Kesley Colbert
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The fat lady is clearing her throat

People have been so kind to me about these little stories over the years. And I certainly appreciate that. I have said from the beginning that I am not a writer. You think about Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Will Rogers, Jon Meacham… those guys could turn a blank page into a moving picture show…. 

Please don’t confuse me with them.

Listen, I really worried back when I first started doing this that it might give Miss Barbara Clark (my high school English teacher) a heart attack. The shock of my attempting to put a sentence together on a piece of paper would be too much for her!

She knew I didn’t know a transitive verb from a dangling participle the first day we met. And I suspect she came to realize I didn’t care. It wouldn’t help me throw a baseball or get a date with Ruth Ann Wiley. But, bless her heart, Miss Barbara loved me in spite of my shortcomings….

I have never thought of it as writing. I mostly think of something Paul David Campbell or Diane Stoner said or did 57 years ago, and I jot it down right quick before I forget it! I have never let syntax, prepositional phrases, compound words, or the improper use of ain’t get in the way of a good story. 

I wouldn’t be in this business at all if it hadn’t a’been for Wesley Ramsey. He kept after me to “Write down some of those stories you are always telling about the folks back in Tennessee and we’ll put’em in the paper.”

I laughed at the possibility of such a thing.

This was back in the winter of 1983. Mr. Wesley was the owner, editor, publisher, lead ad salesman, head writer, and chief cook and bottle washer for the Star. He was also one of the most intelligent and well-read individuals that I’ve ever known. And being nice, courteous, concerned, and caring came as natural as breathing to him.

Of course, reality is a grim teacher, I’m no Charles Dickens! I told him no, and no, and no…. Then the neighborhood cat got sick and I paid 85 dollars to a veterinarian I didn’t know to heal a cat that didn’t belong to me.

There had to be a story in there somewhere.

It was the beginning. I wrote most of it on the back of a grocery sack. Mr. Wesley just smiled when I handed it to him, did not read it or comment on it, but let me get just about to the door on my way out and quietly said, “Have you started on next week’s article yet?” 

Well, of course, I hadn’t. Then I got to thinking about that time Leon raced one of those Cunningham boys around the town square when I was just a kid. Leon was riding a horse he called Prince. Sam Cunningham was on his Cushman Eagle scooter.

Sam was “two necks and a tailpipe” in the lead till ole Prince cut across the corner of the square in front of the World War I monument….  

I didn’t realize a stray cat and Leon would “set me to thinking of something” every week for the next four decades!

It has been an amazing journey. It has allowed me to relive my childhood over, and over, in so many up close and personal ways. Bobby Brewer, Ricky Hale, Buddy Wiggleton, LaRenda Bradfield, Jane Hill, etc. are just names on a print sheet to most of you. Listen, there was a time if one of us had a dime, we all had a dime.

And I appreciate the folks in Port St. Joe who have taken the journey with us. You have pretended with a straight face and ear-to-ear grin that I am a real writer. You have encouraged me, shared your “stories” with me, and welcomed me into your homes… and your hearts.

I can’t live long enough, nor do I have the writing ability to adequately express my love for this place, my time here, and the people who loved and helped me along the way. But I have, with all my heart, been trying to do just that every single week for the past 40 years.

This is my last article.

I have bothered you people long enough. And I’ve told you everything I know. Twice. Or three times!

I certainly thank Wesley Ramsey and his whole family for their help. I also appreciate all the people at the Star in the succeeding years who have “made me look better than I am” in this writing business. I wish them the best. 

As I do for you also. Thank you for listening.

In the vernacular of those old Western movies, we so cherished on those unforgettable Saturday afternoons, it is time for me to ride off into the sunset. You can rest assured, however, that I am not going to kiss the horse….



Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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