Matthew Epperson

Hardest Lesson Learned by Matthew Epperson

Stevie Ray Vaughn once said, “You don’t know the blues until you’ve seen your guitar in a pawn shop.” Such an ambiguous statement. There is so much to be said there and unless you’ve experienced it, you have no clue the devestation.

When I was 18, I was homeless. Not in the ‘sleeping on a friends couch’ homeless; or the ‘sleeping in my car’ homeless. No, I was flat out on my back sleeping wherever I fell homeless. About 8 years ago, I got released from Carroll County Detention Center and I had no where to go and no direction. Except my guitar down in Nicholasville (South of Lexington Ky and a 2 hour drive.) So, I started walking. No phone, no money, and wet clothes that had been stored in a plastic bag the night I was arrested. I stunk!

I went to liquor store and stole a bottle of Red Stagg to help me along the way. When I got released from jail, it was 2 p.m. After walking, hitch hiking, and dodging oncoming traffic in the back roads of Kentucky, I made it to Nicholasville by 4 a.m. (Impressive. I know)

Upon arriving at my “friends” house, who had to get up for work in 3 hours, he said to me, “Here’s your guitar, but you can’t sleep here.” I asked if I could just sleep on the porch. At least then I wouldn’t be subject to another incarceration. “Nope,” was his response.

So I walked down the street and literally collapsed. I was woken up by a cop who identified the wrist band from the previous jail, had sympathy on me, and told me to kick rocks. I walked a few more feet until he was gone, and collapsed again in a drainage ditch.

The next day, after a futile night of sleep, I started towards Lexington. I had another “friend” who might let me stay with him, but carrying a guitar is not light. And Lex is a good 30 min drive from where I was. Not to mention I just covered over 100 miles on foot the day before. I went to a pawn shop and let my baby go for 50 dollars.

As I grew older, I realized that I could make money playing music on the street corners. I wish I had the nerve, or even idea to do that back then. I could’ve made 50 dollars in a night. I didn’t get another get for over a year after that.

If you are out there, and you are on the verge of selling something you love to make ends meet, I implore you… DO NOT! Hold out for a bit longer and see what happens. Sacrifice something else. It will be the biggest mistake of your life if you let that thing go.

Go see something live!

#VoteforSuzie

Matthew Epperson
DOC #284812

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