You just never know
who you will see walking around our Ocean Club!
- Reprinted from Ocean Club
Magazine, July 2004
By Abby Rose Aaron
“Abby, I’d like you to meet my guest so and so.” It seems like I hear
that phrase daily from Ocean Club neighbors when I walk around our
luscious green grounds. I usually don’t remember the name of the
person I am meeting but the word “guest” sticks with me. Here a guest,
there a guest, everywhere a guest. In the year we’ve lived here, we’ve
had our fair share of guests. I don’t know where they come from but
they come. It’s this resort-type atmosphere that makes people want to
visit us. Let me tell you about my most recent guest.
I was a new member of the National Speakers Association and attending
a Speakers Convention in Burbank, California when I first met Jeanne
Robertson. I knew no one when I walked into the opening reception
filled with professional speakers. I am not a shy person so I had no
trouble introducing myself. And introduce I did to a strikingly
attractive woman standing near me. I knew instantly it was Jeanne
Robertson, one of the top professional speakers in the nation. I was
thrilled. She was someone I hoped to meet at the convention.
“Hi, I’m Abby Rose from Miami. One day, I want to do what you do.”
“Well, hello Abby Rose. What do you speak on?” she answered
with a beautiful smile and genuine interest. I could see why she had
once won the title of Miss North Carolina.
Flattered that she even bothered to ask I said, “Well, I’ve done a lot
of marathons and I use my stories to motivate others to achieve their
Her eyes lit up. “Well, Abby Rose, I want to do what you do. I’ve
always wanted to walk one of those 26 mile merryathons.” I liked her
southern way of talking and I could see why she had once won the title
of Miss Congeniality at the Miss America Pageant. Many people give lip
service to their wish that they too could run or walk a marathon, but
there was something about this woman’s excitement that told me she was
sincere and motivated.
“Well Jeanne, you certainly can do one. And I’d be happy to help you,”
I found myself saying.
She began power walking the next week. I helped her train using email
and it worked. One year later, I was proud to be there when Jeanne
crossed the Myrtle Beach Marathon finish line.
Both President Bush and Oprah have completed marathons. When I helped
my buddy Jeanne prepare I sometimes thought that her schedule was even
more challenging that both President Bush and Oprah’s put together.
Jeanne was able to find humor in the rigorous demands of marathon
training. She is a professional humorist. Her job is to make people
laugh. And make people laugh she does. She speaks to huge convention
audiences as well as small conferences and averages twenty days a
month on the road speaking. In spite of her hectic schedule Jeanne
found the time to train. One of Jeanne’s messages that she shares with
her audiences is that a sense of humor is an attitude and an approach
to working with people. She strongly believes that a humor attitude
can be developed and improved. She mesmerizes her audiences with
hilarious, reality-based stories from her many experiences.
When Jeanne told me she was coming to Miami for a speaking engagement
I was ecstatic! It was time to get the guest room ready again. I
invited Jeanne to stay with us.
“Do you have room for a guest?” Jeanne wanted to know. She had visited
us in our previous home and had thought we were nuts when I had told her
last year we were downsizing to a condo. She immediately drawled,
“Will there be room in that little biddy place for me?” Did I mention
that Jeanne is six-feet-two inches tall? Her question made sense.
The trip was typical. One flight was delayed and another cancelled.
Seventeen bags of tiny pretzels for breakfast later, this normally
energetic humorist was dragging by the time she folded her legs into
my PT burgundy cruiser and we headed toward our island. After we
passed the toll booth Jeanne began to unwind. I had seen other guests
relax and I could tell that Jeanne was leaving reality behind. She was
getting into vacation mode. We passed runners running and cyclist
cycling. Jeanne observed, “Be a nice place to train for a marathon.”
Jeanne’s idea of condo living was like the one I had before seeing
Ocean Club. She was thinking small bathrooms, cramped kitchens,
and typical tubs. For more than forty years, my friend Jeanne has
traveled throughout the country and spoken at the most elegant
five-star hotels and resorts. Besides being funny, she’s one of the
most down-to-earth people I know. And amazingly honest. I watched her
facial expression as we stepped into our private elevator. Determined
to like our condo, she looked around the elevator and said, “This is
real nice, Abby. It’s bigger than I thought.” I guess I had forgotten
to tell her we had private elevators.
But when she stepped into our place, the speaker was speechless. Her
funny quips stopped. Her head bobbed left, right. Left. Right, as she
took in panoramic ocean views and plopped her luggage on the bed. I
gave her a glass of water and then the tour. I felt like a real estate
agent as I showed her all the little special features I enjoy. I
pulled out kitchen cabinets, pointed to my little wine cooler and used
one of her favorite expressions “Ta Dah” as I showed her with pride
the garbage chute. I like being able to throw garbage away with the
press of a button and not dragging bags outside to a garbage can.
Moments later I overheard a call to her office assistant back home.
..”And that’s how they throw out their garbage.” Then I heard, “Shift
my priorities to speeches in Miami. I’ve got a new home away from
Although I’ve read her books, seen her videos and had the honor of
attending many of Jeanne’s presentations I welcomed the opportunity to
attend her presentation the next day. On her website which is aptly named
http://www.jeannerobertson.com I saw Jeanne’s mantra which is ” Keep
‘em laughing”. And boy did she keep them laughing. It was a Saturday
morning at 8:30 which I would be a rather tough time to
get anyone to laugh. She’s so funny and I loved every minute of her
speech. I had to smile when we were driving back and she said she was
hungry and couldn’t wait to get “home.” Here less than 24 hours and
she was already calling our place “home.”
We walked the beach. We laughed and we talked. We headed downtown and vowed not to leave ‘til we agreed on
three weird sights.
We lunched on veggie wraps at the Grill. And oh yes, when we walked
around my "neighborhood," I said to Stephanie and Terry and everyone else I
met,” I want you to meet my guest, Jeanne Robertson.”
Who’s your guest?