Old Dogs, New Tricks

July 8, 2020

By Tammy Davis


I love it when the universe gives us what we need. 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. One big problem: I hate the sound of my voice. But there is a man whose voice I do not hate. There is a man whose voice I Iove. That man is Calbert Johnson.

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 is all of those things to me and more. 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. One morning, 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.  You would never know it.

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 a little help growing my readership. Mr. Johnson claims he needed a new challenge. Ours may be an unlikely friendship, but I think we are good for each other. I know he’s good for me.

Fifty-three and eighty-three. Neither is a spring chicken, but we are having fun doing something we love. I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks. Mr. Johnson and I are proof of that. I’m proud of us both for using our gifts and trying new things. 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.


Tammy Davis is a teacher and writer finding lessons in everyday life. Look for the audio experiences on her website www.tammydavisstories.com. She and Mr. Johnson can also be found on Anchor and Spotify.