A few years back, I was invited to speak at Vermont/New Hampshire Direct Marketing Days.I wanted to be there but I didn’t want to travel there because the only flight was a toy airplane from LaGuardia.
But Larry Chait, my brilliant friend and mentor, had asked me to come, so I had to say yes and once I did the event’s organizer, Amy Africa, started calling.
She’s more than pleasant but Amy has one of those moose-and-mountain-country voices that suggests she might shoot and skin an unsatisfactory speaker and nail the hide to the barn door.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to Vermont. She sent gifts with notes. Cheese’s note read “All the big cheeses will be here.” On the Maple syrup was “This event will be sweet.”
I steeled myself and got into the little plane. We took off tentatively, cruised at wave height over Long Island Sound and at tree height over Connecticut and Massachusetts, then swooped and dived and yawed and banged and clanged our way into New Hampshire which, from where I sat, looked like Tibet.
Somehow the 15-year old pilot weaved us around mountains and along valleys and, suddenly, there we were. And it was worth it.
The VT/NH Direct Marketing (Circus Circus) event was outstanding: great speakers, circus acts, terrific food, and lots of laughs, all thanks to Amy and her volunteers. They had a raffle kind of draw and I won a rototiller which isn’t much use in a 46th Street apartment so it got “regifted” to a delighted Vermonter.
Amy and I kept in touch for a while; then, as she got more and more important in the Internet world and my agency business started hopping, the letters and emails slowed and we lost touch except for running across each other occasionally at conferences like the DMA’s in New Orleans and Inc. Magazine’s in Scottsdale.
Then Amy saw my face in Fortune Small Business magazine above an article I’d written about the challenges of moving my agency from New York to Florida.
Amy emailed that she was happy to see my smiling (and touched up) face and we started corresponding regularly again and got together in New York last December. At dinner, she asked if I was going to the 2008 DMA Convention in Las Vegas. “No,” I said, “and I’d like to because I’ve never been to Las Vegas.” Read the rest of this entry