I've got my own bailout plan

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By Kes Colbert

I keep hearing “economic meltdown,” “Wall Street havoc,” “depression,” “bailout”…it’s enough to drive you batty if you let it. You watch two minutes of CNN and you’d think Gabriel blew the horn eight days ago and we missed it. Woe is us! If we can be pushed into a panic in this country, the news media is doing all it can to help.

I’m just so thankful that my happiness, well-being and state of mind is not tied to Wall Street.

I got run over at football practice when I was in the ninth grade. About the time I stood up, Bob Cassidy ran over me again. I was just getting to my feet and wiping the blood off my face when Douglas Paschall plowed over me. I was staggering to get upright when Mike Ferrigno hit me from the side. And it was tougher, rougher and longer the following day! Coach Scott called everybody up after practice and said that we were the “worst excuse for football players he had ever seen.” He allowed it was his fault. He hadn’t been working us hard enough. “Gentlemen,” he squinted down the line at us, “I will fix that tomorrow.”

Folks, I was in dire need of a “bailout” before the term became fashionable. CNN wasn’t even invented so I leaped-frog into panic mode all by myself. I was gonna quit football and life. There was no hope. There was no way out. And there seemed no solution or options. “Kes,” Doug caught up with me as I was crawling toward the house. I figured he wanted to practice running over me some more. “You are as tough as I’ve ever seen. It takes a special guy to be a freshman and used as a tackling dummy. Kes, you hang in there. Because I’m going to come back in a couple of years and watch you run this team.”

He patted me on the back and moved down the path toward his house. My heart swelled. I forgot about the bells clanging in my head.

Doug Paschall died a few years back. But I have never forgotten his hand on my shoulder. And an encouraging word when I needed it the most.

Betty Sue Stuart was the prettiest girl in West Tennessee. We dated for the better part of three years. I was going to marry her for sure. We had such big plans. Our lifetime “dreams” made it through high school and almost a year of college. She stopped by at Easter to tell me it was over. She didn’t bother with any details. I spent the Easter break in a funk. This was depression upon depression! I was wondering if there were any local monasteries needing applicants when Dad shut the bedroom door. Folks, I sat up. The only time he ever closed that door was when the whipping was about to commence. How could I have riled him? I have been sitting back here all we— “Son, life doesn’t always work the way we plan.

“So here’s what you are going to do. You are going to get up off of this bed, clean up, come to dinner and rejoin the human race.”

Well, maybe he wasn’t so gentle. But he cared. And along about the third helping of brown beans I got to thinking, “You know, Mary Hadley Hayden is really the prettiest girl in West Tennessee…”

In this perilous time that we are so constantly and forcefully reminded of I’m leaning less on Congress, bilateral committees, CNN and the world trade deficit and more on regular folks like Doug Paschall and Leon Colbert. Our strength has always been in our people.

Maybe we are looking for solutions in the wrong places...