Huckaby captures favorite stories onto new CD

Darrell Huckaby wears a variety of different hats.

In addition to being a husband and father, the Porterdale native is an educator, author, humorist, radio commentator, newspaper columnist, traveler, public speaker, die-hard Georgia Bulldog fan and the arbiter of most things Southern.

And now Huckaby is wearing a new hat, although it fits well with his work as a public orator and radio-show contributor. With the release of his first CD, "Porterdale City Limits," Huckaby can now be referred to as a "spoken-word artist."

"We're saying it's a comedy CD, but I really can't testify that it's particularly funny," said Huckaby, who recorded the CD in January before a 100-member audience at Heritage High School, where he has taught for the last eight years. "And I don't have any delusions about selling it in a lot of stores - although people will be able to get it in Conyers and Covington. I'll carry it with me when I speak."

The Porterdale native, who has written more than a half-dozen books in a career that began some 15 years ago, has branched out beyond his desk to be an in-demand public speaker, making between 40 and 50 appearances each year at church socials, civic group meetings and corporate functions.

Huckaby, who has worked as a teacher for 34 years, said he wanted to record a CD because of requests he's had from previous audiences.

"I speak to a lot of older crowds," said Huckaby. "And a lot of them want a CD to take to one of their friends who wasn't able to make it. And I usually close my talks, especially since 9/11, by reciting 'Ragged Old Flag' by Johnny Cash, and a lot of people have told me they wanted a copy of that, so I decided to make a CD of some of my stories."

The 35-minute, 14-cut CD contains a number of Huckaby's best-known stories.

"They're pretty funny - and a lot of them are actually true," he said. "There's a lot of stuff on there about my family, and some stories about growing up in Porterdale. There's a story about my first whipping and schoolteacher stories.

"And there are a lot of Georgia (Bulldogs) stories. I talk about a couple of Alabama games, the 'blackout' against Auburn and last year's Georgia-Florida game. And, as usual, I take a couple of good shots at our Yankee brothers. It's just good, clean Southern humor. Folks who like my columns and hearing me will enjoy it."

Huckaby, whose last book, "What the Huck!" came out in 2006, will have a new book ready for release later this year. His latest tome, "All 50," describes the 10-year odyssey experienced by Huckaby and his family - wife Lisa, daughters Jamie and Jenna and son Jackson - as they visited all 50 states, usually on summer vacations.

"I'm really excited about it," he said. "It's not exactly a travel guide, but people who like to travel will like it. Some of my favorite columns have been about our vacation adventures, and the book has stuff in there like a list of our favorite restaurants. It should be interesting for a wide range of people."

The Huckabys fulfilled their 50-state goal last summer, crossing Washington, Oregon and North Dakota off their collective list.

When asked if he felt a sense of accomplishment in hitting all 50 states, Huckaby said, "Actually, I do. Through the years, there have been so many things we've had to work around, like schedules. And we didn't fly for much of it, so it's been a lot of driving miles. And we did a bunch of camping trips. It was a lot of fun and it helped keep our family together."

The Conyers resident admitted that his children - two of them in college ("Two of my children and all of my money go to the University of Georgia," he quipped) - weren't as enthusiastic about completing the goal as they had been in younger years.

"The kids weren't as excited toward the end, but they didn't have any choice," he said.

This year, the family won't go too far from home as they plan a family outing to Florida.

"Believe it or not, we're going to Disney World," he said. "My oldest daughter's doing all the planning. My older kids want to go on vacation with me now because they've finally figured out that I'll pay for everything."

Huckaby is also enjoying this year as he's now teaching in the same school as his boyhood idol, legendary high school basketball coach Ron Bradley, who coached the Heritage boys this past season.

"I know I have to stand straighter and make sure I'm behaving myself when I know coach Bradley is around," Huckaby. "He's been a very important factor in my life and he still motivates me to do my best. His energy and enthusiasm are amazing."

"Porterdale City Limits" is available locally at Conyers Pharmacy, Evans Drug Store, Tattersall's and Evans Produce Stand in Rockdale County and Mayfield Ace Hardware in Covington. It can also be purchased online by visiting www.darrellhuckaby.com.