On Sunday, I took my mother to see this run’s final showing of “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF) in Montgomery. As usual, it was an exceptional performance by a stellar cast. I’ve come to expect nothing less than excellence from the ASF.
The play was so good and so inspiring that I’m surprised no one has written a book about it.
There was but one problem; I had a plane to catch in Atlanta shortly after the play.
I thought my flight was later than it actually was, so I had some time to make up.
The last time I drove back to Opelika from Montgomery in the same vehicle with my mother had to have been in the early eighties. The speed limit was only 55 MPH back then. I’m not sure that mattered, though. We had a 1980 Pinto with a spoiler, so I doubt we ever approached the speed limit.
On this day, we made it back in record time.
When we got to my house, I gave my mother several old editions of East Alabama Living and the Opelika Observer, not to mention a bag of pulled pork. I then sent her on her way.
I was running late, so time was of the essence.
I packed lightly in one small carry-on suitcase so I wouldn’t have to check in any baggage.
I checked in online and printed off my boarding pass so I could go directly to security upon arrival at the airport.
My house is just shy of 100 miles from Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport. I pulled onto the interstate at 6:00 and my flight was set to depart at 7:40. There was a part of me that thought I would never make it, but another part, a more positive part, knew that I would.
I was sitting in seat 7C at 7:28.
I’m probably guilty of driving in excess of the 70 MPH posted speed limit but I was a man on a mission.
I’d never missed a flight in Atlanta and I didn’t plan on missing one now.
I was flying to Houston to meet up with my friends, the GI’s of Comedy, for a show on the campus of Texas A&M University sponsored by the President George H. W. Bush Foundation. I called my pals to inform them that missing my flight was a distinct possibility but I would jump through hoops to prevent that from happening.
Lady Luck was shining down upon me from the start as I encountered very little traffic.
I was quickly able to find a parking spot near the terminal entrance. Security was a breeze. The train to the gates pulled up as I was walking up, and my gate was the first one to the left of Concourse C.
I made it with just minutes to spare, but I made it.
Perhaps it was karma; perhaps it was luck. Who knows? I’m just glad I made it.
I got to Houston only to find out that my buddies had been delayed in St. Louis for four hours due to snow.
I couldn’t help but laugh.
Two nights later, we did our show at A&M, and, by all means, it was a success.
The folks from the Bush Foundation, as well as the University, treated us very well. They don’t call it the friendliest campus in the whole world for nothing. All one has to do is say “Howdy.”
The Battalion, the Texas A&M student newspaper, quoted me as saying the following during my set. “When people told me I couldn’t be an officer in the military because I stuttered, it is kind of like when people told y’all A&M wouldn’t be good in the SEC this year,” Fuller said. “Guess we both proved them wrong.”
Whether it’s making it to the airport on time or winning in the SEC, people will always question your ability to reach a goal. It’s your job to prove them wrong. The toughest part is when you have to prove yourself wrong.
Jody Fuller is a comic, a speaker, and a soldier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com