• Tammy Davis

Old Dogs, New Tricks




I love it when the universe gives us what we need. Calbert Johnson and I worked together at The State newspaper years ago. Because small-town people always stick together, we bonded over our Bishopville roots. We lost touch after our newspaper days but reconnected on social media.

When I first started writing professionally, Mr. Johnson was my biggest fan. I call him my agent, my manager, my editor, and my book courier. He thinks I’m teasing, but I am not. He is all of those things to me and more.

Lately, I’ve been trying to grow my audience. I’ve asked several experts for advice and they all said I needed to begin making podcasts. I don’t even know what a podcast is. I tried to figure it out best I could but hate the sound of my voice. Well, guess whose voice I do not hate? Guess whose voice I love? Yep, Mr. Johnson’s voice. Mr. Johnson spent six years working at Bishopville’s local radio station, WAGS. He leads church services and has a reputation for being a fine speaker. I told him I wished he would start recording my stories. By the end of the day, he had researched the different platforms, downloaded the necessary app, and texted me a sample. An important detail to this story is that Mr. Johnson is 83-years-old.

I love listening to Mr. Johnson read my work. Somehow, he makes my stories better. Every time I thank him for helping me, he claims I am helping him. He says he likes having a project. I’m glad he’s using his God-given talent, that beautiful voice of his.

Yes, I like it when the universe gives us what we need. I needed help figuring out the world of podcasts. Mr. Johnson claims he needed a new challenge. Ours may be an unlikely friendship, but I think we are good for each other.

Fifty-three and eighty-three. Neither is a spring chicken, but we are having fun trying new things. I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks. Mr. Johnson and I are proof of that. I’m proud of us both. With all this new audio production, Mr. Johnson has earned a new title: technical director. Something tells me he’ll do a very good job.



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