|Kevin Downey Jr., Carole Montgomery|
Jeff Shaw, Katsy Chappelle, Leighann Lord
I am currently on my seventh tour with Armed Forces Entertainment, my third performing for the troops in the Middle East. This time around I’m visiting bases in Bahrain, Kuwait and Djibouti. I’ve lost count of how many people come up to me after a show in the states to say thank for “going over there.” They tell me about their sons, daughters, grand children, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, cousins, and friends. I’ve had the pleasure of talking to service men and women from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. (The Black Ops guys aren’t really chatty.)
They are retired military. They are active-duty leaving in a week or just returning home. Sometimes they’ve even seen me perform at a base they were serving at. They all look me in my eye, take my hand or touch me on the shoulder, and say, thank you.
At the first base me and my tour mates performed at in Bahrain, we were lucky enough to have a couple of days off to decompress after our 13-hour flight from Washington, D.C. As we walked around the base meeting people, and enjoying the food and music at the awesome base-wide Labor Day BBQ, people came up and thanked us for coming. And we hadn’t even told any jokes yet. Our show could have been horrible — and for the record it wasn’t — but they seemed to just be happy we were there. Sometimes being there is just as important as the show itself.
However the day after our show, there were even more smiles and nods from the sailors and staff who’d been in the audience. A woman stopped us in the food court to tell us we were the talk of the base. Everyone had a great time and they were spreading the word to all who weren’t at the show, that they should have been. “And I just wanted to say thank you for coming,” she said.
And all I could think was, “No. Thank YOU.” The acknowledgments are nice, but I am honestly just grateful for the opportunity and the honor to share my gifts with the people who need them. Next stop: Kuwait.
Join The Urban Erma on Facebook or follow on Twitter. You can listen to the podcast on Podbean or subscribe on iTunes. Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. Check out her upcoming shows @ www.VeryFunnyLady.com. Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.