By Jody Fuller
Last week, I stood outside the entrance to the Epworth Center at Auburn United Methodist Church. A few minutes later, I moved over to an outside bench. A few minutes after that, I moved to a comfortable seat just inside the door. It was hot. I needed some conditioned air. No matter where I was, I kept seeing two of my favorite things: happy people and covered dishes.
I was there to speak to the Harvesters, a group of seniors who gather monthly for fun, fellowship, and food. In fact, the food is so good that it’s referred to as “the best lunch in town,” and neither my plate nor my stomach will argue with that. There was enough homecooked food to feed an army, and it was delicious.
The only thing missing was pear salad—not that I’m a fan of pear salad. It’s just not very often I attend a church potluck anywhere in Alabama where pear salad isn’t on the table. It was a gathering of seniors, after all. Who thought pear salad was a good idea anyway? To me, it’s up there with Tussy deodorant. But, I digress.
The Harvesters were such a fun group to be with. I must’ve had a couple of dozen tell me they were frequent readers of my column. Some stated it’s the first thing they turn to when they get their paper each Sunday morning. I appreciate their comments greatly and am thankful for their support.
They are a patriotic group, too. The gathering took place the day following Independence Day, but the room was decked out in my favorite colors. No, it wasn’t orange and blue. It was decorated in red, white, and blue. The club president gave a short talk on freedom and then we sang three of my favorite songs: Sweet Home Alabama, We are the Champions, and Brown Eyed Girl. I kid. Actually, we sang The Star Spangled Banner, My Country, ‘Tis of Thee, and America the Beautiful. I sing terribly but I love belting out these beautiful songs.
I talked to a lot of people. One lady told me I was much more handsome in person than I am in the photo accompanied with my column. That’s not something I hear every day, but I’ll take it. Who doesn’t like a compliment? A brief discussion with another member resulted in the revelation that she graduated from Dadeville High School with my mother in 1968. There was also the lady who told me she meant to make pear salad but was out of cherries, and to her, pear salad just wasn’t pear salad without the cherry. I call that “high-dolla” pear salad.
Then there was the guy who told me the same stuttering joke that every man over 60 has told me for the past 10 years. “Have you heard the one about the stuttering Bible salesmen? Stop me if you’ve heard this before. I never stop them and never will. If they are laughing, I am laughing.
This was a great group of folks who help out their fellow Harvesters, their church, and their community in countless ways. Most of all, they’re just a great group of folks who get together for fun, fellowship, and food. Who doesn’t like that? They’re an active group, too, with trips planned to Georgia and South Carolina over the next couple of months. I’d encourage anyone to start or get involved in a similar group at their church.
I had a wonderful time. I was only supposed to talk for about 20 minutes but wound up running my pie hole closer to thirty. No one got up to leave during my set, but as soon as I was done, a handful of them jumped up and made a beeline to, well, you know. They were seniors, after all.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.