The four of us talked about beach property and mountain homes and grandkids and places to travel.
It was the first evening of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the table organizer forgot the place cards for Jerry B. Jenkins and his wife, Dianna.
My husband John and I sat at a table, just the two of us, on the empty side of the dining hall. We noticed Jerry and Dianna, trays in hand, circle the crowded tables twice. “I’m almost sure he’s the keynote speaker, and that must be his wife,” I said.
When the couple realized they didn’t have assigned seats, Dianna glanced our way and said something to her husband. They headed towards our table.
I groaned, feeling anything but sociable after our long drive earlier in the day. Ridiculous, I know. Most attendees would pay money for our seats, and for the chance to talk writing and pitch ideas.
Truth is, I was afraid I’d sound silly trying to impress him.
Jerry and Dianna were easy to talk to, which was a relief since I couldn’t think of much to say in the way of being impressive. However, my proud husband wasn’t at a loss for words.
He told Jerry about an article I wrote, which happened to be published that month in a magazine that was on the shelves of the campus bookstore. Jerry is author to 170 plus books that have sold upward of 70 million copies.
Still, he graciously congratulated me on my one story.
Jerry mentioned visiting The Billy Graham Library during their trip. The noise in the dining room was so loud I only heard the word library.
“Whose library?” I said.
“Billy Graham’s library. He’s a famous Southern evangelical minister,” said Jerry, half smiling.
John told him about Billy Graham’s home that was nearby the conference center, located on the outskirts of Black Mountain.
What John didn’t remember was Jerry helped write Dr. Graham’s autobiography. Jerry politely mentioned he visited Dr. Graham in his home on occasion while writing segments of the “famous Southern evangelical minister’s” memoir, Just As I Am.
Turns out, we made quite an impression after all, in a humorous sort of way.
Any amusing dinner tales you’d like to share?
WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – I’ll take funny memories over impressive ones any day.
On the side: I wrote Jerry and Dianna a thank you note for their company during dinner, as well as his keynote and workshop. When he replied in the letter posted here, I thought about keeping on. However, I stopped short of stalking since we made enough of an impression the first time around.
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Sounds like a fun evening. I\’ve been to 5 Writing for the Soul Conferences and I appreciate Jerry\’s personality and sharing. I loved his critique sessions.
Five! I want to be you. Not that I\’m envying or anything. : ) His critique workshop was really helpful at BRMCWC.