I was faced with two options:
1.Be the guy who ate his lunch in front of Otis Redding’s Ranch
2. Be that guy who ate his lunch in front of Otis Redding’s Ranch
A battle of my lack of persistence vs. my love for Mr. Pitiful. In all honesty, I would have been happy to leave a note of thanks in the oversized mailbox and spend a few seconds looking out over the 300 acres of property he had purchased a few years before that fateful plan crash, but…
Rumors had it that his wife and kids still lived here, but no one answered the guest house knock out front and the large sign with even larger letters advised me not to jump the fence.
Of course I was dejected as his gravestone was 300 yards away and all I wanted to do was take a minute of silent appreciation.
But no one was home.
‘We can have lunch’ said Robin as she pulled out the left-over Mexican from the tequila-soaked previous evening with my most-entertaining Uncle.
Now, had I been in a car and sat quietly eating a sandwich, it might have been strange, but we were in the bus. A big bus that had navigated the backwood streets of the heart of Georgia to a town with no sign letting you know you were there. A but that made it look like we were somebody.
Yes. Screw it. if f I can’t be the guy who saw his grave, I’d be the guy who dined in front of his house.
‘Nice Harley’ Tim said, finishing his beer.
It was a nice Harley. It was also the first car that had passed us in 30 minutes. A big black man on a big silver Harley. A big black Harley-driving black man who looked a lot like the man whose home we were in front of.
‘That has to be his son’ said Robin.
I ran out barefoot. I’m pretty sure I waved and am most certain sure he smiled.
I’m sorry about the big rig parked in front of the house/I’m a massive fan/I just wanted to pay my respects/I’m sorry about something/Thank you/I don’t know what to say.
I’m pretty sure I said all of that, the majority of, or a casserole of those sentences. I remember his name was Dexter. Redding. He was nice and had a kind laugh. We traded email addresses and he vroom-vroomed away on a bike bought with soul.
‘I just shook the hand of Otis Redding’s son’, was my boarding announcement.
Robin wasn’t paying attention. ‘Who’s that in the Mercedes?’
I ran out barefoot and shook the hand of Karla. Redding. She had more faith in people learning about gospel music than I did, although I don’t remember the question.
‘I knew you had to be either be Lost or a Big Fan’ she joked.
Or a Big Fan.
A whole lot of both, really.
But thanks for letting me have a sandwich here.