12. Shadow Lane

Lainey had a house on Shadow Lane. Like all of the houses on Shadow Lane, it was the ubiquitous 1950s brick ranch with two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a somewhat surprisingly cheery disposition.

In spite of all the house had going for it, it had one thing working against it–it was haunted. Noticeably.

You could be sitting in the living room and watch the light in the dining room come on, followed by the light in the kitchen. Then the kitchen light goes out. And then the dining room light. As if someone has gone in to get a drink and come back.

You could be sitting, reading a book, and the television would come on, flip through the channel, and turn itself off.

And things you wouldn’t think twice about took on more ominous meanings. You might find a glass of water on a table, waiting for you, and, though you wanted a glass of water, you didn’t remember getting it.

Sure, maybe you did it without really thinking about it, just a matter of routine.

But, if you’re alone in the house, of course, there is no one to tell you if you brought the glass in there or if it just appeared.

It got so that Lainey was afraid to be in the house at all.

But her neighbor insisted she call an electrician.

“Are your outlets two-pronged or three?” The neighbor asked.

“Two,” she said.

“That’s right. You probably got original wiring in there. Get an electrician.”

So, she searched the internet, as folks do, for nearby electricians, and the first one to catch her eye was Adams and Sons. And so she called, and the appointment was made for a week from Wednesday.

On that Wednesday, there was a knock at the door and a lanky man in his mid-fifties introduced himself as John Adams.

“My dad was a real history buff,” He said. “We wired these houses when they first went in, would you believe it? I have a pretty good sense of all the ways they go wrong.”

He immediately got to work, poking around in the fuse box and crawling around in the attic.

About an hour later, Adams found Lainey in her home office.

“Well, ma’am,” he said, “I found the immediate problem. At one point, it looks like you had some mice in the attic and they were chewing on some wires up there. Stripped them bare in spots. I believe, when those bare wires touched, for whatever reason, they were flickering the lights.

“You’re going to need to rewire the house. But I’ve got that patched up to hold you. Shoot, you’re lucky there wasn’t a fire. I found some singed insulation already.”

“Oh no!” Lainey said.

“You call back over to my boys,” Adams said. “Tell them you’re going to need the whole house done. They’ll work you a deal.”

“Great. How much do I owe you?”

“Nothing,” he said. “It was treat enough to get back into one of these places and see how it held up.  Pretty good, I think, if this is the first trouble you’re having. And rewiring the house will cost you more than enough. Don’t worry about it.”

So, Lainey called Adams and Sons once again and identified herself and gave her address.

“I’m calling because I need you guys to come over.”

“Yes, ma’am. We expect to have someone there today.”

“Oh, yeah, he’s been here already.”

“He has?”

“Yes. He came by and fixed some mouse damage and said to call you and tell you we need the whole house rewired.”

“Ma’am? Are you sure?”

“Well, yes, he just left. Why?”

“Well, because Adams and Sons is really just me and my brother since my dad died in 2003. I say ‘we’ like I’m just the guy in the office. But Bob’s on vacation, so Adams and Sons today is just me. And I haven’t been to your house yet.”

“Oh my god. Should I call the police? I let this strange man into my house. I should have known ‘John Adams’ was made up.”

“He said his name was John Adams?”


“That’s my dad’s name.”

And when he got to the house, he did indeed find that the repair had been made. So, who knows? Most times either one of them tells you this story, they will tell it like someone is running impersonating the electrician John Adams and, for some crazy reason, doing minor electrical work expertly. But when they tell that version, you can see in their faces they don’t believe it.

Voting for the Hunting and Fishing Amendment

Yes, Sean Braisted is right and we ignore  a lot in our state constitution (though, I think now would be a great time to purge the state legislature of all duelers). But I still think R. Neal is onto something. If there’s an amendment to the state constitution that protects hunting and fishing, that gives teeth, even if they’re small ones, to environmental protections for the habitat of the animals that are hunted. If you have a right to hunt, presumably, it means you have a right to have a chance of finding something to hunt.

I don’t know. This seems like a win for people who care about the environment and a natural thing for Tennessee Democrats to support.

Dinner with an Old Friend

Last night one of my best childhood friends came over for dinner while she was in town for work. We had, in part, baked vegetables, which were supposed to be grilled, but the grill was out of gas. But I’m glad we cooked them in-doors because the whole house still smells delicious.

Man, it was good to see her.

Some folks you know your whole life and you still think, “yeah, this is a person I’d want to be friends with even if I just met her yesterday.”

And the dog was fairly well-behaved!

And we talked about art and creativity and how weird it can be when people think they’ve come to know you through your art AND that you’ve somehow come to know them, too.

I am very lucky to have the cool, smart, interesting friends that I do.