October 15, 2010
Well, I mentioned that I worked for Lynn Anderson at the end of my last story and promised more explanation on that, later. Well, it’s later now. I have a lot of Lynn Anderson stories because I worked for her for several years. I guess the first story should really explain how that all came about. So, I will call this story…..
THE SNAKES CRAWL AT NIGHT
Over the years, I have had several businesses of my own. Among them was a cleaning business. I mostly cleaned recording studios in the wee hours of the morning, after the late night sessions and before the 10 am sessions. One of the main reasons that I chose studios is because my Dad has a lot of friends that have studios, that know me and trust me. There is a lot of expensive, delicate equipment in studios and you have to know how to clean them, etc. You also have to know not to set your cold drink on the console or it could spill into it and short the whole thing out. This happened once at my Dad’s studio with an Orange Nehi. I am SO glad I’m not the one that spilled it….anyway, I digress. Suffice it to say that if anyone asked me if I had ever done any studio work, my answer would have been; “Oh my gosh, yeah, I even have keys to most of them”.
Cleaning one thing usually leads to cleaning another. The secretary has a sister who has an aunt that knows a lady that needs her house cleaned, etc. etc. Or sometimes I would get asked to clean certain celebrities homes simply because I had already made it through the screening process by being recommended by someone they trusted. When they found out who my Dad was, and trust me, whoever recommended me told them, they were even more comfortable with having me in their home because of my background. I didn’t mind doing it, it was easy money and I was my own boss.
One day, someone, and I can’t remember who, asked me if I would be willing to go over and clean out Lynn Anderson’s basement. They also informed me that several other companies had already declined because apparently there might be a few snakes down there. I’ve never really been all that fond of snakes, or knowledgeable. About all that I knew was that my Dad produced a song on Charley Pride called The Snakes Crawl at Night, other than that, I’m a novice. So, my first question was “What does it pay?” and my second question was “Are the snakes poisonous?”. The answers, respectively, were; 1. Whatever you charge 2. Nobody knows. For some reason that seemed to be enough for me and I decided I would give it a shot.
The next morning I put on my jeans and taped all the way around the bottom of both hems with layers of duct tape, put on a long sleeve shirt and taped around my wrists (snakes slither, you know), put on steel toe work boots and 3 pairs of work gloves and headed over to Lynn’s. Lynn met me at the back door, I’m sure I looked like some ghost buster/bee-keeper/martian when she offered me some coffee and shook my hand. We talked for a bit and I went to work. I started down the steps with 2 shovels, a cooler and 3 cans of air. You know that “air in a can” that you can get to clean between your computer keys? That kind of air. I figured if a snake actually lunged at me, I would spray the air at it and scare it back or it would just curl up and I would put the back of the first shovel on the snake and the other shovel underneath and scoop it up and put it in the cooler. Now if they were really BIG snakes, I figured I would spray air from behind my back as I ran as fast as I could, out of that place and never went back. This was my “I know nothing about catching, stunning or identifying snakes. Or how much duct tape is enough.” plan.
I started in the back corner where there were 20 or 30 boxes of stuff. There were boxes of t-shirts and albums and there was a box of beach towels that said “I’d rather be Under The Boardwalk with Lynn Anderson. She had a hit on that song once. There were press photos through the years. I stopped counting at 20 giant hairdos. Back then, you might have thought that whoever had the biggest hair in country music, won something. Lynn was a contender, no doubt.
Somewhere around the 15th box, I saw my first snake. It was coiled up about as big around as a golf ball and it was red, orange and black. I did my little shovel trick and it worked. There was the snake right at the bottom of the cooler. He had come unwound now so I put the lid on and headed upstairs. I took the little snake to the pet store and was told that it was a red rat snake. They are commonly owned as pets and are non-poisonous. I gave the store owner the snake and went back to Lynn’s. I proceeded throughout the very long day to catch, humanely, 9 red rat snakes. They were hidden among the boxes and one was in the washing machine. The basement was empty, the boxes had been unpacked and repacked and I was at the back door removing duct tape from my extremities when Lynn’s son, Gray, came home from school.
To Gray, I must have looked like some sort of wonderful albeit crazy lady in a homemade space suit wielding a shovel. Let’s just say, he had questions. WHO are you? What is that? What’s in there? Why the duct tape? Why the shovel? How did they get the air in the can?
What you don’t know about me is that I love children. I don’t have any but I love them all. I like to think of myself as the Auntie Mame of babysitters. I want to be in the thick of childlike silliness as much as possible. With that said, I welcomed his questions and him. I was answering all of Gray’s questions when Lynn’s daughter, Bunny, came home from school.
To Bunny, I must have looked like some sort of NOT SO wonderful but JUST crazy lady in a homemade space suit wielding a shovel. Let’s just say, she had questions. WHAT are you? Are there drinks in the cooler? Does my Mom know you’re here? How did they get the air in the can?
By the time that Lynn came to the back door again, I was having a wonderful time with her kids. Showing them the snakes, laughing, listening and hanging out. It was an instant connection. I guess Lynn saw it because she told me that she had an opportunity for some last minute plans and could I possibly babysit for a few hours while she went out. The kids were ALL for the idea. So, I said yes.
I cleaned up a bit and changed into one of the Lynn Anderson t-shirts and loaded the kids up in my car and we went back to the pet store to unload the snakes. The store owner gave us $3 apiece for the snakes and we spent it on ice cream. After the kids were snuggled in, Lynn came home and she and I talked at the kitchen table for several hours. During this time, Lynn asked me if I might be interested in coming to work for her. She needed someone to manage the house and home office during the day and to pick up the children and be a companion/nanny to them in the afternoons and sometimes evenings. It seemed like a perfect match. So I took the job. I hired some people to take over the studio cleaning, leaving that business in tact and the very next day, I came to work for Lynn.
Lynn had a beautiful mansion style home in Nashville in an area called Tremont. On the property was a little outbuilding that served as my office. During the day, I ran errands, took calls and managed the property. Lynn had an excellent habit of keeping a notebook of what she called “dailies”. I wrote down all the calls, visits, events and notable information for each day on a piece of paper and she kept them in a three ring binder. She spoke several times about writing a book someday and how these might come in handy. I wish I had done it. She’s right, they will.
Lynn has three children. Her daughter, Lisa, from her first marriage to songwriter Glenn Sutton and Gray and Bunny from her second marriage to Harold Stream. At the time that I worked for her, Gray and Bunny were the only two that lived with her. It was a wonderful time for me. I spent a lot of nights at the Tremont house. I would stay with the kids while Lynn was on the road. Lynn would always bring gifts back from her trips and there would be three. That always made me feel special and appreciated. Now that you know how it all got started then you will better understand why I have so many Lynn stories. I have a few that are going to crack you up…..but patient, readers, it’s all going to be revealed to you in it’s own time….
Until then, if you need a Snake Buster just send me an e-mail. I haven’t done it in awhile but I still have my supplies……