Odd couple: vendor Josh and volunteer Andy bond with familial relationship.
They aren’t much alike, Contributor vendor Josh and volunteer Andy.
Andy is tall, with wavy salt and pepper hair and a neatly trimmed matching beard. His dress style is slightly preppy and slightly Dad — he says he puts on whatever is on the top of the stack of clean clothes. He’s outgoing and talkative and served as Deputy Fire Chief of Stockton, California, for years before moving to Nashville in 2007.
Josh is wiry and dresses with intention: his shirt complements his pants, and he accessorizes with sharply matching kicks and cap. He’s just as intentional with his conversation, as if he’s savoring his words before he shares them. A Nashville native, he graduated from Pearl-Cohn High School and works at Bar Louie in the Gulch, in addition to his Contributor business.
One is black, and one is white. At 63, Andy is old enough to be 37-year old Josh’s dad. And in every way but biological, he is. “Andy is a good person,” says Josh, who’s been a vendor for The Contributor since September 2011, only a few months after Andy began as a regular volunteer. “He’s a jokester, and he keeps me going.”
The pair began building their friendship shortly after they met, and seven years later, they talk on the phone several times a week about matters serious and less so.
“We talk about whatever is going on in our lives. He calls me with aggravation and joy,” says Andy. He says his gauge for friendship is “would you stand by my bedside when I die? And I know Josh would be first in line. I’ve told my wife if I’m in the hospital and things don’t look good, she needs to call Josh.”
Josh nods in agreement: He, too, would want Andy with him at his final hour.
Josh doesn’t say much about his biological father. He didn’t really know him. So Andy, who has grown children of his own, happily fills that role for the guy who calls him ‘Pops.’ Like many fathers and sons, they pick at each other about sports preferences. Josh is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. Andy, says Josh, “is a bandwagon jumper.”
“I mess with Andy all the time,” Josh says. That’s in abundant display one day as the two visit at Room In The Inn, bickering about football teams — Andy calls the Cowboys the “Cowgirls” — why Josh doesn’t like pork (“I gave it up,” he says) and whether Josh should quit smoking.
Many of those discussions involve Andy sharing advice gleaned from years of experience. Josh takes it all in, but frequently ends conversations with his tag line: “I’m a grown- ass man, and I’ll do what I want.”
Andy says of the two of them individually, “There’s nothing special about either of us.” But clearly, together, this Odd Couple’s relationship is.