Flashback: The Kind People of the Tennessee BackwoodsPosted: March 12, 2012
Bonnaroo. We sat in one of many columns of traffic that spanned tens of miles of Interstate 24 South. We would idle along every couple of minutes, passing people on foot, scalpers selling stacks of weekend tickets (~$250) and copious law enforcement pulled onto the median. It was hot and drivers and passengers alike cooled off with sweaty cans of light beer as everyone eased their way onto the festival grounds, little by little. Amidst all of this waiting, the worst thing imaginable happened: our vehicle died. Engine cut off off, wouldn’t start. The creeping row of cars in front of us grew farther and farther away, prompting those behind us to begin passing us on the left by the hundreds. We pushed the vehicle up a hill, onto the shoulder and panicked. Not five minutes after, a four wheeler approaches with a shirtless local holding a towstrap. He hitches us up and tows us off the beaten path onto his property far from the highway. He and his neighbors surround our truck, analyzing the cause of the failure before finding the needle in the haystack: a blown 20 A fuel pump fuse. They pull a free replacement from their inventory, pop it in the fuse block and the truck fires up. Short on cash in my college years, I offered a small small fifth of Jim Beam as payment for saving my truck, our weekend, and our forthcoming journey home in three days. They refused the whiskey and said they would only take it if we stayed to drink it with them. We had a festival to get to. Beam being from Kentucky was probably an insult in Jack Daniels country, anyway. I think we stopped back on the way home to say thanks and give payment for the fuse. Thanks kind people of Tennessee.