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Hunker Down with Kes

The News in Black and White

By Kesley Colbert
Posted 12/11/18

We have been without TV, phone and internet service for the past couple of weeks. The cable company blames it on Hurricane Michael. I pointed out when I borrowed a phone and called to complain that …

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Hunker Down with Kes

The News in Black and White


We have been without TV, phone and internet service for the past couple of weeks. The cable company blames it on Hurricane Michael. I pointed out when I borrowed a phone and called to complain that we DID have these services for the first month after the storm. They were polite, seemed sympathetic to our plight but you couldn’t dynamite them away from their “catastrophic weather” excuse.   

It must be tough being a major category hurricane. There are new insurance rules, costs and requirements, stricter building codes and more government planning oversight today…..all still being blamed on Hurricane Andrew…which blew ashore in the last century for goodness sakes!

The TV hasn’t been a big loss…except for missing the SEC championship game. But the DVD player works, and I’ve got the complete “Rawhide” series and the Burt Lancaster movie, “Valdez Is Coming”.

No phone has actually been a bit of a blessing. I haven’t been asked to give a talk or explain to Judy from Time-Life why I’m not interested in Rock and Roll’s Golden Hits from the 1950’s. She doesn’t remember one song from the whole packet—and I can’t get them to stop bouncing around in my head.

Up to date information is another matter. We’ve grown accustomed to instant news via the various internet feeds. MSN, Facebook, instant messages, etc., keep us in the loop as to births, deaths, ball scores, shoot outs, Mexican border crossings, Thanksgiving Day parades, congressional boondoggling and the most up to date pictures of Traci Gaddis’s grandchildren.

This cable loss reminds me of the old days when the morning newspaper was everyone’s window to the world. It wasn’t instant. It was always one day behind but it was the best we had growing up in the decade that Judy from Time-Life has only read about in history books.

My first ever “remembrance” of a newspaper was courtesy of the Commercial Appeal out of Memphis. Mom laid the front section on the kitchen table as she prepared breakfast. In the largest boldest print you could imagine, the headlines declared “Eisenhower!” It was the first Wednesday after the first Monday in November, 1952. I would have been five years old. And I couldn’t have actually read the story underneath if I had been a mind to, which I wasn’t.

Politics were not my thing, then—or now. But let me tell you, they had comics in the Commercial Appeal! We called it the “funny papers.” By the time Miss Belle promoted me to the Blue Bird reading class I was keeping up with Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie, Mary Worth, Mark Trail, Beetle Bailey and I was comparing Leon to Dennis the Menace.     

It wasn’t required reading...which made it the best of all.

We’d pour over the sports pages, reading every article. Its how I learned about Roger Bannister running a four minute mile; and the perfect game Don Larsen pitched in the 1956 World Series. I remember a grainy, black and white picture of Arnold Palmer hitting out of a bunker in the 1958 Masters like it was yesterday. And this was years before I ever held a golf club in my hand.

We got the Nashville Banner in the afternoon. They had a great sports editor named Fred Russell. He’d write on the comings and goings of the major sports figures of the era. He knew them all, from Babe Ruth to the Say Hey Kid! I read his every byline religiously. It was a loyalty that is near ’bout non existent in today’s instant media whirl. 

And that is kinda sad. We get bombarded from so many directions with so much stuff...that we don’t slow down enough to appreciate what anyone is saying, or trying to say, to anyone else.

It may not be as much about miss communication as it is about mass communication.

I fear print newspapers are going the way of the dinosaur, jukeboxes and telephone booths. That too, is sad. They bespeak of a slower time, maybe a gentler time...a less hectic time for sure. Folks would read a story and chew on it, digest it, ponder its relevance and discuss it with a neighbor. News wasn’t so polarized or sensationalized and you weren’t considered “unhip” if you paused to let a moment sink in before hitting the refresh button.   

Surely, a little slower pace and a more reflective attitude couldn’t be all that bad. But I don’t have time to dwell on it this morning. I’m calling my cable company again! I’m demanding they fix this problem and get me back “on line.” Right now! This instance!


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