By Jody Fuller
February was a good month. It started off with a corporate gig in Louisiana on the first day of the month. I made a lot of great contacts and will certainly get more work from it sometime down the road.
After that, I didn’t have any gigs for 10 days, but I still had work to do. Talking is the easy part—even for a stuttering guy. It’s the writing, searches, paperwork, emails, marketing, etc. that make up the real work. As we say in the Army, “Planning is hard; execution is easy.” Besides, persistence and patience pay off.
My next gig was on a Sunday night at First United Methodist Church in Alex City. At first, I thought someone had pulled a major rib on me. When I arrived at the church, there was no one there. I drove around the block to the other side, yet there was still no one to be found—not even any cars. Fortunately, I looked to my right and saw cars parked all around an adjacent building called The Arbor. I was relieved, but that would have been funny.
I didn’t feel like it went as well as it should have, and that was all on me. I was tired, but apparently everyone enjoyed it. I’m always my own worst critic. I got a lot of positive feedback. I even saw several old friends there. As I was leaving, some of the kids were playing basketball. I picked up the ball and shot three times, missing the hoop altogether with each attempt. That was embarrassing. I pulled off my suitcoat, so I could get a better shot. I still missed, so I made an easy layup and exited stage right and drove directly to Birmingham.
I spoke the next day at Ross Bridge for the Alabama Association of Tax Administrators Winter Conference. It went well. I saw several old friends there, too. I even made a few new ones. They already want me for the summer conference in Orange Beach.
On Tuesday, I received a surprise email. I was scheduled to entertain at the state Workforce Conference back in the fall, but it was cancelled due to severe weather. I’d emailed several times over the past few weeks but never heard back from them. It had been rescheduled, but they were having email issues. They asked if I was available for the next night, which was Valentine’s Day. I was indeed available. My better half understood. I just had to bring her home some chocolate. My persistence and patience paid off.
Initially, I didn’t think it well all that well, primarily because I didn’t get a standing ovation. I know. I know. Sometimes I get spoiled. Dr. Jack Hawkins, Chancellor of Troy, spoke after me. I hung onto every word he said. I could have listened to him for hours. He also failed to get a “standing O,” so I guess I was in good company. He was an amazing speaker. They asked me back for the fall conference. I guess I did ok. The crowd just didn’t feel like standing.
On Thursday, I was at Artesia Baptist Church, near Starkville, Mississippi. I had such a great time with this small Baptist church. Fortunately, they all had a good time, too, and left their cowbells at home. Funny enough, a former pastor at the church, Billy Hunt, later moved to preach in Opelika, my hometown.
I made it back home around two in the morning, and, after a few hours of sleep, spent the day with my family
Saturday night, I had a gig at a non-denominational church in Ellaville, Georgia. That was so much fun, and, once again, I met some amazing people. Marty, the chef, knew how to cook, too. Man, was it good! They even gave me some flowers to take home to Lucy. That got me some brownie points.
On Monday, I was up the road in rural Alabama in the community of Woodland to speak at their civic club. We’d been trying to get this scheduled for well over a year now but were unable to get it done for one reason or another. Persistence and patience pay off. I think everyone had an enjoyable time. I know I did. I even scored a cool coffee mug.
Somewhere along the way, I got some articles written and spent time with my family, which, of course, include the dogs. I’ve been busy and blessed. Life is good and getting better. Persistence and patience pay off.
It was a good run across the southeast. I was blessed to entertain a trifecta of churches from three different states and three different denominations. I performed in four states, received three standing ovations, two additional bookings, and a partridge in a pear tree.
I provided for my family and made a lot of new friends. I’m blessed. Persistence and patience always pay off.