July 2018

By Marshall Chapman

Photograph by Anthony Scarlati

I’ve always sought out local mom-and-pop places when it comes to restaurants, hardware stores, etc. My latest adventure with one of these involved Powder Tech Services (P.T.S.) on 6th Avenue South near the old City Cemetery. A painter friend had recommended them when I was looking to have an old bench restored. The bench was covered with five coats of paint that needed to be removed. P.T.S. sandblasted the metal frame then powder coated it (twice) using a Prismatic bronze color. The results were so pleasing, I recently asked them to do the same thing to a blue-bottle tree made from welded pieces of rebar that had begun to rust.

P.T.S. is owned by Glenda and Red Rhea. Glenda keeps the books and Red keeps things running in the shop, which also specializes in motorcycle repair.

When I first met Glenda, a huge cat was lying across her desk. “What’s its name?” I asked.
“Slic,” Glenda replied.

Glenda looks like everybody’s favorite grandmother, but looks can be deceiving. I soon learned that Glenda used to race motorcycles, and I marveled at the framed photo of her bent over a Harley going god-only-knows how fast.

I also learned that Slic was not the Rheas’ first cat. They had owned many over the years—all named for motorcycle parts. (Slic refers to a treadless tire on a top-fuel Harley.)

“So what were some of your other cats’ names?” I asked.

“Oh, there was Knucklehead,” Glenda said. (A knucklehead was an engine used in Harleys made from 1936 to 1947.)

“Don’t forget Push Rod,” Red called out from behind his desk in the corner.

Then there was Dipstick. “The baddest-ass cat that ever walked the planet,” according to Red. Dipstick lived with the Rheas for twelve years. “You could carry him upside down and he didn’t care. He was the most trusting cat you ever met.”

Before leaving, I gave Slic a scratch behind his ears. As I did so, Glenda told me about the time Slic went missing for four days.

“I told God that if He’d bring Slic back, I’d have him do His work. So when Slic came back, I started ‘Slic Says’ (daily Bible verses) on my Facebook page, and we’ve been doing it ever since.”

For today’s ‘Slic Says’ visit www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=slic%20says.

Marshall Chapman is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter, author, and actress. For more information, visit www.tallgirl.com.

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