By Jae Henderson
I got to the office a little later than usual today. Fred seems much calmer than he was yesterday but still extremely busy. He’s on the phone talking about shirts for the Ed “Too Tall” Jones Golf Classic. He’s learning that people no longer want big roomy shirts. The fitted shirts are more in style these days. We are one week out and he’s just about out of large’s and XL’s and he’s having a hard time getting rid of XXL’s. It may not seem like a big thing but Fred orders new shirts with a different look each year so if he has a bunch of left over shirts after the Classic he has to eat that cost. He orders them in bulk so that could be $1,000’s of dollars lost. Fred isn’t cheap but he doesn’t like to waste money. He later talks to one of the university band directors about their itinerary.
Edith is here handling existing t-shirt orders and Bonnie is handling credentials. Joe Hunter is in the office today. He is in charge of the vendors. Deliveries are arriving with promotional items such as towels, t-shirts and sponsor banners. Pat is in her office taking care of ticket business.
I get right to work doing some media relations stuff. The Tri-State Defender published online a really nice article about the Southern Heritage Classic with a great picture of Fred sitting at his desk in front of a painting by the legendary artist George Hunt that was done last year to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Classic. Fred wants me to post links to the article on all the social media sites. I like working here. Yet, there is one thing I’ve noticed. I’m the youngest person in the office. Most of the people I see are AARP members and have been working with Fred for years. For example, Ms. Pat who handles the tickets, told me
she’s been with Fred since before the Classic. She was around when the Classic was just an idea. Today I met Twain (pronounced Twaun). He specializes in pick-ups and deliveries. He told me that he is 78 and jokingly said that Fred won’t let him rest or retire but I get the feeling he enjoys staying busy. Fred told me that Twain has been with him for more than 40 years! Friendship, loyalty and business don’t always go hand in hand but when it does, it’s a beautiful thing. I see so many companies releasing their seasoned employees for someone younger, faster, more knowledgeable of the latest technology and willing to work for less money. It’s obvious that everyone here knows their job very well and they’re always on the go. So, they’ve got plenty of energy. Now, I know there are younger people involved in the operations of the Classic, such as Fred’s son Nathaniel, but he works outside the office just like several others. I haven’t met him, yet.
People of various ages are also involved in the other aspects. There are several Classic events that are an important part of the weekend that Fred doesn’t manage himself. I think that helps him keep most of his hair. The Classic Fashion Show and Brunch is organized by the 100 Black Women of Memphis and has been going on for 25 years! Fred wears the same thing every day: a Classic golf shirt, jeans and his trademark Classic fisherman hat. I wonder what the show would like if he had to coordinate it. Keep up the good work ladies! The Classic Parade has been going on since 2001 and the Ed “Too Tall” Jones Golf Tournament has been in existence for over 20 years. Teamwork makes it all happen! There’s no drama today at the office and that’s always a good thing. I don’t like to hear him cussing.
Fred Jones Quote of the Day:
“I don’t have any concerns today, but if it rains on game day I will have plenty of concerns.”
About the Blogger: Jae Henderson is a native Memphian. She works as a freelance marketing and PR professional, journalist, blogger, book author and just became the newest addition to the Southern Heritage Classic team. She’ll be giving the inside scoop and sharing all Fred’s business until the big game. Go Tigers!