CULLMAN – Steve Cummings is no stranger to Cullman; his family owned and operated Cummings Sporting Goods for many years. He has worked in various areas throughout Cullman to help make the city a more desirable place to live. He served as the president of the Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Committee for two years, has been on the City Planning Commission since 2008, and has coached over 40 youth sports teams.
Cummings is the son of Robin and the late Charlotte Cummings of Fairview. He graduated Cullman High School in 1982. He has been married to Debby Wood Cummings for 27 years. The couple has two boys, Cody and Carson. Cody graduated from Auburn with a degree in Industrial Design. Carson is currently stationed at Parris Island's Marine Boot Camp.
“He [Carson] sees it [joining the Marines] as a calling,” Cummings said. “We all want to help our children make good decisions but eventually we have to trust their ability to hear that still small voice for themselves. Some parents would freak out, but we know Carson and this is a great progression for him. It’s cool now with Facebook, you can actually see pictures of your recruit as they march around the base,” he smiled proudly.
A jokester since a young age, Cummings' sense of humor is infectious.
“I’ve always loved comedy,” he grinned. “I started writing and doing comedy bits when I was eight years old. My dad’s side of the family is really funny; his mom, Marie Cummings, always has a joke and can break up a room even in her eighties,” he chuckled. “My late grandpa, J.O. Cummings, was always the funniest guy in the room, so I just watched and learned. I still love to write and I do stand-up when I get the chance.”
A freak accident in 2013 made way for Cummings' fondness for possums. A dog had killed a mother possum and left her two babies to survive on their own. Cummings and his family rescued the orphans and raised them as their own. The family released ‘Fruit Loop’ and ‘Chainsaw’ into the wild as soon as they were big enough to live on their own.
“Possums are cute but misunderstood,” he explained. “They’re really smart and actually quite fearless. Most of us have the fight or flight response buried deep in our brain. Possums have a third choice – freeze. When they play dead, they hack the prey animal’s programming. They win by doing something different. Come to think of it, I guess that’s always been my approach to life – win by being different. I guess it's working so far.”
‘Win by being different’ is what Cummings strives to do in every aspect of his life. After Cummings Sporting Goods closed in 2013, he moved on to the next phase of his career: graphic design work and sales at Creative Design. Always keeping himself busy, Cummings has a couple of projects up his sleeve.
“I’ve combined my love for comedy with my graphic skills to launch a shirt line called American Possum. It’s kind of a redneck knock-off of American Eagle,” he grinned sheepishly. “I create funny shirts that make great conversation starters. I’m still trying to get it off the ground. Possums are really slow, you know.”
Another project that Cummings is passionate about is Possum Day.
“In 2010 I was given the task of doing a Republican rally to showcase the candidates, so I came up with the idea of Possum Day,” he gushed.
“Possum Day is a redneck version of Groundhog Day, where we take a possum out at sunset on the last Saturday in August, and if it feels a breeze, then fall will come early. If not, six more weeks of summer. We held a Possum Queen Pageant where the girls must find their outfits on the day of the pageant at yard sales or thrift stores. We had live music and a Redneck Strongman competition,” he laughed. “I’d love to host it again this year. It’s quirky but fun.”
Steve Cummings is a hoot to be around. His quick-witted humor can have a room laughing to the point of tears in no time at all. Family-oriented and civic-minded, Cummings is just another example of Cullman's incredible citizens.