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Hunker Down with Kes

Prehistoric Search Engine

Posted

I’m going to die without ever kissing Jane Hill. I was reminded of that all over again as news of Google’s latest eavesdropping methods hit the airways. According to the latest reports, the giant internet guru has been tracking “every move you make” by storing information about our whereabouts when we open any number of their apps. 

This has got some folks up in arms. They are shouting “invasion of privacy” and demanding a Senate subcommittee be formed to see if some “ex post facto law” hasn’t been breeched.

They act like “keeping track of someone” is a new phenomenon. It’s all Sputnik, flying drones, space age stuff to them! Shoot, Google didn’t invent GPS, nor were they the first to discover a “ways and means” of pinpointing an individual’s exact location at any given moment.

You should have heard the steel ball bearing roaring across the hardwood floor in our third grade class. It was loud as all “get out” as it echoed across the silent room. Buddy caught it with his foot about the time Miss Belle said, “Kesley Colbert, I know that was you!”

“Yes ma’am, I’m sorry, it slipped.”

Bud dropped it back in my lap when he moved up front for his reading class. I laid it in the little slot for pencils at the top of my desk. But the temptation was more than I could bear….. I eased it down to the floor and accidently gave it a nudge.

Apparently you didn’t get two slips with Miss Belle. She hauled me to Mr. McIver’s office. He gave me a couple of whacks with his “Board of Education” and collected the offending bearing.

I couldn’t go to the house after the final bell. This was 1954. You get whipped at school—you got whipped at home! It wasn’t too complicated back then. I figured I’d hide over on West Cherry Street in those tall bushes behind Yogi’s house. I was thinking about joining the circus when Dad caught me by the arm.

Nobody knew I was there! You couldn’t see the road, or vice versa, from where I was hunkered down! There was no possible way he could find— He whipped me plumb out of the gallberry bushes, down a row of Fire Light Hydrangeas and into Bo Booth’s yard next door.

The rubbing alcohol in junior high was Yogi’s idea. We were ‘trick or treating’ that Halloween by pouring alcohol up the sidewalk to the front door of a few unsuspecting neighbors. I would knock on the door and run, Yogi would light the alcohol and run, Buddy would drop a cherry bomb into the mail box and run. It sure lit up the night.

We were having the time of our lives when one of them mentioned that most everyone we’d “tricked” was on the same telephone party line as us….. I broke and ran for the hills! Oh man, I don’t think we’d been seen but if there was the slightest chance Dad might make the connection, I was in deep trouble.

I dived underneath a pile of old slab wood at the far end of the Southern Star Lumber Company lot. I didn’t even catch my breath before I was grabbed rather roughly by the left ankle. There wasn’t no way, I just got here myself! The whipping stung for a few minutes. The abject embarrassment of going back to each house, again knocking on the door, this time apologizing for my rude, brash, stupid and inappropriate behavior has lasted a lifetime!

The summer I turned sixteen Jane Hill was the best looking girl in West Tennessee. It took three months of begging to get her to agree to ride out to Frank’s Dairy Bar with me. I borrowed the family car, promised I’d be home by ten and enjoyed the best shake, hamburger and fires I’d ever eaten. 

It was soooo perfect. We drove around afterwards—Jane actually slid a smidge closer when the Beatles broke into “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” We rode out the old Paris Highway till we hit the Clear Lake Road, turned north up Macedonia and finally eased off the pavement down a seldom used one lane gravel path. I think we were in another county!

It was ten o’clock when I stopped the car. I was promising her I would take her to a Jerry Lee Lewis concert and maneuvering for that first kiss when I heard the horn and saw the lights bouncing across a darkened cow pasture. Daddy roared up on our old Farmall tractor, leaped off, tapped the driver’s side window and pointed to his watch!

Google didn’t invent nothing in the “I’ve got my eye on you” business.

Kesley Colbert is a native McKenzian now residing in Florida.

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