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My Garden of Life: Georgia on My Mind

Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. 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 jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com

I had a busy week. Man, I was all over the place, and by “all over the place,” I mean mostly Georgia, with Alabama on each end. The Peach State has been good to me this year.

Earlier in the year—I believe it was spring—I spoke at the Blakely-Early County Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet. It didn’t go very well in my opinion. Some venues and events are just better than others. There was way too much space between me and the audience, and the sound system was struggling, too. The first event I did for them last year could not have gone any better.

I guess it didn’t go too terribly bad, because the Early County Superintendent of Schools was there and still booked me to speak to her teachers and faculty in October. That event went really well. I was close to the crowd and could feel the electricity.

I did two safety/comedy talks for Georgia Power in September. Earlier, Tifton welcomed me for a hospice volunteer appreciation event. I went to Augusta to entertain at the State Kiwanis Convention. I did McIntosh County Schools in Darien and performed at a warriors retreat at Lake Lanier. Like I said, Georgia has been good to me.

Last Thursday, I spoke at the Alabama Chapter of the Solid Waste Association’s conference at Lake Guntersville State Park. I’ve done both Albertville and Guntersville City Schools, but I’d never been to the state park. Oh, my goodness! It was beautiful, especially with the foliage, and I can’t wait to go back. It went ok. I got to talk a little trash. They were a little quiet, but the guy who hired me is already trying to book me for something else. The fried catfish dinner was really good.

From there, I booked it on down to Reynolds, Georgia, for a Farm Bureau appreciation event that same evening. These farmers and their families were my kind of people—the salt of the earth, if you will. The show went really well. The BBQ was really good, too.

I performed at a first responders appreciation banquet at First Baptist Church in Alpharetta the next night. After driving though rush hour in Atlanta on a Friday, church was exactly where I needed to be—well, there or a hospital. My nerves were shot, as was my patience. Atlanta drivers are apparently proud of their horns, as well as their middle fingers. There’s a reason I live way out in the country. I have about six car pass in front of the house each day, and twice it’s the rural mail carrier. It gets busy on Thursdays, though; it’s trash day.

Everyone seemed to have had a good time. It was in the gym, so the sound wasn’t all that great, but it was definitely an honor to be with these wonderful men and women. If you’re a first responder, this Major salutes you. Oh, yeah, the food was good.

Saturday night, I was at The Boar’s Nest in Hazzard County. I got caught up in a speed trap, so it was either perform there or get a ticket. I performed, so Rosco tore up the ticket. Some of you well “get” this.

n reality, I was in Dublin…Georgia, not Ireland. I was there just last month for a corporate event with Farmer’s Furniture. Dublin is home to their corporate headquarters. I was there this time for an awards dinner for West Fraser lumber mill. I had great time there. The venue was a beautiful old warehouse, which sat right next to the train tracks. It used to be an icehouse, hence the name, “The Ice House.” The reception was far from cold, as I received a warm reception. It didn’t go as well as I had hoped. The sound wasn’t all that great, but I think most people enjoyed it. I got a lot of positive feedback. The food was, by far, the best of the week. Holy moly! It was good. I made it back home just before midnight so that I’d be ready for church on Sunday.

I left again Sunday night to head back down to Southwest Georgia. I had the honor of speaking at the Veterans Day ceremony in Bainbridge. I was a little different that what they were accustomed to, and they apparently liked it. While Memorial Day is more of a somber day, Veterans Day doesn’t have to be. It can be more of a celebration. While I took my role very seriously, I inserted some humor into my speech, as well. I also performed comedy at a luncheon afterwards. Both events went well, and the food was good. More importantly, I met some amazing Veterans.

On Tuesday night, I was on the campus of Auburn University at Montgomery for a veterans themed event. I received my Bachelor’s Degree there back in 2001, so it was sort of a homecoming. The campus has grown so much. They treated me like a king. Man, it was awesome. The food was really good, especially the chicken on a stick. The sound system was perfect. Thank you, Ken.

Speaking of awesome, it’s awesome to be home for a while. While I enjoy doing what I do, there’s nothing like home. Until next time, thank you Georgia.