I met Drew Patterson when I was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church on Woodmont in Nashville. I was playing, actually practicing, guitar in the sanctuary. He complimented me and asked to hear more. From that moment on I had made a friend who was more supportive than anyone I have ever known…
Through the years he brought his chicken truck up to my property where Millie, my wife, and I used to hold a yearly bash called “A Homebrew and a Song Party.” I would brew beer, fellow songwriters played their songs, tours were given of a nearby cave and Drew broasted well over 200 pieces of chicken. If not for Drew Patterson there would have no broasted chicken throughout most of the South.
He was always the biggest hit of the party. Long before a date was settled I would have friends ask if Drew was going to be there. As well as the trailer with the broasting equipment set up: ready to go, he also had an El Camino with a huge chicken in the bed… it’s head hanging over the cab of the El Camino. When he went down the road the chicken’s eyes lit up.
Marvelous. Absolutely marvelous.
I remember the house he shared in Nashville with a lot of people. To me he always seemed like the house-father who listened to people’s troubles and helped them out all he could. But I couldn’t remember the name of the street. The day before publication I received this note from Natalie Bradley…
“Vickie and Drew headed up the Primrose House in Nashville, which took in strays like me, needing a place to call home with people that loved us unconditionally. It was there I was able to heal, get myself back together, and make it back to school to finish my degree.”
That was Drew: an enabler of the good; always the good.
When he moved to Louisville, KY he invited me up to perform at that UU church: the one downtown. I remember meeting many of his talented friends including John Gage: a Louisville phenomenon, and phenomena. Since that night he has included his very talented sons to help paint wider, more complex, more beautiful pictures with his songs. One of the last conversations Drew and I had was regarding just how incredibly talented they all were.
Drew Patterson was a member of the Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. He escorted at Planned Parenthood. Drew was also an Honorable Kentucky Colonel, an ordained Humanist and a card carrying member of the ACLU.
To say Drew had more than a few friends is far too modest. And all he did to help others always brought him more.
He was telling me, when I saw him last, that he was helping his more musical friends in Louisville broadcast a show to showcase their talents. As far as I know Drew played nothing, but had respect and a love of those who played good music. We were both Harry Chapin fans. Here he is with his friends, many who went out the last night I saw him to have pizza, celebrate their lives and have John Gage add his special music talents to the event.
You can’t write about Drew Patterson without mentioning Vickie Miller Patterson, his wife, to the right in both pictures.
Without fail they both described each other as “the love of my life.” They first fell in love at an early age. There was no doubt that the two “were as one,” in so many ways. And despite Drew’s passing after a planned surgery procedure intended to extend his life, they will always be together. Nothing can get between them, not even the last beats of a passionate heart.
The causes he supported were many. He loathed religious intolerance. He was an escort for a abortion clinic in downtown Louisville, KY. A very passionate man we butted heads more than a few times regarding politics, although we generally agreed. Religion? Much the same.
A few weeks ago I stopped and stayed the night. He took me out to Sergio’s: a multi-tap bar, because I wanted to to a column on them. He held bottles for me to photograph, and opened doors. In fact: that was Drew; opening doors for other people… a far, far less than selfish life, well led.
I will miss him.
During that visit he mentioned that he was going in for elective surgery to help a heart condition: something his wife, Vickie, was worried about.
“She’s more worried than I am. I just figure ‘whatever happens, happens.'”
That was Drew. Whether protecting patients, or supporting good music, or understanding the passions of others, Drew opened doors and went through them. But this operation was the final door for him… in this life.
He will be missed: more than he, or his wife Vickie, or even his many friends, could have imagined.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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This link leads a page featuring a story which includes an interview with Drew regarding his escort work.