Last fall, I did not renew my membership in toastmasters, but I would never say I quit. The skills I learned and the talents I developed have allowed for some of my happiest memories.
One of these times was last Tuesday morning, when I presented a talk about the Hen Hike to a group of church women. Beginning with a five-minute speech I created for a speech contest several years ago, which I won on several levels, I expanded the story to a twenty-minute presentation.
Expecting to be mildly entertained, perhaps inspired by my positive attitude, or “amazed” by all the “unbelievable” activities I try, even as a blind person, I think they were slightly taken aback by all the laughter they shared. In my story of the Hen Hike, I talk about how twelve women hike together each year, and half of us are blind. I describe the precarious ways we get through some situations that might be a little dangerous. I tell stories of how one of our gals broke her leg on a hike, and how I was jealous, because all six of those paramedics who rushed to the scene were big strapping gorgeous guys. I describe the beauty of the silence of our surroundings when we pause each day for five minutes of silence and how we sing girl Scout songs just for fun. I’m the one who has the most fun telling these stories as my audience members are falling off their chairs with giggles and guffaws. The biggest laugh of all comes when I tell about going to the bathroom in the woods, how “even our bottoms love the great outdoors.” I have given this talk to several groups and have received an honorarium for some of them, but of course for church groups, they get the “friends and family” rate, i.e. free. As they say, some of the best things in life are free, and laughter ranks right up there with the best of them. Thanks to my audience for laughing at all the right times and reminding me that being a toastmaster was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
Shameless plug. If you need about a twenty-minute program for your group, you know where to find me.