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Hunker Down with Kes

Thank Goodness it Wasn’t India!

By Kesley Colbert
Posted 9/4/19

If I remember correctly, the first person to broach the subject of what I “wanted to be in life” was Miss Carolyn Blades in the first grade. I’m not sure if she asked it as part of …

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Hunker Down with Kes

Thank Goodness it Wasn’t India!


If I remember correctly, the first person to broach the subject of what I “wanted to be in life” was Miss Carolyn Blades in the first grade. I’m not sure if she asked it as part of a school assignment or she was just killing time between the Blue Bird Reading Class and sending us out to recess.

I do distinctly remember that I had no answer.

Now, Mom was always hugging us and saying, “God might call you to be a preacher one day. Or maybe a missionary to India….” But we always thought she was doing more hoping and praying than actually suggesting.

It didn’t put any pressure on us. Shucks, we had to get through elementary school. Then junior high. And high school seemed a million miles away. That was about all the expectations a body could account for in the single digit years.  

Life for us was what we were doing at the very moment! The future was what we were going to do that afternoon. Nobody was getting ahead of themselves…..

Somewhere along about the fourth grade I got to praying that God would call me to be the shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The first real tutorial I attended on “wanting to be in life” was held in that little ditch that ran behind the vacant lot across the street from Ricky Hale’s house. We were ten, maybe eleven at the time. Dad drove a truck for a living. Rick’s dad owned a gas station in Trezevant. Yogi’s father worked for the McKenzie Water Department.

We immediately eliminated those jobs from our list of possible life occupations. We loved our dads but driving trucks or pumping gas and water seemed to border on the mundane. Cowboying was more our style. Especially if we could get a horse like Champion or Trigger. And spend the rest of our lives wrangling cows and fighting bad guys out on the Texas plains. 

Mrs. Warren was the guidance counselor in high school. She took the job a bit too seriously. She was always showing you some kind of business brochure and talking about finding the perfect lifetime vocation that would fit your needs, wants, likes, personality, etc.

The small hiccup here was the long distance time frame. Mrs. Warren didn’t understand I was trying with all my might to beat Huntingdon in the football game THIS Friday night! I was studying for a literature test on Macbeth that was happening NEXT PERIOD! If I couldn’t figure out a way to get Jane Hill to go out with me……I didn’t have a FUTURE!

The first time I was really challenged about looking (and thinking) down the road came from the most unexpected source. I was dating a nice enough girl from a neighboring town out of necessity. After about six weeks her father called me into his study, “Kesley, what are your intentions with Mary Hadley and do you have plans for college and a career after that?”

“Uh, well…..I, uh….uh….”

I didn’t think “playing shortstop in the Big Leagues” or “chasing cows and outlaws across the Texas Panhandle” was the answer he was looking for.

We gathered up out at Frank’s Dairy Bar just a few days before our high school graduation. The future never looked nearer.

You talk about confronting the elephant in the room! We spent an evening I shall never forget alternately talking, laughing and crying over the memories, the moment and our collective futures. It was as serious as we could ever be…..      

College was the next logical step. Plus, my Dad demanded it! I was asked near ’bout everyday at the university what I planned to do with my life. My answer was completely sincere and always the same, “Gosh, I’m just trying to graduate.”

I had one phone call offering me a job after graduation. That will kinda narrow the field for you. But the good news is I didn’t have to read all those brochures!

A great wife and two wonderful children have been telling me what to do for years. Boy howdy, did they simplify life’s choices!

I’ve read the books, seen the movie and heard all the clichés about how life happens while you’re trying to figure out what to do. I’m pretty much living proof of that.

But you know what; late at night when no one is looking…..I still picture myself on a white horse thundering across the plains, guns blazing in both hands as I close in on the fiendish Butch Cavendish gang…..

Hi-Yo Silver,




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