Special to the Opelika Observer

The other day, I was at my friend’s house out in the country when she pulled out her bow and arrow. She had an archery target leaning against the barn. After she shot a couple of arrows, I got my chance. I’d never shot a bow and arrow. The closest I’ve ever come is watching Oliver Queen on the TV show Arrow. I reckon I learned from Bo and Luke Duke, too, but they had dynamite strapped to the end of theirs.
She coached me up real good, but I feared I wouldn’t be able to hit the broad side of the barn. Literally. After a couple of false starts, I gripped it, pulled back and fired away. I did hit the broad side of the barn. Literally. Barely.
I try not to eat at very many chain restaurants during my travels, but Cracker Barrel is always a good bet. The people are friendly, the food is comforting and the peg game is a great, yet addicting, way to kill time while awaiting the country fried steak, mashed potatoes and hash brown casserole. I love my veggies, but Cracker Barrel is all about the starch—and the peg game.
One peg makes all the difference in the world. I’ve played it for as long as I can remember, and I may have left two a handful of times, which, according to the official rules, means I’m “purty smart.” I’m not bragging, because I usually leave three, which according to the official rules, means I’m “purty dumb.”
There was, however, this one time in Cullman, Ala., when the stars aligned, and I left a single peg. According to the official rules, I was “genius.” The angels were singing. Perhaps it was the Cracker Barrel Quartet; I’m not sure. Either way, it was a magical moment in my life. I vowed to never play the game again. Why would I want to mess up perfection?
She coached me up some more. This time, I knew exactly how to aim. I vowed to hit the target. The broad side of the barn was no longer an option. I got in a proper stance, gripped it, bent my elbow just a bit and then let it go. Bullseye! It was a thing of beauty. Perfection. I was ready for some dynamite.
For some reason, it took a little longer for my food to arrive. The peg game kept staring at me. I didn’t want to play, but I had to do something. I figured if I could leave one peg once, then I could certainly do it again. So, after being on top of the Cracker Barrel peg game world for seven minutes, I gave in and started a new game. Minutes later, I felt “purty dumb.”
I never made that vow with respect to the bow and arrow. I was ready to keep on pulling and so I did. Once again, I got in my proper stance, gripped it, bent my elbow just a bit and then let it go. Bullseye? Not so fast, my friend. This time, it was all barn, and that was just fine with me. I went from the top of the archery world to barely hitting the broad side of the barn.
It didn’t matter. I was learning. I was trying new things. That’s what life is all about. Never settle. Never give up. Find a great coach and load that arrow. You won’t hit bullseye every time, and that’s okay. That’s life. Keep on trying.
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 jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.


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