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Hey Kelvin, Oprah’s dad is on the line for you

Prepared (adjective) – properly expectant, organized or equipped; ready. I was having a telephone conversation recently with Larry Crim, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate of Tennessee.

 Kelvin Cowans

Prepared (adjective) – properly expectant, organized or equipped; ready.

I was having a telephone conversation recently with Larry Crim, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate of Tennessee. I was miles away in Memphis, enjoying a sunny day close to Beale Street and hopeful of making some progress on a special project.

On my end of the phone, I entertained the thought of popping up at my daughter’s school, all the while enjoying Starbucks and the serenity of the day’s clear blue sky. On the other end of the connection in Nashville, Crim was speaking about his aptitude of government matters and his disgust of dirty politics. Then he mentioned Vernon Winfrey.

“What did you just say,” Mr. Crim?

Larry Crim and Vernon Winfrey. (Courtesy of Annette Crim/ Honey Photography)

Unfolding out of my relaxed position, what I heard next made me as happy as George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” You know, around the third hour when his life got back to wonderful again.

Vernon Winfrey is the father of Oprah Winfrey, the billionaire queen of talk shows and much more. She has often credited her father with instilling in her the discipline that she needed to reach her astronomical levels of accomplishment.

I’d been in pursuit of Vernon Winfrey for a literary project that I’m working on and was speaking with Crim when – in mid-sentence – he said, “Kelvin, as a matter of fact I’m walking into Mr. Winfrey’s barbershop right now. Here, I’m going to let you speak with him, it’s his 79th birthday.”

Realizing that I was about to experience one of the most important conversations of my life, I mentally went from 0 to 60, straight into reporter mode. I quickly pulled out my iphone and pushed record. Mr. Winfrey got on the phone.

“Hey there Kelvin. I have been hearing some great things about you. Are they lying to me?”

Humbly, I said, “I’m afraid they are sir, but I am going to counseling.” He chuckled.

I wished him a Happy Birthday. Thank you, he replied, noting that he was turning an “old 79 today.”

I told him that he wasn’t old and that I’m sure he’d be around at least another 50 years, so he may want to hold that old talk for at least 20 more years.

I then asked if he had ever been to Memphis. Sure, he said, plenty of times son, plenty of times. He went on to tell me that he was from a small town about 50 minutes from Grenada, Miss.

“I’m just taking it easy, hanging around my barbershop today, receiving phone calls from my loved ones telling me Happy Birthday. I’m 79 and I feel fine. So fine that we’re about to build me a brand new barbershop here in Nashville, me and Larry, just right across the street from the one I have now, and this one has been here over 30 years.”

I wish you best on that sir, and I will be attending the grand opening, I said.

Winfrey continued.

“I’m a native Mississippian, ya know, I grew up about 50 miles beyond Grenada. You got Ducksville, Panola then Dayton. I pull off at Dayton and take 35 East about 20 miles and run into my hometown Kosciusko. I’m not far from Memphis at all you know. I come thru Memphis two or three times a year. Maybe we will run into each other.”

Next time you come to Memphis, how about we get some barbeque over here on Beale Street, on me, I said.

“That sounds good ya hear,” he replied.

I pride myself in being prepared. I motivate myself. I set goals and reach’em. I make plans and keep’em, and I’m sharing this story as sort of a case study on how it all works.

And trust this, you aren’t going anywhere if you’re not prepared. In fact, George Bailey may have said it best: “I’d lasso the moon for you if I could.”

Or just maybe you can do it for yourself, when the time comes, if you’re prepared.

(Kelvin Cowans can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )



0 #1 Six~Four~ 2012-10-03 16:30
Kelvin Cowans aka Six~Four

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