Meows are not innate cat language—they developed them to
communicate with humans.
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:
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.
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
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
who created the "Outlaw Country" sound with his BFF Willie
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
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.
wouldn’t care about any of this, because they don't understand
how passionate real music lovers are about music.
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
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
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
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
Glenn Shepard, New Cat Owner
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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