Something strange happened to me today at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Lower Broadway in Nashville.
I had stopped by to drop off posters at both Nashville locations plugging the book-signing for BUCK OWENS: The Biography that I am doing at the Music Valley Drive location at 9 p.m. Saturday, August 7.
Even though it was hotter than holy hell out, I dressed better than I normally would have in the heat because I wanted to make a good first impression. I had on a pair of white slacks, a Bohemian-style diaphanous green blouse, and black sandals that showed off my OPI Holy Pink Pagoda pedicure.
I handed the poster to Larry Mayhew, who was working the counter there. He looked at it and said, “Oh, I just got this book and started reading it! It’s really good! Are you the author?”
I told him I was and noticed that right above his left shoulder was Buck Owens’s Act Naturally boxed CD set by Rhino Records. There Buck was, big as life, looking down on me and at the poster, with a look of either disappointment or disdain.
Larry extended his hand and shook mine. He said, “I am so happy to meet you! I’ve been wanting to get in touch with you to talk to you about something.”
I asked if he had known Buck, and he said no and proceeded to tell me about his idea. While we were talking, I felt a hand grab my right butt cheek and give it a quick pat. I turned and looked over my right shoulder. No one was there. I looked over my left shoulder. No one was there either.
“Did you see anybody behind me?” I asked Larry.
“No,” he said.
“You’re going to think I’m really strange, but I could’ve sworn somebody grabbed my ass just now and patted it.”
Then Larry told me that another woman who had been in the shop recently also had felt someone grab her butt cheek. “Well, you know this place is haunted,” he said.
Then I recalled hearing something about the shop being one of the stops on the haunted Nashville tours they do here every year around Halloween.
“I wonder if it was Buck?” I said, pointing up to boxed CD set. “That certainly would have been something he would do.”
Larry went on to say there have been many strange happenings in the store.
When I got home, I did an Internet search and discovered that the downtown ET Record Shop was once a hospital during the Civil War and that the basement of the building was used as a morgue. Sometimes, if people are discussing an older artist, the CD player comes on at will playing a song by that singer even though there is no disc by the artist in the machine. At other times, there are hot and cold spots in the building. Here's a photo of the shop at 3 a.m. that my friend Larry Garvin, who worked there until recently, sent me. He said he used to store his intruments in the shop but never experienced any paranormal activity there.
It reminded me of a night in 1991 at Zed in Alexandria, Virginia, when a former linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers approached me and said, “I know you don’t know me or anything, but I’m gonna tell you something most guys wouldn’t say to somebody they didn’t know: You have a nice butt.”
Remembering that, I joked, “Well, whoever it was must’ve liked what they saw.”