Monday, September 10, 2007

Only a Thought Away

(Forsyth, GA) I was in town tonight to speak to the annual fundraiser for the Monroe County Hospital. As many of you know I speak a lot and I have an agent (who is also my brother in law) who books these events, handles the financial part and works out the details. I just show up to speak.

But every now and then I bypass the booking and financial process and do it on my own without charge. Tonight was one of those nights. Lamar (Brer) and Carey Russell from Forsyth are lifelong friends. In fact the Russell’s grew up right across the street from where I grew up in Reynolds. Brer and his twin sister Lynn were a few years older than me and the same age as my oldest brother. The Russell’s are like kinfolks.

Hoot and Grace Russell (Brer’s parents) were close friends with my parents. Hoot Russell was definitely a hoot. He and my dad were always playing a joke on each other and always carrying on foolishness. There was a lot of laughter when those two were together. Hoot died many years ago and Grace eventually sold the house and moved in a smaller apartment across town. She would order her groceries from our store on the phone and I would deliver them to her apartment. I don’t think I ever visited her when she did not give me something. She considered me as one of her own.

When Brer called me a couple of months ago and asked me to speak at this event I was in a rental car in Colorado headed to a speaking engagement. He laughed when he found out where I was because he has known me since I was born and still cannot believe people actually pay me to travel across the country to speak for 30 minutes.

Anyway tonight was a blast. I donated a percentage of the proceeds from my book sales tonight to the Monroe County Hospital. I made a little money and actually ended up selling enough books to sponsor a full table at the banquet.

I think I made the 300 or so people think a little tonight. And there was a whole lot of laughter in the room –kind of like it was when my dad and Hoot were together years ago.

A lot of years have passed since those days. But the wonderful memories are only a thought away.


Judy S said...

I'm like Brer about people paying to hear you speak. Of course, after hearing you a few times now I know why. It's really fun, when you think about what some of the kids from Taylor County have done. Just can't beat that small town up bringing.

Anonymous said...

I was having lunch last Friday in Forsyth with a friend of mine, when a man walked up to the table next to us and began talking to them. I didn't pay any attention to begin with, as I'm really not into eavesdropping. That is - until I heard your name. My friend and I both stopped chewing and listened to the conversation for a minute. He must have been talking about the Monroe Co Hospital fundraiser and told his friends that you were going to be the guest speaker, how they should make a point to come, how much they'd enjoy hearing you. It sounded, at one point, as if he had memorized your introduction, as he related it to them practically word-for-word. The first thing that popped into my head was, "Hey, I know him!" My friend and I both laughed. She had the same thoughts. And we knew you'd make sure everyone enjoyed themselves. Wish I could have been there.

I see you have a CD on sale. I have your book and wondered if it is the same material as is in the book?

God bless you, Bruce. You're bringing so much laughter to the world - and that's the best medicine around!