This coronavirus is something else. I’ve already had five speaking engagements postponed or canceled over the next month or so, with more to follow I’m sure.
I’ve never experienced anything like this. I might have to start selling plasma or barking for the Yak woman to make ends meet. One way or another, I know I’ll be okay. I know, yet hope and pray, that others will be, too.
I had several gigs over the past 10 days or so. The first one was at a men’s conference in Moulton, Alabama. You ever heard of Moulton, Alabama? I never had either until I met the minister of music at a Baptist event in Birmingham in January.
He liked my presentation, so he invited me to bring humor to his church. I spoke on Friday night and Saturday morning. As always, I met so many wonderful people, which is the highlight of what I do.
Moulton is a sweet, little town in the northwest part of the state not too far from Florence. I had to drive through Bankhead National Forest to get there. I really enjoyed that and can’t wait to go back to explore the Sipsey Wilderness.
They put me up in a barn — a barn that I shared with goats. Seriously. They were cute and quiet, but very curious.
Steps led up to the loft where my room was. I was expecting something like Patrick Swayze’s quarters in “Roadhouse,” which I was fine with, but when I opened the door, I was blown away. The whole thing was renovated and beautiful in every imaginable way. It was five-star accommodations as far as I’m concerned.
I had to get on back home Saturday because I was booked to perform at a community outreach event at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Ashland. In all the years I’ve been doing comedy or speaking, I’ve never been to a place so far off the beaten path.
Wow! I mean, I didn’t hear banjos or anything, but it was way out there. That being said, I had the best time. There was no microphone and there were crying babies, but it still went so incredibly well.
I love performing in towns across our state where I’ve never have had the opportunity to do so. I can now add Moulton and Ashland to the list. Somerville would have been put on the list later this month; however, it was postponed to a date to be determined.
Midweek, I spoke at an event in Dadeville for the Chamber of Commerce. It was an all-around good time, because I had a lot of family and friends there. There were even folks there who knew my dad.
The mayor said that people might start leaving at 1 o’clock, yet no one did. One gentleman had to leave a few minutes past 1, while everyone else stayed for the duration.
On Saturday, I went to the metropolis of Cordova for an event for the VFW Auxiliary. The venue was at a restaurant on the banks of the Warrior River. I sat across from my friend Rod, who is a previous state commander of the VFW.
He’s a real hero! He earned two Purple Hearts in Vietnam, where he was assigned to the River Patrol. I asked if it was anything like the movie “Apocalypse Now.” He said, “Yes, without the skiing.’ He also had five ink pens in his T-shirt pocket. I had to pick on him about that. Old people and their shirt pockets. I reckon I’ll be there one day, too.
Cordova marked the third new town in a week. I can’t wait to reach 100 towns in Alabama. I’m probably somewhere around 70 now.
Last Sunday, I was the guest speaker at Union Methodist Church near Martin Dam. They are currently without a pastor, so they are just having guest speakers in the meantime.
I let them know right off the bat that I was not a preacher. I’m so far from that. They let me know that they just wanted to laugh. In fact, they needed to laugh, so I did everything I could to bring that much-needed laughter.
I have to say that we had a good time. There was lots of laughter, and they rewarded me for that with lots of pear salad and deviled eggs. They treated me like family, as they would have any other. It was a good gig to end on.
If you’re a pastor looking for a flock to lead, I’m sure they’d love to hear from you. These are good people, and I was blessed to be with them on this day.
I don’t know when my next speaking opportunity is. I hope it’s not too far down the road, and I hope event planners are still planning for summer, fall and winter conferences and other functions.
The pandemic might be here, but, like other outbreaks, I expect it’ll be long gone in a few weeks. I pray that it will be anyway. Folks need to work, kids need to be in school and, certainly, we all need to be in church.
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 email@example.com. For more information, visit www.jodyfuller.com.