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Darrell Huckaby - We're havin' a party, y'all!

Howdy, y'all. Good news. I am giving a party next week - May 1 to be exact - and I want you all to come - or at least a couple hundred of you. We're gonna really throw down, too, so make sure my event is on your calendar and plan to put on your party duds and show up at the Rockdale Medical Center around 7 p.m. for more fun than you've had in years.

I mean sho' 'nuff, now. I hear from folks all the time who tell me that they really enjoy reading my column and would love a chance to meet me or sit down and have a cup of coffee with me - or dinner even. And I hear from other folks who are always telling me how much joy I have brought them over the past 10 years. They say I have made them laugh a little and maybe shed a tear here and there; and some I have made mad enough to cuss.

Yeah. I'm smart enough to know that some folks don't like me at all. But that's OK, too. An opinion columnist who didn't rub folks the wrong way every now and then wouldn't be doing much of a job, would he?

But the point is, I have recently written my 1,200th column for this newspaper and that's a milestone that needs celebrating - so that's what we are going to do next Thursday. Not tomorrow, mind you. Next Thursday.

Eat before you come because we can't serve supper to everyone - but we will be serving some awesome desserts - cakes and pies and maybe a slice of cheesecake or two - along with coffee and tea, of course.

There will be music. Boy howdy will there be music! We've invited the "Step-it-up Five," a high energy country music group from Alpharetta, consisting of five young ladies who have been singing toe-tapping music together since 2003. They are pretty to look at and were recently named Georgia Country and Gospel Music Association's Vocal Dance Group of the Year - so you know they'll show us all a good time.

And I will be speaking, too - and have saved some of my very favorite stories just for this occasion. And we'll get through in time for folks who want to get home and watch Grey's Anatomy - but we'll stay around and answer questions and visit and take pictures of one another for folks that want to do that.

I told you we are fixing to put on the dog - and I really want folks to come join us.

Now, before you think I am getting the big head - the party ain't for me. It is for my wife and her friends. They have formed a little group called "Going Bust." There are a dozen of 'em and they are all getting ready to walk 60 miles next fall to raise money to fight breast cancer - thus the catchy little name for their team. "Going Bust," get it.

As you may or may not know, about 180,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year - 1.3 million worldwide. Forty-two thousand women died in the U.S. last year from breast cancer. That's about 115 a day - which may not mean much to you; unless you have breasts - or have a wife or mother or sister or aunt or cousin or friend who does.

So my party is not free. It costs 20 bucks. But I promise you - you will never have more fun or do more good for others with a 20 dollar bill than you will next Thursday night, because every penny - and I mean every penny - will go to the Susan G. Komen fund; a non-profit trust dedicated to finding a cure for that insidious disease and giving aid to those who have it.

Let's face it. I have never asked many of you to do anything for me, but if you are a friend - and I'm talking tailgate buddies and church friends and co-workers and mere acquaintances or if you are a fan of the column - heck, even if you are an enemy - bring your 20 dollars and come to the party. Georgia Tech fans and Hillary supporters are more than welcome. You'll have a good time. I promise.

Now, you can just show up at the door if you want to, but you can also call 770-483-0110 and make a reservation so we'll know you're coming. We wouldn't want to run out of cakes and pies.

Please come. We need you. If you like my stuff, show up and help us out and I promise I'll write at least another 1,200 columns. If you don't like my stuff, come on out anyway and I will give you permission not to read them.

See you Thursday - and the best time to make that reservation is right now. The phone lines are open.

Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.