By JODY FULLER
Last week, I had a speaking engagement with the Mississippi Rural Water Association in Jackson, Mississippi. You may wonder why I felt the need to double down on the Mississippi there since it should have been obvious that the conference took place in the Magnolia State.
In June, I’m doing the Louisiana Propane Gas Association in Gulf Breeze, Florida, so you just never know. It could have been Jackson, Alabama. They were a great group of folks and were all so very kind to me. Mississippi, in general, has been very good to me regarding speaking and comedy opportunities.
I was there for two nights at the Hampton Inn. I was looking forward to a couple of good nights of sleep in a king-size bed. I wouldn’t have to worry about the baby crying, the puppy whining, the dogs barking or the wife snoring in a cramped queen-size bed. It was going to be a little mini-vacation.
That’s not how it played out, though. While I hit a couple of my favorite restaurants — nothing fancy, just good — I spent most of the time working. Because of the baby, I don’t get a lot of work done around here, so I have to take advantage of that hotel time when I can, not to mention that hotel tub. Man, I love taking a hot bath. This time, however, there was no tub, just a shower. When it came time to sleep, I couldn’t. It was too quiet. I missed the crying baby, the whining puppy, the barking dogs, and the snoring wife. And I stayed in my little spot on the side of the bed where I most certainly snored too.
When I got home, Lucy was awfully sweet to me. I felt something was up and I was right. While I was off in Jackson town, she’d taken it upon herself to get some baby chickens. She’d even built a holding pen for them, using pieces of this and pieces of that from around the farm. I didn’t mind because they are very inexpensive and we love fresh eggs. We usually purchase them from a family friend a few miles down the road. In a few months, we’ll have our own. Now I just have to learn how to milk ‘em.
That night, I was back in my little spot in the bed. The baby was crying. The puppy was whining. The dogs were barking. The wife was snoring. The husband was snoring. And the chicks were chirping or peeping or whatever they do. I slept like a champ. Abby likes to point at the biddies and say, “Chick chick.” She learned that from spending time up at mawmaw’s and pawpaw’s and I just learned that “biddies” is spelled with d’s and not t’s.
Over the next few days, Lucy started working on her coop, using mostly wood and wire from around the farm. It was her idea so I let her run with it. I helped here and there but it was mostly her. I gathered some old, rusty tin for the roof so I feel I contributed. I also got in the loft of the barn infested with dirt daubers to look for things. Mostly I was there for moral support — at least that’s what our friend at the building supply store said when we were getting three 1x4s for the roof. I let Lucy do all the talking. “Are you just here for moral support?” he asked. I reckon I was.
We’ve had these jokers for just a week and they’ve already doubled in size. I grabbed a bunch of caterpillars out of a tree yesterday afternoon and we fed them to the chicks. You talk about entertaining! Before that, mimi bought us chicken for dinner. They were in the other room. You talk about awkward.
Next week, I’ll be staying overnight in Georgia for a gig. I’m already nervous about coming home from that trip. There’s no telling what she’ll have waiting for me. I’m hoping for a kangaroo because that would be cool. Either way, I’ll be there, at least for moral support.
Jody Fuller 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, please visit www.jodyfuller.com