Loving the Rain

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It sure was good to get that rain last week. The older I get, the more I appreciate the wet stuff. When I was a kid, I didn’t want it to rain—ever. In fact, “Rain, rain, go away, please come back another day,” was a bold-faced lie I often said as a child. Child, please! I didn’t care if the ground was cracking. I didn’t care if the weather was partly cloudy with a 100% chance of dust, I did not want rain on my radar, figuratively or literally speaking.

Nowadays, I wouldn’t care if it rained every day. I sure could have used it over the summer with my garden. I watered my crops by hand every single day, sometimes twice a day. I didn’t mind, though, because it gave me that one on one time with each one of my babies that each one so desperately needed. My watering and sweet talk paid off by yielding a tremendous amount of fruits and vegetables for this first time farmer. I can’t wait until next spring.

I made the mistake of getting out in the traffic during that first day of rain. I don’t know what I was thinking. You would have thought that the automobile had been invented that morning. It was as if a pack of Jack Russells all jacked up on Mountain Dew had stolen all the cars from the Kia plant and went for one huge joyride around Opelika and Auburn. Henry Ford was no doubt rolling over in his Model T.

I should have just stayed put and enjoyed it from the comfort of my own home.

I recognize and appreciate rain with all five senses: hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste.

There’s nothing quite like the sound of rain. I have pleasant childhood memories from my maw maw’s old log cabin home way out in the country. The sound of the rain pounding down on that old tin roof is a sound I hope to be able to create one day at my own country home. For what it’s worth, it may have been aluminum, but tin is easier to spell.

I love to sit out on my porch and watch the rain. Forrest Gump described it as everything from “little bitty stinging rain” to “sideways rain” to “big fat rain.”

I love to touch the rain, too. I love when those first few drops fall. I hold out both hands, palms up just to verify that I did indeed feel a drop of rain. I love to look up and feel a couple of drops on my face. What I do not love is when I’m sitting out on my porch and my hands, face, and whole body gets slammed by the “sideways rain.”

To me, the smell of rain is up there with bacon, pretty ladies, and puppy breath on the Mount Rushmore of pleasant smells. Besides puppy breath, I could use a whole lot more of these pleasant smells in my life. Ruby is all the dog I need for now.

I even like to open my mouth wide, look up into the sky, and taste the rain. The “big fat rain” is the best style for tasting.

Barring thunder and lightning, rain is just plain peaceful. I sleep so well during a downpour. There’s nothing like raised windows in a bedroom during a drizzle, or so I hear. I don’t have screens, so I can’t do that. I don’t want to let my inside critters out, nor do I want to let the outside critters in. One day, I’ll invest in screens and truly know what living the good life is.

I think it’s supposed to rain Monday. I can’t wait. Maybe I’ll get a pie pan and stick it outside my bedroom window.

Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Alabama. He is a comedian, 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 http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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A Tough but Fair Man…Rest in Peace, Mr. Young

I wrote this article for the Summer 2015 edition of East Alabama Living. Mr. Young passed away today, August 31, 2016. I am so thankful to have had him as a teacher. My class was the last class to have him. He was tough as nails but always very fair. 

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A Tough but Fair Man

Bill Young was born to Shaffer and Johnnie Young in 1928 at his grandmother’s home just north of Shady Grove Church near the dam on Lake Wedowee. His father, a veteran of World War I, taught school in Clay County and maintained the family farm. His mother handled everything at home, which included raising two sons.

Young graduated from Lineville High School in 1947. Shortly thereafter, the family sold the farm and moved to Opelika.

He attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn, but had no money. On a whim, he decided to join the National Guard at Ft. Dallas B. Smith Armory in Opelika. Between the National Guard, active duty, and the Army Reserves, he would go on to wear the uniform for nearly four decades.

Due to his focus on education, he was oftentimes unable to attend summer camp resulting in loss of rank. “I was promoted to private first class three different times,” he chuckled. Eventually he was called to active duty and was promoted to sergeant. “I skipped corporal, altogether. They made me a buck sergeant,” he recalls with pride.

Although the Korean War was taking place during his tenure on active duty, he didn’t have to go overseas. He was stationed in South Carolina, Texas, Indiana, and Louisiana. Staff Sergeant Young left active duty in late summer of 1952. Later, he received a direct commission and was promoted to second lieutenant.

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In 1953, he graduated from Auburn with a degree in Agriculture Education.

His first teaching position was in Thomaston, Georgia. The superintendent, who was from Waverly, hired him fairly quickly. “He saw my Auburn ring and found out I was from Opelika. That was all it took,” he says. “I taught math, science, and shop. I picked up the loose ends, so to speak.”

After two years in Georgia, he returned to East Alabama. He taught agriculture for two years in Seale at the old courthouse, which was in close proximity to the school. He also started graduate school at Auburn.

Following another stint on active duty, he began his career with Opelika City Schools. For the first few years, he taught physical science. Many of his former students remember his class fondly but remember him as a disciplinarian, too.

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“I will always love this man. He was a great science teacher. He was the best of the best. I also have many memories of his paddle,” recalls one former student.

“He could swing that paddle when he needed to. He got my attention quickly,” recalls another.

“I enjoyed teaching science. It was a good class. I enjoyed that,” he says. “I taught it until Dr. Clyde Zeanah became superintendent. He wanted Industrial Arts. I had experience in shop, so he asked me to do it. I bought all the tools and learned how to work them all.”

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In 1985, after 34 years of teaching, he retired. It was also around this same time that he retired from the Army Reserves. Major Young served a total of 39 years.

He’s kept extremely busy since retirement. He owned Young’s Grocery in Opelika. Joyce, his lovely bride, ran the store since its opening in 1970. Upon retirement, he was able to spend more time at the store and did so until it burned down in 1999. He’s spent a great deal of time at his farm near Lineville, too.

“It makes me feel better to do something. I keep a list of things to do. I just can’t sit around and do nothing. I know too many people who did nothing when they retired, and they didn’t last very long,” he passionately states.

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“Mr. Young was a great teaching mentor for a beginning teacher like me,” says former colleague Richard Barnes. “He had a lot of wisdom and experience which he freely shared. He raised some hard working, smart children and their families have contributed a lot to this community. He is still taking care of OHS grads in ways he will never brag about. God bless him.”

Whether it was his role as an educator or a service member, Bill Young was known as a tough man but a fair man. He was a disciplinarian who served as that father figure that so many lacked at home. “I don’t care what you think about me now. I care what you think about me in 20 years,” he often said. Those of us who were fortunate enough to have Mr. Young as teacher hold him in the highest regards, and it didn’t take 20 years to do so.

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Rest in peace, sir. 

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 http://www.jodyfuller.com.

Basic Training (excerpt from my upcoming book)

This is just an excerpt from my chapter on basic training, which took place between August and October of 1992. Please sign up to follow my blog or sign up with your email, because potential publishers like to see see large followings. Like the last excerpt I released, this is just the meat and potatoes so please don’t point out any errors, as this is likely to change a dozen times. For those of you reading this who may not know me, I stutter, which is not a big deal, but it is pertinent to this excerpt.

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I had several issues with stuttering during basic. “F” words have always been a challenge, and when we got to the front of the chow line, we had to stand at parade rest with our military I.D. card under our chin and sound off with our last name and the last four digits of our social security number. I got stuck on “Fuller” on more than one occasion. Several times, I wasn’t able to get it out very quickly and was sent to the rear of the line.

One time, I actually got to eat before anyone in the whole company, because I won the drill sergeant impression contest. To my credit, I sounded just like him. I walked around the barracks at night sometimes just trying to lighten the mood amongst my platoon. I never intended to upset anyone, but a couple of times, guys came running out of the shower to stand at attention next to their locker. I was apparently very convincing. A couple of them wanted to kick my butt, but they got over it.

The drill sergeant is an odd creature. They are really just regular soldiers just like the rest of us, but they happen to have an odd job. Sometimes they were cool, and other times they were the polar opposite for no apparent reason whatsoever. Some were only with us a few weeks. Some were with us the entire cycle. Some of us even teared up when they left. Others took leave during those eight weeks, and we missed them when they were gone. Maybe it was the Army’s version of Stockholm Syndrome. I don’t know. To their credit, they were up before us and awake after we went to sleep, so one can certainly understand their moodiness.

Blending in and being vanilla was key during basic training. We were in week four before my drill sergeant even knew I existed. I never got in trouble, but I still got yelled at sometimes for stupid things.

After a few weeks, we were given a few hours of personal time on Sunday. We were limited as to where we could go, but many of us would go down to the mini-mall in the basic training area. One day, I was standing outside next to some guys I didn’t even know. Somehow they got their hands on a pack of cigarettes. A short drill sergeant from another unit saw them and was heading over to rip them a new one when they saw him, so they all got the hell out of Dodge. I stood my ground and stood at parade rest when he got over there, because I’d done nothing wrong. He actually smelled of my fingers to see if he could smell the cigarette. When there was no smell, he yelled at me and told me to get out of his face. What an ass.

Speaking of short, there was another time I get yelled out, by a very tall female drill sergeant. Her last name was Battle, but it very easily could have been another “B” word. While picking up laundry, she told one of us to pick up another soldier’s bag. I stepped out of line to pick it up, and she said, “Get yo short ass back in line.” Most of the drill sergeants I encountered showed their human side at times. She, however, didn’t. I’m convinced she was a wolf in Army clothing.

There was another jerk of a drill sergeant who yelled at me to get off the payphone, so one of his soldiers could use it. I literally had been on the phone with my family for all of 90 seconds. I hate that guy.

Ryan and Adrian sent me lots of mail during this time. Shea sent some, but he was in basic training, too, at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Brad sent one letter—just one measly letter, and I still give him a hard time about that. In the envelope, though, were several toothpicks. I’d been without them for so long that they were good as gold. I put one in my mouth and within five minutes, one of the drill sergeants kindly told me to remove it from my pie hole, as it was not part of my uniform. He didn’t even have to scream and yell, yet he made the same point.

He was correct in that it was not part of my uniform, and I heard that a few times in my career, yet it was okay to have to have a larger stick of fire hanging from your lips  in the form of a cigarette. Some things about military life just doesn’t make sense, but it is what it is, and it is the life we chose.

This is the actual letter, envelopes, and toothpicks I got from Brad. Photo taken 7/23/16

This is the actual letter, envelopes, and toothpicks I got from Brad. Photo taken 7/23/16

My family and friends have always been there for me, so I received a lot of mail during this time. As a true sign of the times, our full social security number was a part of our mailing address.  Mine were addressed to “Joseph,” not Jody. Prior to serving, I had no idea of the significance “Jody” played in the military. “Jody” was the guy back home that took your girl while you were away. There are still many cadences dedicated to this dude.

Ain’t no use in going back

Jody’s got your Cadillac

 

Ain’t no use in calling home

Jody’s got your girl and gone

 

Ain’t no use in feeling blue

Jody’s got your sister too

One day, I received a letter from one of my buddies who’d mistakenly addressed it to “Jody” instead of “Joseph.” My drill sergeant noticed it just before flinging the letter in my direction.

“Wait, is your name Jody?”

“Yes, drill sergeant.”

“So you’re Jody?”

“Yes, drill sergeant.”

“Get down and beat your face!”

That was another way of telling me to do push-ups. He only made me do 10, and it was actually funny. Everyone got a kick out of it. In letters, I told a couple of my friends what’d happened. Boy, was that a mistake. From that point on I was getting two or three envelopes a day addressed to “Jody” and had to do 10 pushups per piece. Sometimes, the envelopes were empty, but there’s always a silver lining. That was the only time in my Army career where I maxed the push-up portion of the PT test.

The pugil stick was a heavily padded pole-like training weapon. It was like a giant Q-tip, only a giant Q-tip used to bash people over the head with. We had the best two out of three, one on one fights until a winner was deemed by one of the drill sergeants. It was like a duel. We stood back to back, before taking five paces and turning around and yelling “KILL” before attacking our opponent.

I went up against this one guy and we’d split the first two bouts. Before the rubber match, my drill sergeant looked over at me and said, “You stutter, don’t you?”

“Roger that, drill sergeant.”

He giggled. Yes, a drill sergeant giggled.

After the fifth pace, I turned around and yelled at the top of my lungs, “K-K-K-K-Kill!!!!” and the whole platoon fell out laughing, including my drill sergeant and my opponent. When I’d lured my opponent into that false sense of security, I went in for the kill and pounded on him until I was declared the victor. It didn’t take long. From that point on, they called me “K-K-Killer.”

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Going in to the Army, I didn’t know it, but I was a hell of a shot with a rifle. Throughout basic marksmanship training, I was one of the top shooters, never shooting less than 36/40. I was so proficient with my weapon that I was assigned to the first firing order on qualification day to set the standard for the rest of the platoon. It was me and five other guys. It was a lot of responsibility, but something I took great pride in.

When the dust had settled, literally, I’d shot a 22/40, thus failing to even qualify. I don’t know what happened, but I was devastated. How could I go from shooting expert to not even qualifying? Perhaps I was getting too cocky and needed to be humbled. We need that sometimes. If that’s the case, it worked. I came back and qualified later in the day, but no matter how well I shot, due to my failure the first go around, I could qualify no better than marksman. It was a bummer, but when put into perspective, it wasn’t all that bad.

Now the gas chamber, that was bad. It seemed innocent enough. It was just a little block building. What’s the big deal? We donned our protective masks and entered in groups of no more than 12. The purpose was to instill confidence in the mask. It was nothing—too easy. The mask worked to perfection. Familiarization and confidence of a soldier’s equipment can be the difference in life and death.

Picture of the actual gas chamber taken by my mother when they came up for graduation. Sorry, I was too lazy to get up to scan the pic, so I just took a photo of it.

Picture of the actual gas chamber taken by my mother when they came up for graduation. Sorry, I was too lazy to get up to scan the pic, so I just took a photo of it.

Don’t forget…sign up for my blog.

Thanks,

Jody

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#Fulla5 National Stuttering Awareness Week #NSAW

May 9-13 is National Stuttering Awareness Week.

Courtesy of the National Stuttering Association

Courtesy of the National Stuttering Association  National Stuttering Association

So first of all, Stuttering is Cool and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

As proud stutterer, yes I say “stutterer,” there are five things I want you to know about us silver tongues, because chances are that you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about, no matter how fluent you say it 🙂

1) DO NOT finish my sentence. I have something to say, so let ME say it. Whether one stutters or not, it’s rude to cut people off. There are exceptions to this rule, though. For example, if I’m sinking it quick sand, and I start to ask for help and I get stuck, no pun intended, then, please, by all means, cut me off and free me from this often forgotten deathtrap that has swallowed so many stutterers who were unwilling to swallow their pride.

2) DO NOT post things related to stuttering that have gone viral on my Facebook page. Chances are that video has been posted to my page 68 thousand times. I think it’s great that a guy can get hit in the neck with a softball at 20 years and develop a stutter and go on to appear on national television as a comedian or a stuttering guy or gal is on another program. People who stutter do indeed have talent.

*Note: This rule does not apply to anything I post, so post away. Post like there is no tomorrow.

3) Do NOT try to cure me. There is no cure, so please don’t even tell me about your brother-in-law’s, third cousin on his mama’s side who quit stuttering after sipping on the tonic, naked, during a full moon. I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work. Per Wikipedia, for centuries “cures” such as consistently drinking water from a snail shell for the rest of one’s life, strengthening the tongue as a muscle, and hitting a stutterer in the face when the weather is cloudy. Number 1, I drink water from a bottle. Number 2, my tongue is strong enough. I can eat ice cream with the best of them. Number 3, this is why I keep my stuttering butt at home on cloudy days.
4) DO NOT question my stuttering because I don’t stutter like someone you know. Seriously, stuttering is unique to each of us. It’s like finger prints and snowflakes. Furthermore, it often changes. We go through cycles, particularly during our formative years. There are those of us who get stuck on one word or sound. There are those of us who repeat the same thing over and over. There are those of us who lock up and nothing comes out. There are those of us whose mouth gets stuck like the end of a 70’s sitcom. There are those of us with closed eyes, facial contortions, and the desire to beat the word out of us ourselves. When I was a kid, I would beat the underside of my desk in the classroom, or I would beat my thigh like I was playing a tambourine without the tambourine. When my leg got too sore, I beat the arm of the person I was trying to talk to. I found out who my true friends were 🙂
*Note: And of you have the urge to say, “You’re not stuttering now,” then please do not. It happens. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. For some of us, it comes and goes, so please, resist the urge. I’d hate to have the urge to hit you in the face on a cloudy day.
5) DO NOT tell me “it’s ok” if I tell you (advertise) that I stutter. I know it’s ok. I’m just letting you know. Advertising, in my opinion, is a good thing, because it brings clarity to the situation. One time somebody thought I was about to have a seizure and threw their wallet in my mouth so I wouldn’t swallow my tongue. Not really, but I could see that happening. Advertising just lets you know that I’m ok. It might just take me a minute…or two.
For more info on stuttering, please visit, the National Stuttering Association, the Stuttering Foundation, and the American Institute for Stuttering.

Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. 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 http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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#Fulla5 Adam Hood

Tuscaloosa 2015

Tuscaloosa 2015

I’ve known Adam for close to 30 years, and I’m proud to call him a close, personal friend. I was a senior at Opelika High School when he was a freshman. We  have had a lot of good times together. He even came to stay with me in Washington State while I was stationed there and he was on a west coast tour back in 2005. After that, he often crashed with us when I lived in Shreveport and he was making frequent trips to Texas. I think I last saw him in Tuscaloosa last year. He came to my show with the GIs of Comedy and then we went to eat BBQ the next day.

With a John Denver grin and mind full of Alabama attitude, Adam Hood knows the beautiful mess of blue-collar love and everyone on Music Row wants in. Tracks from his critically acclaimed 2011 album The Shape of Things have been cut by Little Big Town, David Nail, Josh Abbott Band, Brian Keane and John Corbett. The legendary Willie Nelson and Leon Russell have each picked Hood for respective national tours. 

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For more on Adam, please visit his website at adamhood.com.

“Bar Band is one of my favorite Adam Hood songs.

 

1) You’ve come a long way since I used to see you play at the Breezeway in Downtown Opelika? How has your music changed over the years, other than no longer playing Margarittaville, Brown Eyed Girl, and Sweet Home Alabama?

Well, I appreciate it. I’m pretty fortunate to be able to say I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I’m glad you can see some progress. The main thing that’s changed, as you mentioned, is that I write my music now.  The cover songs got me the gigs and gave me an outline for what a good song “feels” like (Margaritaville is a pretty well written song), but once I started writing and got the nerve to PLAY those songs in front of folks, everything changed. It got real. After turning that corner, I just started doing it, refusing to regress. I’ve found my own style through all the years of working at it and listening to folks that know more than I do. BUT, at the end of the day, it still sounds like me. Always has. I won’t ever be able to shake that.

2) I’ve seen you play in Shreveport, which is more like Texas than Louisiana, but please tell us about Texas music and how it differs from elsewhere?

Man, Texas is its own thing. All the way around. The music, culture, food, etc are self-sufficient and that’s the way they want it.  Coming into that music scene from the outside was extremely intimidating for a while, but I fell into it after a while and I think it suites me. Most of my heroes and influences were Texas writers, so my style fits in Texas, but the Alabama influence is what makes me sound a little different. And there are TONS of bands out there, so different is good!!

This is Adam's latest. In my opinion, it's his best work yet.

This is Adam’s latest. In my opinion, it’s his best work yet.

3) Congratulations on being a new dad. Talk a little bit about Drue and how have things changed from your first go around as a dad? Are changing diapers like riding a bike?

Adam and the newest member of the Hood family, Drue.

Adam and the newest member of the Hood family, Drue.

Saying I wasn’t a little “scared” about having a baby would be a lie. Honestly, anyone that says they’re fully prepared for children is telling a lie. The feeling wasn’t out of lack of love, but more my own mortality. Haha. I want to be able to keep up, you know.  But children just change everything for the better and we’re enjoying every minute of it.  All the folks in my camp and I work hard to keep a “balanced” schedule so that when I’m home, I’m home with no distractions. Ashlyn is at an age where she’s mature enough to handle being a helpful big sister without it cramping her style.  I feel totally confident in saying all of us are good!  As for diapers, what can I say…The mechanics are the same, but the package keeps you on your toes!

4) How’s the garden going this year? Any advice for first time gardeners like, oh, I don’t know…me?

I downsized the garden this year. We went nuts last year and planted too much with too little time to manage and most of the garden flopped.  This year we’re keeping it simple… A few tomatoes and peppers and that’s it. Growing things is a great pastime if you’re thinking about it. Planting one tomato plant in a clay pot can be really fun and sort of calming (sorry to sound Zen).  Hell, I don’t even like tomatoes. I just like to get up in the morning, walk outside and see what happened while we were sleeping… And something always does.

*I guarantee you I planted way too much this year.

5) This is like “Free Day Friday” in elementary school. Whatever you want to say, say it here.

I want to thank you, Jody, for asking me to do this and for your friendship.  I’ve enjoyed watching you work to develop your career as well.  And you’ve earned every rung you’ve climbed.  We have a common denominator when it comes to our line of work. We have different ways of entertaining people, but we do the same thing and we both know that the distance between “man, you’re funny enough to be a comedian” at OHS and being a touring entertainer is pretty vast; it’s a hard row to hoe, but being able to look back and see all the ground you’ve covered makes the effort worthwhile. I’m proud to know you, my friend. Go dawgs!

*I did not pay him to say any of that nice stuff, but I do appreciate it.

Like Adam’s page on Facebook by clicking here.

Follow Adam on Twitter by clicking here.

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 jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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#Fulla5 NYC and Opelika are basically the same place

I’ve only been in the New York area for about 10 hours but I’ve already noticed 5 striking similarities in the New York metropolitan area and Opelika. As far as I’m concerned, we’re basically the same town, not only because Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan, the former Miss New York, is a graduate of Opelika High School and currently resides in the city, but also because of 5 more solid reasons.

Mallory-Hagan-Miss-America-2013

I give you the #Fulla5 in a New York State of Mind…

1) New York City has the Hudson River. Opelika has Stink Creek. The Hudson River is just like Stink Creek, only deeper. Furthermore, the Hudson goes all the way up to West Point, and I’m willing to bet that somehow you can get to West Point (Ga.) by way of Stink Creek.

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2) The New York metro area has approximately 20.2 million people. Opelika has approximately 20.2 thousand people.

3) New York City is known as the Big Apple. Opelika used to have The Big Apple, a grocery store at the corner of Ave B and South 7th.

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4) New York had Simon and Garfunkel Live in Central Park. Opelika had Adam Hood Live in Monkey Park.

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5) And last but not least, New York has the world famous Waldorf Astoria hotel, and Opelika has, you guessed it, The Golden Cherry Motel.

Golden Cherry Motel

And I’ve stayed at The Golden Cherry. Had I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria on this trip, it would’ve been a step down.

Jody Fuller hails from Opelika, Ala. 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 http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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#Fulla5 w/ Auburn great Will Herring (@wherring54)

So, who better for my first ever #Fulla5 interview (5 questions) than 8 year NFL veteran and former Auburn standout Will Herring? I couldn’t think of anyone. He’s just a super guy. Throw in the fact that, like me, he’s an Opelika boy, and he was the perfect choice.

Will H and me

He played 8 years in the NFL and I played 8 days at Opelika Junior High, so we’re basically the same guy.

Will recently went to work as a mortgage banker with Ameris Bank and is also one of the owners of The AU Club. He’s also very active in the community with organizations such as Youth For Christ. He is one busy guy.

He lives in Auburn with his wife Ashley and their three beautiful children.

At Auburn, he earned letters each year from 2003-2006 while playing safety before moving to outside linebacker his senior season. Upon his departure from The Plains, he held the school’s career record with 49 consecutive starts. He was selected in the 5th round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He went on to play for the Saints and Rams, too. But his life is so much more than football.

1) How does banking compare to football? What’s more rewarding, sacking a quarterback or approving someone for their first home loan?

I can honestly say I didn’t grow up thinking I wanted to be a mortgage banker after playing in the NFL. However, both can be very fulfilling. Making a big hit to spark the defense is pretty cool, but it’s also pretty gratifying helping someone buy the home of their dreams.  It’s easy to let what you do define who you are. While playing football was a lot of fun, I tried to keep it in perspective. Faith, family, and friends last a lifetime. I always knew my football career would end.

Will Seahawks

* http://amerisbankmortgage.com/banker/WillHerring

2) The family keeps growing. Now you have little Isaiah. To you, how are baby boys different from baby girls? How has the faith that you and Ashley share impacted your decision to adopt?

I always heard boys were way more of a handful than girls. Well, besides Isaiah being twice the size of his sisters at 11 months, he’s pretty laid back. He will hit you with a mean head butt though if you’re not careful. Years ago, The Lord put it on Ashley’s heart to adopt. He has blessed up beyond our dreams with 3 beautiful children, two of which are through adoption.

Will Herring family

3) Is Auburn the uncrowned 2004 National Champions? What’s your fondest memory from your times on “The Plains” and why? (USC was stripped of their BCS title due to infractions involving Reggie Bush.)

I think we’re ok with just being 2004 SEC Champs. Sure, we all wish we’d have gotten a shot, but it is what it is. 13-0. No regrets. I think my favorite memory was beating Tennessee up in Knoxville pretty handedly. That was the game where we realized that this was a special team.

*By the way, if you haven’t heard Will’s 2013 pre-game Iron Bowl speech, watch this. It’ll give you chill bumps. @WarBlogle added it to the highlights following the game, which was one of the most exciting finishes in the history of college football. #KickSix

4) What are your fondest memories from growing up in Opelika?

Going to eat breakfast at Tyler’s with my dad and brother after freezing all morning in a deer stand.

*I love that he keeps it so simple. Family. That’s what it’s all about.

5) So what’s new at the AU Club?

The AU Club has got a lot of great things going on. We’ve hired Robert Hines as our new chef for Clubhouse Restaurant and he’s been incredible! The restaurant is open to the public. We’re slowing chipping away at a few minor renovations in the restaurant to enhance the dining experience.

  • The list of improvements include:
  • wine lockers for members
  • replacing carpet with hardwood flooring
  • addition of historic Auburn artwork throughout
  • replacing current countertop with concrete counter top

Now that the weather has warmed up, golf is in full swing and summer is just around the corner!

*AUGolfClub.com

Be sure to follow Will (wherring54) and AU Golf Club on Twitter.

Thanks for your time, Will. War Eagle, Go Dawgs, and God Bless!

Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. 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 http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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