102. Crashing Redman’s birthday party in North Nashville neighborhood, September 2017.

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In September 2017 we met Quincy Jones (but not that Q.J.). He was telling us about his grandmother, Janice. He said she is pure Nashville and that we should meet her. I said, “say when!”

Q said, “Whenever you want.”

I said, “Call her. See what she is doing.” 

Q asked, “Now?” 

“Of course!” I said.

Q phoned her. He told his grandmother I wanted to meet her. 

She said, “What are you doing tonight?”

She said she was going to a 90’s-themed birthday party for her best friend’s son, Redman (who was a professional backup singer for the actual Quincy Jones!). She said I was welcome to come. I said, “Tell me where and what time!”

So I crashed a birthday party. A perfect stranger showing up on the doorstep of people who had never met me or even knew I was coming.

I sat with Janice and Redman’s mother Fredricka, met the sisters and the cousin Sugar. Was introduced to the family dog, Terry. Became the official party photographer for the night and took one of our first deep dives into ordinary life in a North Nashville suburb. But the family and friends were hardly ordinary.

Sugar described her thrill at diving into her forgotten wardrobe to find a beloved pair of pants from the nineties. Janice and Fredricka told of the family adventure going on The Price is Right the year before, and Redman being called on stage… and winning! A trip to Alaska.

People pass you along. They are happy to do it. But already we were sensing in Nashville an unusual ease in being passed along. 

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