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Hunker Down with Kes

Something To Ponder...Long And Hard

By Kesley Colbert
Posted 11/29/22

John Howell Ingram could outrun the wind. I saw him make a diving catch in deep left-center in that old baseball field across from the Pajama Factory that you would not believe! It was the best I ever saw.

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Hunker Down with Kes

Something To Ponder...Long And Hard

John Howell Ingram could outrun the wind. I saw him make a diving catch in deep left-center in that old baseball field across from the Pajama Factory that you would not believe! It was the best I ever saw.
It was better than Al Gionfriddo’s game saving catch off the bat of Joe DiMaggio in the 1947 World Series. It was even better than the famous “over the head” running catch Willie Mays made in the Polo Grounds in 1954.
If we’d a’had video back in those days John Ingram would be world famous this morning. Come to think of it, he is world famous in my book. Isn’t it wonderful to have those special memories of childhood friends that time, space, distance and even death cannot erase….
I might have been the worst high school quarterback that ever suited up for a game. I didn’t know a thing about “pre-snap reads” or whether the defense was lined up in a loose tackle 6, a 5-3 monster or a gap 8. I just turned as quickly as I could and handed the ball to John.
He’d rip off right tackle for eight or nine yards and people would stand up and cheer for both of us. If it was third and long, John would move to wingback and run a post-route over the middle. I’d drop back, close my eyes and throw it as far as I could. John would somehow adjust to the ball and make a first-down catch.
Again, the unsuspecting nice folks in the bleachers cheered for both of us.  
In the early days John lived over by Larry Ridinger. They moved to the brick house on Laurel Street sometime during our growing up days. His dad worked for Bethel College and was the sometimes fill-in pastor at the Shiloh Presbyterian Church. John’s mom was the high school librarian and our senior class sponsor.
It is strange how much one remembers from those formative years. I reckon life is so fresh and new at that age it makes a vivid and lasting impression. I can’t remember where the car keys are half the time today and I couldn’t tell you what I ate for breakfast day before yesterday.
 But I can see John Ingram sliding on his belly across that old field after that catch…..like I was still standing in the on-deck circle when it happened!
Neither of us ever dated Carol Jane Hill. But we would sit in the back booth out at Frank’s Dairy Bar and wish that we could!
 Jane was as sweet and polite as she was pretty. We weren’t the only two who had a crush on her in junior high. She had a roller skating birthday party one year at that rink over in Huntingdon. I thought I saw my chance. The plan was to skate up to her and sweep her off her feet….until I realized as I approached warp speed, I didn’t know how to skate!
 Jane and the rest of the class kept buzzing around and around the rink as I tried to climb back over that small railing near where the jukebox sat.
 She was the captain of the basketball team; for good reason. She could really play! I’ve seen her hustle after a loose ball with sweat dancing off her forehead like life itself depended on it. You’d think not lady like…..but as John said, “She wore that sweat better than most.”
Everyone loved her mom, Miss Evora. And I spent two summers working at her dad’s service station. Jane was another lifelong friend. And I cherish the time we spent together; although I never mentioned that to her.
John Ingram passed away in October. Jane Hill died just last week. It’s like a part of me is missing.
And this is not a sad story. What memories of both! And please be smart enough today to realize this narrative is not about me. This is a universal tale about life as we grow older.
 You have your own John Ingrams. And your Jane Hills.
I never saw or talked to John after we graduated from high school. That is to my everlasting discredit. I would see Jane at the class reunions we held over the years. She’d pull me aside and tell me what a friend I’d always been to her. WOW!
John taught school in Memphis. It would not have been hard to find him. And I should have hugged Jane just one time and thanked her for being such a big part of my life.
Regrets, you bet. But I hope we are all still learning….
I’m making a list of the special people I grew up with and I’m checking it twice. They are fixing to hear from me…..whether they want to or not!


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