Meet the Staff: Jodi Smits
What are you currently reading or what is your favorite book?
Coming to Fairhope and landing a job at the Page and Palette was like hitting the jackpot and winning all these wonderful books from every brilliant author. There is no denying the state of Mississippi and Alabama have an enormous amount of talented writers and artists right at our own back door. I am extremely proud to boast about them at the Page and Palette. I have read every Rick Bragg, Winston Groom, Mike McCaffrey, Sonny Brewer, Watt Key and John Hart book available and the list goes on. And I get to see and speak to many of them often. Our very own Ron Mezzaros, Judith Richards, Suzanne Hudson and Joe Formicella, along with Mike McCaffrey come in to have their coffee and ice tea at the Latte Da and sit around talking with other local writers and staff. And that is just to name a few. They are the kindest, wittiest, and the most generous bunch of storytellers I have ever met and they encourage all of us to write our own story and share it with the world. Just recently a great writer John Eldredge wrote a book titled "Epic" that directs us to do that very thing. My favorites are many, but if you have not read it yet, please read any and all by Winston Groom. He keeps us in touch with our historical past reminding us to take it with us into our future. You must read Rick Bragg's "The Best Cook In the World" and Richard Grant's "Dispatches From Pluto". And for Pete's sake, read Leslie Anne Tarabella's "The Majorettes Are Back In Town". And I can't forget our very own Andy Andrew's "The Heart Mender"; a real classic to the Page and Palette.
What is your favorite part about working at Page & Palette?
My daughter Shannon and I came to Fairhope with lots of hope of starting a new life and leaving our heartache behind. We came into the Page and Palette greeted by Karin and Kiefer Wilson with open arms and a job. We were properly trained by the best; a bookworm I affectionately named "Sarge", Stephanie Crowe. Her love of books and enthusiasm put us both right in the mode for enjoying every aspect of working here. I love all "my girls", the events, the music, and the great atmosphere. It's family. The only thing I miss tremendously is our precious Ms. Betty Jo Wolff, constantly searching for the right book to introduce to her book club, offering each of us girls a word of wisdom and encouragement. But life gets better with each customer that walks in. After five years I began to realize they were not just customers, they are family. I know their stories, their families, their jobs, and why they love the Page and Palette and the Wilsons. It's about reaching out to the community and saying, "we are here for you".
Let me share a short story with you directly from the Page and Palette. A couple of years back, I first met a wonderful author of poetry, Mr. Michael McCaffrey. Such a gentleman and a hard worker, but he was also a Vietnam Veteran. He had written a small little book of poetry, "The Never Better Club". It is about his father and his teachings. I read the book and could not believe how it had opened my eyes to the love a young boy has for his father and how that wonderful father's teachings of discipline and good manners alone kept the author in perfect peace during great storms of life and war. It helped me realize a great respect for all fathers and the relationship they have with their sons. And when those fathers pass on, their memories and teachings live on in their sons. A simple little book with thought and writing that carries an unmeasurable impact of encouragement. I loved it and recommend it to everyone.
What do you like to do in your free time?
The Page and Palette is a place where everyone matters. And on those days when it gets really busy and hectic and no one is perfect, everyone has a second chance to take a deep breathe and start all over. Come to the Page and Palette to see me and I'll introduce you to some great authors and co-workers that will do everything they can to help you find that perfect book you've been looking for. And plan on sitting down to a cup of coffee and chatting about it. And should your heart be heavily burdened, for Pete's sake come to Fairhope! It won't last long.