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Hunker Down with Kes

Leon, God, Tarzan and Archie Moore’s Cows

By Kesley Colbert
kesley45@aol.com
Posted 1/15/19

I’ve run into a couple of people who blamed God for Hurricane Michael and its devastation. And rest easy here, this is not going to be an extraterrestrial, ecclesiastical, out of body treatise …

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Hunker Down with Kes

Leon, God, Tarzan and Archie Moore’s Cows

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I’ve run into a couple of people who blamed God for Hurricane Michael and its devastation. And rest easy here, this is not going to be an extraterrestrial, ecclesiastical, out of body treatise on the proper use of Divine powers. I don’t have a clue about such things.

But blaming anything on God automatically takes me back to Leon’s attempt to do so after his high dive over at Paris Landing went awry. The whole thing actually started at the Park Theatre. The Saturday matinee featured “Tarzan’s New York Adventure”. I know you remember this movie. Boy was kidnapped from his jungle home by some really bad circus people.

Tarzan and Jane hustle to Nairobi, hop on the first available flight to New York, and immerse themselves in an all out Big Apple effort to rescue Boy. I need to see this movie again. I can’t for the life of me remember how they got the money to make the trip. Or how Johnny Weissmuller, the only real, true Tarzan, traded his breechcloth for that tailor-made suit. Or how he and Jane adjusted to indoor plumbing.

We sat in awe as he dived off what we all figured afterwards to be the Brooklyn Bridge. I’m telling you, he was “in the air” for five minutes. I’m not sure exactly, then or now, how this leap saved Boy from a lifetime of circus captivity. But I do remember Buddy Wiggleton gave him a 7.6 on the landing!

You can already figure “the rest of the story”. Leon spent Saturday night and all of Sunday rolling over in his mind the possibility of an ordinary citizen surviving such a dive. Of course, the flaw in his thinking was there wasn’t nothing about Leon that was ordinary!

Monday morning found him running up on that high bridge where US 79 crosses the Tennessee River. He didn’t hesitate as he climbed on the railing, gave a virtuoso rendition of the Tarzan yell and flung himself off the bridge.

He didn’t seem to be in the air for five minutes. We didn’t get a “close-up” of his face as he gently fluttered earthward. He rocketed toward the water like a runaway freight train! And apparently the Tennessee River down near Paris Landing flows a heck of a lot faster than the East River.

When Leon finally came to the surface, he was a hundred yards downstream. We took off running along the bank but we couldn’t keep up with him. We saw him sputtering, waving his arms and going under. It didn’t look nothing like how Tarzan did it.

The current pushed him ashore a half of mile from where he went in. He was coughing and choking something awful when we got to him. I was just thankful he was alive! After we got him turned over and pumped a bucket of water out of his stomach and he caught his breath, he smiled that big ole Leon grin up at us and said, “Who’s next?”

I don’t believe God, in all of His infinite glory, would ever come up with such a crazy idea. And I don’t think He was punishing Leon. As we helped him to his feet nobody in the crowd doubted that Leon’s latest escapade was solely of his own making.

And I’m not saying that Hurricane Michael was anyone’s “making”. It’s a weather thing for goodness sakes! Maybe Jim Cantore could explain it to us.

I didn’t have time to blame God when I got caught throwing rocks at Mr. Moore’s cattle. It just scattered them a bit, no real harm. Except for one crazy heifer who got so excited she tore down a barbwire fence trying to escape my well aimed missiles. It cut her up something awful.

Dad didn’t wait for an explanation. He didn’t explain the obvious about proper cow care and treatment. He didn’t elaborate on how I was going to repay Mr. Moore. He didn’t say this was going to hurt him more than it did me. He didn’t even bother with how I had embarrassed the whole family…..

He whipped my little back side for three days and nights!

When his arm finally gave out he unceremoniously dropped me to the floor. He was still so mad he could barely speak but he did manage to eke out, “That’s more like something your brother would do.”

I haven’t decided in all the years since…..if that was a compliment or not!

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