For those of you who didn’t know, I am from a little slice of heaven in South Alabama. I grew up on a bunch of property with grandparents and cousins for neighbors. I had the most idealistic childhood you can imagine – if you imagine life through the lens of a redneck.
I use the term redneck in the most endearing way possible. I have so many great childhood memories. Some of my memories are easy to relate to – playing outside with cousins, selling lemonade, Sunday dinners with grandparents. Others, however, only a select few can relate to. Namely, other redneck/country/southern types.
For instance, Brady (my younger brother) and I did sell lemonade. Then we got some business sense and realized that we needed to cater to our market a little better. Who drove down our road the most? Farmers and family members. So we picked long pieces of grass, tied it in bundles, and marketed it as hay. I think we even wrote a sign that said something like, “Could also be used to start a fire.” We did sell a bundle to a family member who
felt bad for us appreciated our business sense and probably had a fire that needed starting.
Then there’s the time the my childhood best friend has these amazing goats (we had goats too, but not this amazing) and they were smart enough to walk on leashes and stuff. So we did just that. Down the road. Probably barefoot. I’m sure everyone who passed thought, “Bless the hearts of those poor children whose parent’s won’t get them dogs!” We thought we (and the goats) were awesome.
Another rather fond memory I have of childhood is sitting at the “kid’s table” at Grandma and Pa’s listening to the police scanner. Go ahead, laugh. You only laugh because you don’t know what a great thing a police scanner can be. Pa had one and so did his brother, Leon (or Paw Paw as I knew him). Paw Paw listened to his while sitting in his garage smoking and drinking beer. That feels way more appropriate than sitting at the kids table letting the grandkids listening to crime as it happens.
In the South – or out in the country anywhere for that matter – people know everyone’s business. It’s just part of life. If a police car flies down our road that means that someone we know is in trouble. So, you follow it. The brilliant thing about a police scanner is that (if your family/friends forgot to call you BEFORE the police) you can find out what’s happening without chasing down emergency vehicles. This is a
nosy concerned person’s dream come true.
The idea of knowing everything that is going on in my community never left me. In fact, I think it instilled a very important set of skills in me but that’s another post. Basically I could totally be a private investigator. So now, I find myself living and working in East Nashville. If you aren’t from Nashville, this neighborhood can get a bad rap for being rough. Before hipsters started taking it over it was I guess. Now it’s getting artsier by the minute. There’s still housing projects here and lots of affordable housing too. The main stretch is dotted with discount beer and tobacco shops and enough Hair Words to live up to their name and actually supply weave to the whole world. It’s certainly colorful and diverse and fantastic. It’s crimes are also colorful and there is a pretty obvious police presence.
Enter my love of the police scanner.
One day, Josh and I saw a bunch of police cars flying down Gallatin. Chasing emergency vehicles down your back country road is one thing, but down a busy street in the city is just dumb (and I think illegal). My curiosity was very high, though. Then, God himself (probably) reached down from the heavens and gave me the most amazing idea. “I bet there is a police scanner app.” Whoa. It was like a fist bump from Jesus.
And I was right.
Jesus changed my life when I was baptized at eight AND on that day on Gallatin Road when he led me to the police scanner app.
I quickly downloaded the best app you can ever download, turned it on, and a wave of childhood memories came rushing back. I could almost smell Paw Paw’s beer and cigarettes as I realized that I will never escape my roots. Every single person should download the app before judging me too harshly. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself forcing your husband to pull into the Kroger parking lot in the middle of 10 police cars while you listen to the details of the assault & robbery that just occurred in the Citi Trends next door (then you might wonder if you know the person, look up the arrest records the next day, and then find their facebook). Or trying to convince everyone to drive a few blocks over to watch the police escort a 16 year old run away out of his girlfriend’s house and back home – because his mom found out where he was staying. Nashville has so much more potential for police scanner entertainment than South Alabama where police scanners basically amount to snooping on family and church members.
So call me a redneck or nosy or crazy. Just don’t get mad when I don’t invite you to the viewing party the day I finally strike gold and the police raid Robert Plant’s East Nashville home. Or perhaps they get called because between T-Swift and her latest song subject boyfriend are arguing too loud.
My Alabama roots serve me well so often, and that will be the day they serve me best.