit the stage. Getting off the bus, John whistled low. “Wow,” he said. “I’ve never seen you that quiet ever.” The little details never escaped him, moments cracked open and revealed the tiniest truths that only he saw. It was incredible to watch the way he painted what everyone else missed. Dan called me last weekend. “I don’t want you hearing this from anyone but me. It’s bad. He’s been intubated. With all the cancer that hit his lungs, this is a beast.” I started to cry. When I was a kid, a baby rock critic working so hard at getting it right, John figured out how to help me get to the other side. I grew up on the road, traveling the world as part of his ragtag bunch of gypsies. I got Al Bunetta to admit he was wrong about publicists after we blew up In Spite of Ourselves, or maybe Fair & Square. None of that really matters right now. As a stray, there are very few people who see all the way into your heart, who love the wild, the fierce and the formidable — who delight in your intellect, celebrate your wins and share their

April 15 - 29, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 9

best moments with you. John had done that for me my entire adult life, not because he liked how I held the mirror for him, nor because I could swim laps in songs like “Storm Windows,” “Unwed Fathers,” “You Got Gold,” “Christmas In Prison,” “Long Monday.” Just because was plenty. At the end of The Tree of Forgiveness, the droll “When I Get To Heaven” opens with John talking his way through his first moments with God. It’s a jolly ole number that’s part Dixieland, part whimsy and 100% pure fun. Listening to him revel through the high-spirited folly — singing of kissing a pretty girl on the tilt-a-whirl, smoking a cigarette that’s nine miles long and getting a vodka and ginger ale — it’s exactly what you’d expect. Turning sweetly serious, he confesses, “I’m gonna go find my mom and dad/ I wanna see all my mommas sisters/ cause that’s where all the love starts/I miss’em all like crazy, bless their little hearts...” It’s so dear, so small town kid returning to the roost. And that little kid who’d shoot with his pistol, but empty pop bottles were all he would kill, that little boy also rears his head, confessing, “And I always will remember, what my father said, ‘Buddy when you’re dead, you’re a dead peckerhead...I hope to prove him wrong, that is when I get to heaven.” Hearing John romping it up, heaven seems like a ball. Then again, John made everywhere a ball. Chewing that gum, stomping while he strummed, easing into hypocrisy with a level gaze and a few funny bon mots that left you nowhere to turn. Dan didn’t call the night Prine died. I got a text from an editor at HITS. All it said was, “Sorry,” and I started to cry. Funny how even in the carnage, in the many people who’re being taken from this earth, somehow it just didn’t seem like John would be one of the ones called home. All those songs, all those stories, all those faces to okay for. Each and every one so very precious. Whether you ever shook his hand, shared a meal or just marveled from the cheap seats, he knew you were there – and he touched you in a way you didn’t even know you could feel. I can see him now. My 17-year old cocker spaniel, my little child, had died, and I couldn’t get on a plane to Pittsburgh where I had work. Washed out, I ended up in DC where he and Steve Earle were sharing a sold out bill. Standing in the wings a couple decades later, the lights defused an almost halo around him as he exhaled those songs everyone knew by heart — and then after everyone was gone, I went down to say good-night. He took me in, considered my pain, gave me a hug that said he knew. It was that simple, but it was that complete. Heading into the parking lot, he called after us, “You drive careful... You’ve got things to do, and you’re very precious cargo.” That’s what I want to tell the angels right now. The ones from Montgomery, and California, Wolf Trap and the Ohio Theater, the Memphis/Muscle Shoals deep south contingent, the Austin and other Lone Star angels, as well as anyone who thinks they can fly. I can close my eyes, see John in a single spotlight, half-braying, “Down on the beach, the sand man sleeps/ Time don’t fly, it bounds and leaps/ and a country band who plays for keeps/play it so slow, singing, ‘Don’t let your baby down...’” Whoever you are, wherever you are, pay heed. Today’s country bands don’t play for keeps, but John Prine comes from a place where those things are incontrovertible. All you have to do is close your eyes, wrap your arms around your soul and listen.


COVER STORY

Joe Diffie Pay Your Last Respects A Quarter At A Time BY HOLLY GLEASON Joe Diffie loved The Palm, the original one on Sunset near the curve. Loved the way GiGi, the maître d’, treated him “all classy, and stuff.” He and his managers Johnny Slate and Danny Morrison used to pour in there for a late lunch, laughing like pirates over treasure, and order up big steaks, Lyonnaise potatoes, creamed spinach. They used to take me and my best friend Emily, known to all as “Piglet,” there, tell us stories about how Music Row used to be, the crazy writing sessions, the pranks played – and the good guys who were no longer. Last time I saw Joe, he was at the Opry a few months ago. S=Sliding offstage and into the darkness, escaping the bedlam, I hiss/whispered at him, and he pulled up short. Looking around, he spotted me, grabbed my wrist and pulled me away from the crowd. We both laughed about how sweet those days were, how vivid the characters. Emily died at 26, way too young. Today, at 61, Joe Diffie went to heaven – making me the last survivor of those bawdy, rowdy lunches. Hard to believe how memories melt in tears, lives slide down the drain and the survivors look around, blinking, knowing the difference in the ecosystem and marveling at how few people really understand what was lost. I first heard about Joe Diffie from Allen Brown, or Mike Martinovich, or maybe even Fletcher Foster. All hardcore Sony Nashville denizens, they trooped those hard traditional colors the way pageant queens flash their veneers: bright, blazing, without a pause. “George Jones, Holly,” came the play. “We’re talking George Jones, the songs, the tenor, the way he sings.” I’ll be the judge of that, I thought. Jones was lightning hitting liquor in a metal oil can. Good luck with that, Mr. Joe Diffie. And that first album cover with the blue tinted eyes! Oh, Lord. One more cowboy Casanova, with his mullet curling up. If only for the Cracker Barrel chic could I hold hope, and heavens, what hope there was. While everyone practiced some form of genuine country, most eschewed really leaning into the busted stuff, the honkers, the songs that wrenched your guts out, or sought to realign Friday night into a bad week exorcism. Whether the swing of “If The Devil Danced in Empty Pockets,” the bass-dropping Jones sweep of “New Way To Light Up An Old Flame” that dropped into a more Texas shuffle, the stumbling Buck Owens-isms of “Liquid Heartache” or the trenchant divorcing ground bruised tenderness of “There Goes the Neighborhood,” Diffie kept

his dignity t h roug hout t he emotional depths. Showcasing at Nashville’s low ceiling 328 Performance, he was an abashed, polyester-sporting hillbilly singer – and his voice had even more power and presence live. To say he fired me up was an understatement. Coming of age writing post-Urban Cowboy country and black music for The Miami Herald, I had a soft spot for the hard stuff. Jones, Gary Stewart, Waylon, Mel Tillis, Willie, Razzy Bailey, Mickey Gilley, Johnny Lee, John Conley, even Vern Gosdin set my career in motion – and the thick word play, vowels that stalled and started, notes that got bent like a wire hanger, as well as sneaky barroom piano, pooled pedal steel and thick layers of fiddle tickled me in ways that made no sense. Sure, I wrote for Rolling Stone, covering Cowboy Junkies, Edie Brickell, Michelle Shocked, the Bangles and Cameo, but I also was their go-togirl for Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, kd lang, Dwight Yoakam. Reviewed that first Clint Black album; fought for Keith Whitley’s obit. So in the tumble of rock criticism, country music was my dirty little (not so) secret. The Los Angeles Times sent me down to the Orange County, two-three times a week to the Crazy Horse, the Coachhouse, the Celebrity Theater in the round, part of a double life that included dinners with, shopping guidance and whatever else for too many of the ‘80s A, B and C List country stars. How was I to know one day, I’d be working at a label where Waylon, Dolly, Ricky Skaggs and especially Tammy were part of my life. Sure, I had the last glimmer of Rosanne Cash with the brilliant Interiors, but my responsibilities came more to breaking the next wave. Joe Diffie, cigarette dangling from his mouth, stretching the seams and buttons was right at the front edge of the foam. Raised in Oklahoma, a hard bluegrasser before getting his deal, he wasn’t Smithsonian-ing his primary influences. He came by his Jones, his Haggard, his Willie, his Gosdin

honest, it wasn ‘t studied, but osmosis from the jump. And A Thousand Winding Roads, his debut with “Home,” his first single and No. 1, captured the essence of classic country. With a title track that professed, Now the miles I put behind me ain’t as hard as the miles that lay ahead And its much too late to listen to the words of wisdom that my daddy said The straight and narrow path he showed me turned into a thousand winding roads My footsteps carry me away, but in my mind I’m always going home, the idyllic nature was evident. Not cloying, reductive or manipulative, just a genuine tugging for a place where all was simple, well, values held and promises made sense. He understood, he pined, but he never threw life into a Vaseline focused glaze. His singing chops were ridiculous. Everybody knew that. But so was his edge. He had a way of being exactly what he was, that wasn’t obstinate, just

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wa sn’t budg i ng. Early in my time as the head of Media & Artist Development at Sony Nashville, they started giving the “Joe Diffie Weight Loss Report.” A trainer and a nutritionist were ensconced on the road, determined to Crisco him into romantic balladeer land – so the company could take this hard country singer to the next level. Tragically, the number was always plus instead of less. Every week. Every. Week. What nobody got was Fast Eddie, his tour manager, would get him cheeseburgers in the middle of the night to keep him happy. No amount of strength training, cardio and prepared meals can beat that. Nature versus nurture; reality versus someone else’s will. Pure folly. “You know what?” I said four or five weeks in. “That number’s never going down. Face it: Joe’s a pig. He likes to eat, and he’s a big farm boy. That’s what they do.” The silence was deafening. My boss had that swallowed a bug look on his face. The label head’s molars clenched. Since no one was talking, I kept going. “Does anyone else realize there are more country music fans out there who look like Joe Diffie than look like Ricky Van Shelton? Collin Raye? Even Doug Stone? Let him be.” “Can you two finish this in your office,” the label head said to my boss. “Of course,” was his answer. An hour later, his “WTF?” was followed by “okay, break it down,” which I did. The next words were, “Write it up.” Like a kid in detention, I was sent to my office to write what became the Regular Joe memo...


COVER STORY Who he was/why it mattered/how to support reality. Explaining he was the genuine article, the memo suggested making him SuperBubba, the guy who was the king of the Jiffy Lube, the air conditioning repairman, the used car salesman, the long haul trucker. It was more complicated than that, but this isn’t the time for a marketing class. Martinovich, in his beautiful Armani suit, got it; called the managers to come over. Danny and Johnny looked like Jack Spratt and his wife: Morrison was squatty like a dorm refrigerator, Slate was tall and wiry like Stringbean. As I worked through the layers, they kept looking at each other and grinning. When I got done, they whooped, high 5’d and went, “We got this.” Of course, they did. They were the very same fabric. And so the album they were making morphed into Regular Joe, a high honky tonk in a post modern era kind of record. They revved up the redneck, dialed in the hillbilly – and created the album aimed right at the heart of the people media centers disdain. It didn’t patronize; it didn’t trope. It didn’t even Dogpatch, “Hee Haw” or Daisy Mae Clampett. Instead it swung from post-Hank Sr. in “Startin’ Over Blues,” to fiddle-‘n’cascading piano regret “Ain’t That Bad Enough” and the steel descending elegy for a love“Is It Cold In Here,” then whirled into Telecaster-slinging railroader “Next Thing Smoking” with stacked harmonies and an Elvis-evoking vocal nugget. But what really stood out was the self-defining title track; like “No Show Jones,” the 1992 CMA Male Vocalist of the Year nominee ramped up the tempo, threw some vocal javelins and professed that he would never get above his raising. Understanding the complications of lives and loves washed out, Diffie leaned into the adult places of modern country as the first wave of hot young guys appeared. He was more interested in what Haggard and Jones would’ve sung, the people they’d appeal – and he didn’t worry too much about Marty Stuart or Alan Jackson, Vince Gill or Garth Brooks. Our job was to protect the integrity of who he was, and that alone set him apart. As is often wont to do, promo showcases needed to happen. Beyond the Nashville play, the Roxy was booked – doors down from the Whiskey A-G0-Go, the West Hollywood club was intimate enough for people to experience his voice, to feel the power, the range, the sparks. If we did our job right, Joe would walk out the authentic hillbilly singer, not a searing traditionalist. To make the point, my boss agreed and greenlit Tammy Wynette coming to California. Tammy Wynette and I would wax on and on about certain vocal licks on different songs, mooning about how he’d bend and twist notes on a regular basis. She knew fearless vocalists – she’d been married to and sung with George Jones for years – and she couldn’t get enough. So, we asked. Tammy agreed to fly across the country, get spangled up, go out onstage and sing “Golden Ring.” What better endorsement or authenticator? Buck Owens sent a telegram, because he couldn’t get there. Benmont Tench from the Heartbreakers sat with Wynette, playing escort to the First Lady of Country Music so she could sit in the house – and Joe did exactly what you’d expect. No worry about being cool; no need to go find the hip songwriters. He was chalking up his own life, marking the betrayals and disappointments. Laughing after soundcheck, Joe and his managers were standing in the alley between the Roxy and

the Whiskey, the singer having a cigarette. “Wait’ll you see the encore,” they kept taunting. “Just Wait.” They wouldn’t tell, nor would they answer. Being who and what they were, they had no idea about how fast the room. After burning the club down, two standing ovations, back the band bounded onto the tiny stage. The guitar burned and bounced like a pogo stick, the lick obvious, but confusing. “Oh, God,” my best friend Emily said, the concern palpable. “They’re gonna play ‘Tush’.” The Los Angeles Times critic’s face cracked, then fell on the table. It was over. The triumph was lost. Benmont looked concerned, tried to smile. But leave it to Tammy, “He sure is tearing that ZZ Top song up.” The adrenaline was high. The show was unwound. The after-party was ahead. Climbing into an entirely too small car for all of us, “What did you think?” echoed like a canyon in my head. “What did you think? We’re probably gonna lose The LA Times... the writer was loving it, and then that...” “And then that?” Johnny or Danny guffawed. “That? THAT was our boy killing it.” They laughed and laughed and laughed. I tried to chide them. They laughed harder. Finally Joe said, “Well, if he aint’ gonna like me for that, he don’t have to like me at all. I don’t care.” And that was that. Calling the review tepid would be generous. No one spoke of it. No one had to. But the bigger point – which I would learn along the way – was they didn’t care what some fancy writer thought; they didn’t make records or play shows for the critics, but the working people. Joe Diffie was a working class hero, with a bunch of #1s and songs that made people laugh. Whether singing “I met all my wives in traffic jams” in “Pick Up Man,” or exploring the butterfly effect in the very redneck one thing leads to another rampage down at Smokey’s Bar that made“Third Rock from the Sun” irresistible, he understood connecting with exactly who his fans were. And how to make them laugh. When Honky Tonk Attitude was fixing to come out, I was known for blaring “John Deere Green” at peak levels, terrifying valets around own. Yes, “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox,” with its “Weekend At Bernies” video, became an Okie Irish blessing for the ages, but the idea of backwater farm boy using what he got to tell the girl? One July in the midnight hour, They climbed upon the water tower, Stood on the rail and painted a ten foot heart In John Deere green, on a hot summer night. He wrote Billy Bob loves Charlene in letters three foot high, And the whole town said that he should’ve use red But it looked good to Charlene in John Deere Green. In a world where things are set just so, Joe Diffie got the off-kilter. Thought it was pretty okay, and he leaned into it. “Bigger Than the Beatles,” with its retro video, suggested a notion of how powerful dreams are, how they can sustain us, take us places beyond our imagination. But the novelty and irony was never really the point. As he was starting to achieve maximum altitude, Mary Chapin Carpenter was also approaching a zenith of sorts. With what would be her breakout Come On, Come On in its final stages, the hard country singer was enlisted for an almost baroque ballad of adult engagement “Not Too Much To Ask.” There were no two people less alike; no reason

really — beyond label hybridizing — for them to ever sing together. Well, except that both had instruments that carried complicated emotions like desire and the fear of rejection, the hope for more against the knowledge of how fragile new love can be. The song earned a Grammy nomination. Seeing Joe and Fast Eddie Blount in the lobby of the Shrine Auditorium, you could feel the nerves of someone being recognized for work they were proud of. That’s the thing about music men, they’re always striving to do work they’re proud of. There was the gauntlet throwing “Honky Tonk Attitude” that defined the strip mall honky tonkification of America, even as he could unfurl the “You Don’t Have Very Far To Go”-evoking pain of “If I Had Any Pride Left At All” seamlessly. Figure this is a man who lived the songs he sang. Married almost as much as Steve Earle, with an including a very public affair with NASCAR widow Liz Allison, he embraced the messiness and disappointment of how happily ever after can unravel. It gave the sad songs a decided ring of truth, and it allowed him to go places with the ballads most people weren’t. Just as importantly, when radio went away, he found a freedom that allowed for even more expansion, more expression. Homecoming, which not only returned him to Appalachian heartbreak with Alecia Nugent, Sonya Isaacs and Rhonda Vincent on vocals, deftly worked bluegrass to the point where a hard-charging take on the Black Crowe’s version of Otis Reddings’ “Hard To Handle” lived alongside “Tall Cornstalk,” “Lonesome and Dry As A Bone” and “Rain on Her Rubber Dolly.” A secret handshake of sorts among musicians who know the difference, Kenny Chesney called me one night to see if I’d heard it. Raised as a bluegrasser at Eastern Tennessee State, he knew the difference – and wanted to turn me on. Even this fall, Diffie didn’t just issue a 500 piece vinyl-only re-recording of his greatest hits – called Joe, Joe, Joe Diffie playing with the signature line in Jason Aldean’s “1994.” He teamed with Louisiana roots rocker Marc Broussard for a steaming take on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride & Joy.” Joy. Yes, exactly. No matter what, there was a way to find joy. Life delighted the 61 year old, taken entirely too soon by the COVID-19 virus. He loved his kids, seeing them do well, find their way and their talents. He was proud, thrilled with just their being. Simple things seemed to matter. And everywhere you took him — TV show, photo shoot, some club – he made friends. Everybody liked him, because – seemingly – he liked everybody. Last time I saw Joe was that Saturday night at the Opry, where he’s been a member for over a quarter century. Sandwiched in on one of the Saturday night sets, he had his daughter with him, people wanting to shake his hand or get a picture. He couldn’t have been happier, smiling and nodding at the fans. It wasn’t about remembering how famous he almost was, or stroking an ego that required some vast tonnage of worship. Some country stars show up and believe they’re here for the fans. It’s not about making money, though they need to make a living, nor is it about a flossy lifestyle. For a lot of them, it’s making music — and staying connected. Right now, my eyes are swollen shut from crying, Between losing Joe and John Prine fighting for his life, it’s a bit too much take. When I heard the news Joe was under doctor’s care, I texted him — knowing there’s no contact when you’re in the hospital, which presumably “under

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the care of medical personnel” means. If you can’t have your family there, a quick note from an old friend. I never heard back, which seemed odd from the guy who’d Facebook IM with you for 20 minutes. Maybe he’d already slipped under. Maybe Danny and Johnny were cutting up, telling him to “C’mon! We got this place figured out. We know where the best room for your voice is.” Knowing Joe, though, it seems odd that he’d slip away like this. The yin and yang of Joe Diffie balances two truths. “Ships That Don’t Come In” is a quiet, elegant ballad that honors the people who never had a chance. Two beat up by life guys sitting on bar stools commiserating and macerating in wisdom, the older shows the younger a clarity that can be a compass. And as he ordered one last round He said I guess we can’t complain God made life a gamble And we’re still in the game... An elegy, it is also an homage to what might be. Not because it will, but because it could. As the hushed song quietly builds, there’s a tension. As the song sweeps into the final chorus, there’s a big vocal leap to an impossible note. Of course Diffie collects, gathers and nails it. That’s why he persevered in spite of everything. When you can believe in what could, you can find the grace to raise a glass, “To those who stand on empty shores And spit against the wind And those who wait forever For ships that don’t come in...” When you see that sort of embrace, you can find a zen ease to the ironic in “Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox (When I Die).” With a gospel piano that descends into a jaunty neo-Dixieland number, Diffie’s will to truly live after he’s gone speaks to that passion for what life holds. The opening gambit offers a true Christian embrace of the concept, as well as a strong sense of the things that he lives. Well I ain’t afraid of dying it’s the thought of being dead I want to go on being me once my eulogy’s been read Don’t spread my ashes out to sea don’t lay me down to rest You can put my mind at ease if you fill my last request Prop me up beside the jukebox if I die… Jaunty, a little silly, but maybe the way to go. When we’re gone, who wants their loved ones to be sad? And what good ole boy worth his Skoal ring wants to miss any of the action? It may not be conventional, but it’s absolutely honky tonk ever after after all. Siting here quietly, so much to say, and yet, how much more needs to be said, I can only smile. Beyond the obvious suspects, I wonder if Emily was standing off to the side, considering the husky singer, just like she did on Earth. “Hey, Joe,” she’d say, mouth turned up in a bow. “That’s so Hendrix.” “I know, Emily,” he’d say, looking into her eyes. “And it’s weird to see you like this.” “Don’t worry. Joe,” she’ll say. “Up here the music isn’t so segmented. I know where the good snacks are – and I can get you into some pretty cool places to write. I think you’re gonna like it here – and I know the angels are gonna love hearing you sing.”


ENTERTAINMENT

Available Now ‘THE INNOCENCE FILES’ INTERROGATES THE AMERICAN JUSTICE SYSTEM ON NETFLIX BY JOE NOLAN Film Critic Police procedurals and true crime programs of all sorts are trending before our eyeballs and in our ear buds courtesy of streaming docuseries and podcasts. The Innocence Files is a new Netflix series that scratches this same itch, but with a twist: It profiles innocent people behind bars and the struggles they face on a long road to freedom. The title refers to The Innocence Project, which was founded by former defense attorneys Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck at Cardozo School of Law in New York City in 1992. The organization was inspired by the advent of DNA evidence technology, which The Innocence Project has leaned on in its mission to free wrongly accused prisoners and even death row inmates awaiting executions for crimes they never committed. The Innocence Files reads like series-within-series with the nine episodes in its first season divided into categories: The Evidence, The Witness and The Prosecution. Some of the cases presented get followed for more than one episode. Some do not. The episodes also explore cases in different cities in various regions of the country. What holds the The Innocence Files together is its interrogation of the justice system as a whole. The Innocence Files argues that when innocent people are jailed

by a corrupt system it’s whole families, entire communities, and — ultimately — democracy itself that pays the price. I’m more of a police procedural geek than a true crime fanatic, and The Innocence Files offers a cornucopia of details about how crime investigations play out, and the tools and skill sets that inform them. The Evidence episodes of the series spotlight the field of forensic odontology, which applies dental science to crime investigations. An expert examination of the teeth of an anonymous victim might help to make a positive identification. On the other hand a bite mark on a victim might be treated like a fingerprint if a mold of the suspect’s teeth match a bite pattern on a victim’s skin. However, the patterns of our teeth change with age and dental history, and there is no science supporting the notion that dental patterns are unique — like fingerprints — between individuals. The Innocence Files’ fascinating excavation of the practice reveals that forensic odontology helped to convict Ted Bundy. It also put three of the series’ innocent prisoners behind bars. Neufeld and Scheck serve as the series’ protagonists — more realistic versions of the crusading lawyers we’re served in Hollywood

What Podcasts to Listen to 8 PODCASTS TO DISTRACT YOU, TEACH YOU SOMETHING NEW, OR MAKE YOU LAUGH. BY SANDRA AMSTUTZ Staying In with Emily & Kumail Writer/former therapist Emily V. Gordon and comedian/actor Kumail Nanjiani created the Staying In podcast as a response to our physical and emotional needs during this pandemic. With Emily being immunosuppressed, they discuss how they are dealing with the stress of the pandemic and her health as a married couple. They also created this show as a way to provide distraction recommendations and helpful communication and coping strategies to use while we’re all stuck in our houses. All of the proceeds generated from Staying In are being donated to charities helping those struggling as a result of the quarantine. Good One: A Podcast About Jokes Vulture.com senior editor Jesse David

Fox hosts this weekly podcast dedicated to the analysis of a perfect joke. Each episode features a comedian explaining the origins and development process behind some of their most successful material. Comedy Central roasts, stand-up bits, Saturday Night Live sketches and more are all picked apart and mined for the ideas and methods that crafted them. “Anthony Jeselnik’s Three Flights” is a great episode to start with as it dissects how Jeselnik can make seemingly offensive material undeniably funny. Inside Voices Kevin Porter creates and listens to lots of podcasts. On his newest show, Inside Voices, he has other podcast hosts on as guests to discuss the quality of their voice, why they started podcasting and how their shows have progressed. If

courtroom dramas. Their passion for justice and their sense of crusade against an unjust system is real, but so are their tired eyes and the mundane administrative slog that is the greater part of the work of criminal justice lawyers. The unfairly jailed “innocents” actually seem eerily similar — once unique, younger, more vibrant individuals who’ve been stifled and stunted by years or decades behind bars. The most colorful characters in the series are the experts, district attorneys, family members, friends and crime victims who fill-out The Innocence Files’ universe and remind viewers of the complex chess board where criminal justice is played out, and the high stakes that are weighed in the balance.

you are hunting for new podcasts to listen to, this is the perfect place to get started. One particularly interesting episode is “Amir Blumenfeld Has A Nasal Voice” because it charts not only guest Amir Blumenfeld’s journey as a content creator and podcast host, but also as a founder of a successful podcast network. Newcomers Nicole Byer and Lauren Lapkus are two comedians who have never seen a single Star Wars movie. This show documents their journey watching every film in the saga and exploring the fandom from a fresh new perspective. Helpfully, they also have Star Wars superfans as guests on each episode to provide context for the times the movies were released and the ever-changing relationship the fans have with George Lucas. Newcomers is filled with laughs and errors (such as Nicole refusing to call Harrison Ford’s character anything other than “Hans”) and, therefore, not recommended for those who are easily angered by people not taking a space opera seriously. Punch Up The Jam Host Miel Bredouw (and in earlier

The series boasts a slew of Academy Award and Emmy winners in production and directorial roles and the series consistently and effectively shifts its tone between a grisly crime documentary, a journalistic investigation that’s mostly very good at producing the necessary receipts and a human drama about time lost and time regained. Time spent with The Innocence Files is time well served. The Innocence Files debuts on Netflix on April 15.

Joe Nolan is a critic, columnist and performing singer/ songwriter based in East Nashville. Find out more about his projects at www.joenolan.com.

episodes, former co-host Demi Adejuyigbe) created Punch Up The Jam as a way to comedically dissect some of the most famous modern pop songs. A line by line lyrical analysis with a fellow comedian guest is followed by a Weird Al-esque “punch up” of the original song, created by either Miel or Demi. Music lovers will appreciate the nerdy, but lighthearted approach to studying chord and lyric choices. Start with an episode that features your favorite song or listen to “‘Kokomo’ by The Beach Boys (w/ Jon Gabrus)” for one of the show’s best song parodies.

Blank Check Respected film critic David Sims and actor/comedian Griffin Newman are two close friends who love talking about movies. Together, along with their jolly and vocal producer Ben Hosley, they created Blank Check, a podcast about director’s filmographies. Throughout multiple mini-series, each featuring a different director, they review every film a director has made. With very few new movies being released right now, this podcast is the perfect opportunity for film fans to go back and catch up on all the films from the industry’s best creators.

Dead Eyes Back in 2001, comedian/actor Connor Ratliff auditioned for and booked a small role on HBO’s mini-series Band of Brothers. He was soon fired and told that it was because director Tom Hanks thought he had “dead eyes.” Following in the footsteps of much more serious mystery shows such as Serial and S-Town, Dead Eyes strives to uncover the truth behind Connor’s firing. The show also features a bevy of well-known guests having vulnerable discussions with Connor about rejection and the fickleness of the entertainment industry.

Urgent Care Mitra Jouhari and Joel Kim Booster are comedians and close friends who host the advice podcast, Urgent Care. They can’t always guarantee good or healthy advice, but you will have a blast listening to them confidently answer their troubled callers’ questions. Half of the fun is witnessing them struggle to come up with a clever nickname for each anonymous person that writes in or leaves them a voicemail. Like most things in life, the best place to start is with their first episode, “Icelandic Meat,” where two precocious teens call in asking for the best way to get revenge.

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FUN

HOBOSCOPES ARIES

I keep hearing people talking about “the foreseeable future” lately. I’ve always been especially interested in the foreseeable future. As an amateur astrologer, I’m probably supposed to act like all future is foreseeable. Like I saw this coming and I know what’s next. But that’s not where I’m at, Aries. I don’t know what’s out there in the series of unforeseeable tomorrows. But I know you’ve been doing all kinds of new things in this unexpected present that you never thought you could do. And I expect you’ll be able to keep up with whatever comes next.

TAURUS

My uncle’s chiropractor says this whole thing was made up by the cardboard box industry to trick us into ordering more things in cardboard boxes. My 8th grade gym teacher says it’s the Canadian mafia getting back at us for making fun of their moose hats. Sometimes I get caught up in ideas I run into online, I mean, wouldn’t it be weird if that moose hat thing were true? When I’m not sure who to trust, I just check the website for The Council for Health Among Amateur Astrology Professionals (CHAAAP). They’re a panel of specialists who are deferring to the experts who have actually studied what’s going on and take it seriously. This is no time for your uncle’s fringe theories, Taurus. Listen to the experts.

GEMINI

I woke up sneezing this morning with a scratchy throat and itchy eyes. Do you think it’s serious? Is this the end for me? Or could it be related to the family of feral kittens that I’m letting live under my desk? (I am extremely allergic to cats, but they’re adorable, Gemini! They haven’t even opened their eyes yet!) Just because you have the symptoms doesn’t mean you have the disease. Take a step back and look at your circumstances before you jump to any conclusions, Gemini. Be cautious, but stay open to all possibilities.

CANCER

What day is it, Cancer? I’m pretty sure yesterday was Thursday, but trash pickup is on Tuesdays which definitely happened this morning and the morning DJ on the radio just wished everybody a “Happy Humpday” but then he started crying and played Manic Monday.

Putting all that together I think this may be Friday or possibly some kind of midweek Saturday? The thing is, Cancer it doesn’t matter what day it is. It just matters what you do with it.

t-shirts from the VHS release of Terminator II. I’ve worn most of them at least once. We’ve all learned a lot lately about using what we’ve got on hand, Scorpio. As we move on to whatever is next, remember how you learned to do more with less.

LEO

I used to always have an excuse to avoid self-enrichment. The History of Astrology classes at the community college cost too much. My weekly arithmancy meetup was a 40 minute drive from my house which always made it easy to skip. The astral projection workshops at the YMCA always overlap with my shift at work. But now I’ve got all the time in the world and everything is online and free. But I’m still not doing it. I think it’s ok not to jump at every opportunity, Leo. I think we’re tired. I think we need to take care of ourselves and each other. I think this is a good time to figure out what’s really important anyway. Drop the guilt and take a break.

SAGITTA R IUS

I hear a lot of talk about getting things “back to normal.” It does have a certain appeal, Sagittarius. Normal. But normal doesn’t have to be your goal. Maybe this is a chance to walk in a different direction altogether. It turns out you’re capable of some stuff you never knew. You can do a lot with a little. What else might you be capable of? The unknown is scary, but you’ve made it this far. Why turn back now?

CAPRICORN

VIRGO

You’re still just watching the numbers, Virgo. How much did they go up today? What’s the percentage? What’s the trend? What’s the shape of the curve on the Y axis? You refresh the page again and stare and try to figure out what it all means. And I know you just want to understand, Virgo, but I think you should recognize that it’s also a way to try to control something that none of us can control. Not alone, anyway. It’s fine. Refresh the page. But then take a break. Look at something smaller. Focus on something that’s yours to change.

LIBRA

How will we know when things are getting better, Libra? Lately it’s hard to trust any good news. And good news doesn’t always look how we expect it to. But don’t dismiss the positive just because it isn’t as bleak as you expected things to be. Sure, check your sources. Ask questions. But be ready for something better.

SCORPIO

I’ve been the only person inside the Wandering Hills Super Video and Tan for more than a month now. I really wish I’d brought a change of clothes, but I just have my usual polo shirt and khakis. It’s the official employee uniform. Fortunately we had a bunch of promotional

I have a friend who runs marathons. 26.2 miles. He tells me he’s not fast, but I wouldn’t know the difference. He says the main thing about it isn’t speed, it’s just keeping on going. If you make it 10 miles, that’s great, you’re amazing! But you aren’t there yet. Don’t stop. If you make it 20, that’s incredible! But don’t stop. You’re doing it, Capricorn. Don’t stop now. Wait until you cross the finish line.

AQUA RIUS

You went through all the stages, Aquarius. First there was denial — this isn’t happening. Then there was anger — how could this happen to me? You did bargaining. You got through the depression. And now you’re starting to accept it. Just in time for everything to change again. Sometimes, Aquarius, when circumstances get better it feels like a loss because of how much we learned and changed when things were hard. Whatever you feel, even when everybody says it’s time to feel good again, is yours to feel.

PISCES

These things take time, Pisces. No matter how hard you push on it or how fast you move, it just takes time. You’ve done great so far. You’ve been patient and thoughtful. You’ve been intentional and brave. But don’t rush to the end. It’s tempting to call it over before the end. But you’ll be glad if you see the whole thing through.

Mr. Mysterio is not a licensed astrologer, a trained chiropractor, or a certified allergist. Mr. Mysterio is, however, a budding intermediate podcaster! Check out The Mr. Mysterio Podcast. Season 2 is now playing at mrmysterio.com. Got a question, just give Mr. M a call at 707-VHS-TAN1

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NASHVILLE HISTORY CORNER

MARK TWAIN’S TROUBLED TENNESSEE ROOTS BY RIDLEY WILLS II Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, the great American humorist, was born in Florida, Mo., on Nov. 30, 1835. His life began there because his father Marshall’s luck had run out in Tennessee. Born in Virginia, Marshall, who was named for John Marshall, left the Piedmont first for Kentucky as a boy after his father’s death. When his farm failed there, he and his wife, Jane, moved again, this time to Fentress County, Tennessee. There he became a self-educated lawyer and land speculator. Marshall began buying up land until he had more than 70,000 acres of virgin, yellow pine acreage, for which he had paid only $400. His hope was that a day would come, when railroads, possibly from Cincinnati, would penetrate the moun-

tains and haul timber from his forests and make him and his family a fortune. Instead, the Tennessee land investment only triggered the Clemens family’s decline into poverty. This financial failure haunted Marshall and his family for decades and “fueled Sam Clemens’ lifelong anxiety over money.” Marshall, desperate for money, moved his family to Jamestown, where he opened a general store, where his family also lived. The Clemens’ first child, Pamela, was born there in 1827. One or two years later, Pleasant Hannibal was born in Jamestown. He lived only three weeks. In 1830, Margaret was born. With a growing family, Marshall began having headaches, which became increasingly severe. As his tiny store did not bring in sufficient income to

feed his family, he uprooted them again and in 1831 moved to a clearing in the woods at the confluence of three small streams. There, he built a cabin and opened a country store where he was postmaster. He also tried to farm land so poor that it was almost unfarmable. The financial crash of 1834 wiped out his credit. So, in 1835, he moved one more time to Missouri, where his wife’s sister lived. Her husband had written Marshall praising the country in these words, “It is the grandest country —the loveliest land — the purest atmosphere. I can’t describe it; no pen could do it justice.” Soon after arrival, Samuel Clemens was born. His father once again operated a general store with his brother-inlaw, and began acquiring land, which

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was extremely fertile. He prospered somewhat and, in 1837, was named a judge in the Monroe County Court. Jane and Marshall had seven children, too many to pay much attention to Samuel. In 1838, the Clemens moved once again, this time to Paris, Mo., 10 miles away where there was a racetrack. Florida had become a backwater. A year later, Marshall saw an advertisement in a small newspaper saying that property was available in Hannibal, Mo., some 40 miles to the northeast. The Clemens moved there, where Marshall, with the help of his oldest son, Orion, opened still another store, one Hannibal didn’t need. Marshall remained poor all his life which ended in 1847. His widow, Jane, lived a long life, dying at age 87.


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VENDOR WRITING

BREAK-AGE TYRONE M.

A flower needing water for a long period of time Dries A baby needing a diaper change Cries But a heart needing love after a long period of time Erupts/Destroys the Soul

I REMEMBER THE FIRST DAY ANTHONY G.

The first day I saw you, you were in pain I did not know that pain I would gain You took my heart and used it like a mat I hope your shoes got clean after that Through all seven years we went on

What’s So Bad About Staying at Home? BY VICK Y B., CONTRIBUTOR VENDOR COVID-19, a deadly virus, has all of us staying in our homes as much as possible for our own health. After three days, people were complaining about having to stay in? Saying they’re getting stir crazy? People spend hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars to buy the perfect home, rent the perfect apartment or condo and take years paying it off. Shouldn’t we be using this time to appreciate the beautiful home we do have? I know homeless people that love the way they’ve set up their tents, making it into a home. Are you using this time during the “safer at home” order to appreciate what you have, remembering why we wanted it so badly in the first place? Day four seemed to have brought the anger out. Some are looking to blame anyone for their having to stay inside. Oh the suffering, the hardship! “They should have caught it sooner.” Should have, could have would have. I’ve been reading Facebook posts and Twitter feeds about families using this time to be a family again. Playing after-dinner board games like in the old days. Yes, I said that: the old days. A golden age of family, church, and helping our neighbors. We’ve

said for years that, “we wish we had time for this and that” well now we have the time. Time has almost stood still. Life has become less complicated and more meaningful as we take the time to look, really look. I see a picnic table outside and I remember having tea parties with my Grandma and with all my stuffed animals in the basement of a house we lived in. Staying home was what we did unless there was a special occasion and those were rare. In some places, pollution is down, air quality is higher than it’s been in years. The earth is healing. We are healing. On March 23 I fell in my apartment and broke my hip. I had surgery on March 27 and I was home April 1. If it weren’t for the restaurants and bars closing down I would have had no one at home to help me until I got better. My son was out of work and he was able to come and help me out. He’s got to get back soon, but I’m getting better each day with small strides. I can take a couple of steps, I feel less pain and I’m more confident standing with a walker. I’m still unable to walk, but I’m trying each day. There is good happening all around us. Every moment of every day there is good. Take this time to better your world by slowing down and smelling those roses.

You don’t know how happy I am you are gone My life is back on track, you took me for a whirl The only thing wrong is now I don’t even look for a girl Between you and Pammy, I don’t ever want to love again That’s OK, I’m 58 years old I don’t have much longer to be alone I don’t want to trust anyone with my heart again After seven years with you, my heart has been slain Thank you, you saved me from more pain

ON THIS SABBATH DAY (SATURDAY) TYRONE M.

On this Sabbath day (Saturday)

In loving memory of Paisley Beth Worley 8/24/2018-12/16/2019 BY JAIME W., CONTRIBUTOR VENDOR I miss Paisley so much. She was a very loved and well-behaved cat. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. She is very loved and missed. She had a very bad cold. Her nose was so clogged up she could not breathe through her nose. She was a little over a year old. It started on a Friday and I thought she was gonna get better or snap out of it, but there was no hope. Over that weekend she got worse and Monday she was struggling to eat and drink and struggling to walk. I had somewhere else I had to be, but I came by the house first and about 5-10 minutes after I got home,

she passed away. It’s like she waited on me to get home. I love her so much and I did the best I could with her. We all miss her, but she is an angel in heaven now. She was a good baby. She loved everyone. She loved to play. I was gonna take her to the doctor, but it was too late. My heart is broken. When she passed away I held her and I cried and my husband Tommy held her and what can I say, we just sat here and cried. But she’s not sick anymore. I know she’s looking down at me. She’s an angel in heaven. I loved her so, so very much and she was a good baby. I think she knew she was a good baby. She will be very missed and very loved.

I will pray all day long On this Sabbath day Saturday I’m close to God/ that’s where I belong

A Learnt Lesson BY MAURICE B., CONTRIBUTOR VENDOR

On this Sabbath day (Saturday) I am praying everyone will recognize Saturday as the Sabbath day I’m going to my bedroom/ pray- on the Sabbath day. On this Sabbath day (Saturday) I pray for (all) the starving people in this world men, women, boys/girls On this Sabbath today (Saturday) We all should pray -- tomorrow is holy

After being highly blessed to become able to do better for my life by being a vendor of The Contributor I have realized that there are many people that approve of the success that has come from it for me and it is truly of value. At the same time I’ve observed that there are also many that despise the fact that I have achieved the things I have. From personal experiences, I understand some if not most of the issues of homelessness like living in camps, motels, and homeless shelters. I have attempted to reach out a multiple of times to assist others and every time I do the outcome is negative. I pray that our Almighty mighty God continues to bless me. I will accept my attempts as a learning experience. I’ve

PAGE 16 | April 15 - 29, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

learned that sometimes it’s in my best interest to assist from a distance because not all see and respect my decisions of living. Some people feel that it’s not right because they choose not to press toward achieving more or don’t know how. I have come to realize that sharing is caring, yes, but I must place boundaries because I see that there are individuals that are willing to destroy my peace and happiness so they can believe they are winning. We can all win as long as we work together. The way I am working is staying prayed-up allowing my will to be removed and our Almighty God’s will to be done. Staying consistent on working as a vendor of The Contributor, assisting in just about every possible way there is. It’s a system of networking that has worked for me.


LA NOTICIA “The Contributor” está trabajando con uno de los principales periódicos en español La Noticia para llevar contenido a más lectores en Middle Tennessee. Nuestros vendedores de periódicos han pedido durante mucho tiempo que nuestra publicación incluya contenido que apele al interés de residentes de habla hispana en nuestra comunidad.

“The Contributor” is working with one of the leading Spanish-language newspapers La Noticia to bring content to more readers in Middle Tennessee. Our newspaper vendors have long requested that our publication include content that appeals to the interest of Spanish-speaking residents in our community.

LOCALES - POLÍTICA - INMIGRACIÓN - TRABAJOS - SALUD - ESPECTÁCULOS - DEPORTES Y MÁS...

L a N ticia 2020

GRATIS

Abril#2

Escanee esta imagen para ver La Noticia newspaper edición bilingüe digital

www.hispanicpaper.com

“DONDE OCURREN LOS HECHOS QUE IMPORTAN, SIEMPRE PRIMERO... ANTES”

Año 18 - No. 303

Nashville, Tennessee

Censo 2020: Hispano, latino o español, diez años después, aún no está claro

a pesar de ser un miedo común tampoco nos ayudará a avanzar. Es hora de darse cuenta de que la gente no debe temer a sus gobiernos; son los gobiernos quienes deben tener en cuenta a su gente. Tenemos voz y cuantos más seamos, mejor. Puede ser la pregunta sobre nuestra "raza" sea el problema.

Si yo fuera el gobierno, también estaría preocupado. Contar los 330,562,930 millones de personas que viven en nuestro país, no es tarea fácil, y con los hispanos siendo casi 20% de este número (y creciendo) no podemos Por Yuri Cunza permitirnos otro con- La Noticia Newspaper Editor in Chief teo insuficiente (como en el 2010). Una encuesta del Centro Pew dió como resultado que 1 de cada 5 personas generalmente no participa, citando falta de interés y desconfianza crónica al gobierno. La verdad es que es posible que no estemos preparados para un esfuerzo tan titánico. Y ahora hablemos un poco de los hispanos. No solo es confuso sino disfuncional no esperar preguntas sobre la cooperación de las comunidades no tradicionales que a menudo se identifican con adjetivos tan duros que los hacen inmediatamente elegibles para no ser elegibles para recibir servicios gubernamentales y básicamente para cualquier derecho básico. Esto tiene el potencial de traducirse en miedo a participar, pero no solo eso, podría causar la indiferencia intencional de una comunidad en crecimiento con el mayor potencial. Con suficientes razones para preocuparme, decidí probar esta posibilidad preguntando a miembros de nuestra estáticamente invisible comunidad hispana sobre el Censo y, para mi sorpresa, 2 de cada 3 mostró interés en ser contado, pero la mayoría, estaban preocupados por ser “identificados” debido a la falta de un estado migratorio permanente o definido. El entendimiento de por qué el Censo 2020 es importante para asegurar la financiación de la edu-

Nuestra sociedad estadounidense ha cambiado significativamente su opinión sobre la raza; la clasificación de las personas, las políticas sociales, los desarrollos científicos e incluso las leyes han cambiado principalmente debido a las prioridades políticas. Hace dos décadas batalleé tratando de decidir si era "rojo" u "otro" en un formulario federal; ser “otro”, no me ayuda mucho a aclarar las cosas. Ahora es hispano, latino o español, pero ¿estamos mejor?. cación, la atención médica y la infraestructura se le pasó a la mayoría. Incluyendo por qué los datos del censo determinan los distritos electorales y, por lo tanto, los puestos para los funcionarios electos que podrían ser fundamentales para aquellos atrapados en el limbo de un sistema de inmigración que no refleja la realidad. Caso en cuestión: el coronavirus COVID-19 está afectando desproporcionadamente a hispanos y otras minorías, precisamente a ese talento de fondo desapercibido, que mantiene el espectáculo para la mayoría de nosotros quienes continuamos disfrutando de "servicios esenciales" proporcionados por una "fuerza laboral esencial”. ¿El gobierno le dará dinero a Tennessee si me cuentan? Un joven hispano preguntó medio sorprendido, medio escéptico. Pero, ¿a dónde vá ese dinero si siempre me rechazan debido a mi estado legal? Agregó, dándose cuenta de la complejidad paradójica del problema. "También somos importantes", señalan-

Conoce tus derechos: ¿Que hacer en caso de una redada? 1. Mantenerse callado 2. Sólo dar nombre y apellido 3. No mentir 4. Nunca acepte/lleve documentos falsos 5. No revelar su situación migratoria 6. No llevar documentación de otro país 7. En caso de ser arrestado, mostrarla Tarjeta Miranda (llámenos si necesita una)

por

Basados en la Quinta Enmienda de la Constitución, los derechos de guardar silencio y contar con un abogado fueron denominados Derechos Miranda luego de la decisión de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de Estados Unidos en el caso Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, de 1966.

do la pregunta 8, que se refiere específicamente al origen hispano, latino o español que necesitan las agencias federales para supervisar el cumplimiento de las disposiciones antidiscriminatorias, como la Ley de Derechos Electorales y la Ley de Derechos Civiles. Los gobiernos estatales y locales pueden usar los datos para ayudar a planificar y administrar programas bilingües para personas de origen hispano. -Sería excelente ¿verdad?, pero luego sigue la Pregunta 9 ¿Cuál es la raza de la Persona 1 ?: Blanco; Negro o afroamericano; Indio Americano o nativo de Alaska; Chino; Filipino; Indio Asiático; Vietnamita; Coreano; Japonés; otro asiático; Hawaiano nativo; Samoano; Chamorro; otro isleño del Pacífico; alguna otra raza... Geez!! a estas alturas, alguien debería ofrecer un paquete combinado de censo de 2020 y exámen de ascendencia genética. Intentar comprender la falta de interés implica primero aceptar que vivimos en tiempos difíciles y confusos. La desconfianza al gobierno, el miedo y la apatía,

Los antiguos griegos alrededor del año 400 a.c. diferenciaban a las personas por cultura e idioma, pero no por diferencias físicas. Los africanos eran aceptados como ciudadanos griegos si adoptaban el idioma, las costumbres y la vestimenta. Grecia, como Roma, trató a todos por igual, ya que esclavizó a las personas independientemente de su apariencia. He elegido la oportunidad de ayudar con el conteo; confiando en que cuanto más sepamos, más preparados estaremos para enfrentar futuros desafíos y oportunidades. Está en NUESTRAS manos el MEJORAR las condiciones PARA TODOS. Incluyendo aquellos conside-rados a veces como una amenaza demográfica "alienígena" de otros mundos. ¿Eres homo sapiens-sapiens? podría ser una mejor pregunta. Solo espero que esta sea una pregunta que todos estamos dispuestos y listos para responder. Envíenos sus sugerencias por e-mail: news@hispanicpaper.com

La Humanidad vs. T-Rex Coronavirus

Si la crisis actual fuera una serie continua de ataques de T-Rex en lugar de COVID19, estaríamos cazando al tiranosaurio hasta la extinción y por una buena razón. No aceptaríamos los ataques del T-Rex como una amenaza más para los humanos, como los accidentes automovilísticos. A diferencia de las otras causas principales de muerte que a muchos les gusta mencionar, como la gripe, el cáncer, el suicidio, etc. T-Rex está dificultando el tratamiento de todas las demás enfermedades. Esto se debe a que T-Rex puede comerse rápidamente a todas las personas enfermas, las personas sanas, tus padres, tu bebé, tu artista favorito, tu abuela, tu enfermera y tu médico. T-Rex te comerá antes de que puedas morir de SIDA, cáncer, suicidio, etc. ... Incluso si él no te come, T-Rex puede tomar tu trabajo, tus ahorros, tu tiempo y tu libertad cuanto más tiempo permanezca vivo. A T-Rex tampoco le importan tus creencias políticas ni de dónde crees que él vino. La buena noticia es que T-Rex morirá si no tiene a nadie a quien comer. Esta es la razón por la cual ejercer tu derecho a ser comido por T-Rex infringe los derechos de aquellos que desean morir más tarde que en este mismo momento. Por favor, haz tu parte para matar al T-Rex. - Cameron Parrish

w w w . j u a n e s e . c o m

April 15 - 29, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 17

Traducido por Yuri Cunza


FUN T H E M E : ACROSS 1. Spoil 6. Delivery service 9. Gallup’s inquiry 13. Madison Square Garden, e.g. 14. One of the Tudors 15. Pinkerton’s gallery member 16. Beneath, to a poet 17. Bird-to-be 18. Not slouching 19. *Koko or Digit 21. *George or Marcel 23. Langley agency 24. Can of worms 25. Pine juice 28. Up to the task 30. Most recent 35. Furnace output 37. Gives a helping hand 39. Veranda in Honolulu 40. *European sea eagle 41. Waterwheel 43. Ladder crosspiece 44. *Valued for its down 46. Steelers’s Chuck 47. Genealogical plant? 48. Treat for Dumbo 50. Hoofbeat sound 52. “To ____ is human” 53. Jim Carrey’s 1994 disguise 55. Garden cultivator 57. *Roger or Peter

N A M E

60. *Rocket or Rascal 64. “Random” audience member 65. Mozart’s “L’____ del Cairo” 67. Resin-producing tree 68. Like haunted house 69. Time delay 70. City in Germany 71. Not a bee 72. Pilot’s deadline 73. Not those DOWN 1. Pirates on a plank? 2. Black and white treat 3. *Papa or Mama 4. Clown act 5. Perennial garden flower 6. Iris holder 7. *Babe or Wilbur 8. Fraternity letter 9. Politician’s barrelful 10. Curved molding 11. Famous Australopithecus 12. “____ the wild rumpus begin!” 15. Hertz offering 20. Labanotation founder 22. Doesn’t mix well with water

PAGE 18 | April 15 - 29, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

T H E

A N I M A L

24. Wilma and Fred’s hometown 25. *Dolly 26. Eagle’s nest 27. *Giant or Red 29. *Simba or Elsa 31. Queen of Hearts’ pastry 32. Accustom 33. Not so crazy 34. *Detroit mascot 36. Not quite an adult 38. Perfect houseplant spot 42. Luau greeting 45. S. E. Hinton’s “____

Fish” 49. Chi precursor 51. Place for a square 54. Furry scarf 56. What’s in your e-wallet? 57. Actress Perlman 58. Runs, as on TV 59. Radar flash 60. Indian music 61. Yorkshire river 62. Lode deposits 63. Supreme Court number 64. Make a seam 66. *Tom or Sylvester


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Call 615-341-4227 to schedule an appointment today. 1818 Albion Street, Nashville, TN 37208 | www.nashvillegeneral.org

April 15 - 29, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 19


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