Once upon a time, a young man from Los Angeles, California was asked to bring entertainment into the small town of Abbeville.
Sounds like the makings for a great comedy, doesn’t it? We have all seen the movies like “My Cousin Vinny,” “Doc Hollywood” and “Son In Law,” where the city boy comes into a small town and does something different. How can someone who comes from the world of bumper to bumper traffic, laws forcing women of age to have plastic surgery, and sushi restaurants every block to a land of no stoplights, no movie theater and stories of haunted theater seating, know that this might be the best decision he ever made?
To be honest, I didn’t. When I was approached with the idea of bringing comedy to this small town, I had my doubts. I didn’t know Abbeville, and on the first drive here from Hendersonville, North Carolina, my words were, “They’re screwing with me. There is no town out here.” I called home to tell them that this won’t take long and I’ll make it quick.
As I approached Main Street, the sun had lit up the trees on the square. Fine, it made me smile, but you weren’t going to convince me that this town was ready for me and my brand of entertainment. Then, I walked into the theater, and after meeting the staff of the historic Abbeville Opera House, they were all too nice. I thought, “Stop being nice. This isn’t going to work.” Then I saw the theater, and the vision came to me where I could instantly picture Pam Stone and many other comedians making people laugh, cheer. OK, so you got me. I instantly texted home, “I might be home later than thought.”
I was in awe of this small town, but still was unsure of how I would fit in. I said my goodbyes to the theater and told them I was heading home, when the craziest thing happened. My best friend texted me with the request to walk into the square and send pictures, messaging, “I want to see your new home.” I told her that wasn’t the case, but walked into the square to fulfill her request, when a man walked by me with his dog, As I reached down to pet his friendly companion, he smiled and asked, “Enjoying our city on this beautiful day? First time here?” With my attention fully on my new furry friend, I replied that I was enjoying my first visit here very much, and his response was, “Keep smiling, and make sure it isn’t your last visit here.”
I couldn’t see his face too well as the sun was in my eyes, but I quickly looked down to text the photos. When my head had risen from the phone to say goodbye, he was gone. A ghost, a heavenly messenger, or the fastest dogwalker in Abbeville? I am not sure, but I was affected and felt a sense of peace.
“Home” is a strong word, but I still have the text I received from my friend and glance at it every time I come to Abbeville. I don’t reside here, but everyone I meet here seems to make me feel that this is home.
As the City of Abbeville and the Abbeville Opera House has opened its doors to me as the new director of entertainment production and marketing, I want to open the door to all of you. Thank you for making me feel at “home.”
Come to the next stand-up comedy performance with headliner Drew Thomas (AXS Comedy, BET, Comedy Central), taking place at the Abbeville Opera House on Nov. 23. Special guests are Lauren Ansley and Cary Goff.