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Why I Hired a Serial Killer

 

by Glenn Shepard
July 25, 2017
Category: Inspiration


 

Mansfield, OH

July 26

Lima, OH

July 27

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Meows are not innate cat language—they developed them to communicate with humans.
Source: Catipedia

 


Dexter the Serial Killer
Dexter the Serial Killer Cat



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"Death and Carnage".

It's the most bizarre job description I've ever written.

Here's the context:

Seven months ago we bought a historic Nashville home that was my dream come true, for two reasons.

First, because it's so steeped in music history, and I love music and history more than anyone you'll ever meet.

It was built in 1970 by Hall of Fame songwriter Ben Peters, who wrote fourteen #1 hits. His biggest was "Kiss an Angel Good Morning". It became Charlie Pride's biggest hit, which is saying a lot since Charlie sold more records for RCA than any artist since Elvis.

And speaking of Elvis, the house across the street was just purchased by James Burton, whose primary residence is in Shreveport. He was Elvis's guitar player, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

The house three doors down is named "Southern Comfort", and was home to  Waylon Jennings, the legendary trailblazer who created the "Outlaw Country" sound with his BFF Willie Nelson.

The house is also very close to the sad but historic site of the 1964 plane crash that killed country music star Jim Reeves. Among the volunteers who helped search for his plane were legends Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, and Ernest Tubb.

Tommy Shaw of Styx and Jonathan Cain of Journey also live nearby. Those are two of my favorite bands of all time. As a kid, I listened to Casey Kasem's Top 40 Countdown every Saturday morning to see where their songs were on the Billboard charts.

Most people wouldn’t care about any of this, because they don't understand how passionate real music lovers are about music.

When you love music like I do, it's not just part of you. It's in your heart. It's in your soul. It's woven into the very fabric of your being.

The second reason this house was so special is because I'm a motivational speaker, and I've been getting inspiration for years from two people who live down the street.

One is Michael Oher, whose life story of going from homelessness to winning a Super Bowl was portrayed in my favorite inspirational movie of all time, "The Blind Side".

The other is Ronnie Dunn, of Brooks and Dunn, who sang the most motivational and patriotic country song for Americans. Here's an excerpt:

"Only in America,
Dreaming in Red, White and Blue.
Only in America,
Where we dream as big as we want to.
We all get a chance.
Everybody gets to dance.
Only in America!"

Ronnie and his wife Janine hang a giant American flag in front of their house every Memorial Day and July the 4th, and I always think of that song when I see that enormous flag.

The opportunity to own a little piece of history was a dream come true. But that dream came at a price.

When we first found the house, it had been vacant and neglected for years. We could get it at a very good price, but it was going to need so much work that I originally walked away from it. It had shingles falling off the roof, doors that wouldn't open, light fixtures that were rusted out, and the list went on. It was a little like the house on the Tom Hanks movie "The Money Pit".

But my Beautiful Bride knew how much it meant to me, and encouraged me not to give up too quickly on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After many discussions, we decided we were willing to take on the challenge.

HGTV selected the house to be on a new version of their hit show "Fixer Upper", but we decided it would be better to take our time getting to know the house and figuring out the best ways to make all the repairs.

Months went by and we fought all the battles we expected - including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, pool, etc.

But there was one we hadn't anticipated …MICE!

We tried mouse traps, poison, glue traps, electronic repellents, and every other solution Home Depot and Amazon offered. We also hired two different companies to seal every possible point of entry.

It was like playing Whac-A-Mole, and those stubborn little varmints wouldn’t go away. After six months of battle, the mice were winning and we were still losing.

Then our veterinarian told us to get a "MOUSER" (an outdoor cat that catches mice). My Beautiful Bride found Pet Community Center of Nashville, an incredible organization that finds homes for animals about to be euthanized at the Metro Nashville Animal Shelter.

We told them we needed a mouser who'd be deadly, and they delivered our new Feline Fighter the next day. I named him "Dexter", after the serial killer on the Showtime series.

I told Dexter his job was to show me death and carnage. But unlike most mousers who often bring their "trophies" to show their owners, he never showed us any confirmed kills.

After a month on the job, I told him he was going on probation if I didn’t start seeing dead mice. He then looked at me with serious Catittude and gave me a  condescending meow. Since we're dog people and cat ownership is new to us, I stared at him for a minute, trying to figure out what he was saying.

And then it hit me. While I hadn’t seen any dead mice, I also hadn't seen any live ones, which is what Dexter was "hired" for. After all those other methods had failed, a simple cat rescued from the Kill Shelter had eliminated the problem.

Isn’t it funny how the solutions to our most perplexing problems are sometimes the simplest?


To Your Success,


Glenn Shepard, New Cat Owner


P.S.
This article was written in the same room where Ben wrote "Daytime Friends and Nighttime Lovers" for Kenny Rogers, and "I'll Be There Before the Next Teardrop Falls" for Freddy Fender. While I would never disrespect the memory of a man as talented as Mr. Peters by even mentioning the silly story of Dexter the Serial Killer Cat in the same sentence as those country music classics, I will say that knowing he wrote those in this room does make the creative writing process a little easier.

 

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