Life With Ferris: Cotty Kale Was Tiny, But She Made A Big Impression

Sunday, August 25, 2013 - by Ferris Robinson

Cotty Kale did not look like the kind of lady who could eat cheeseburgers and hot fudge sundaes. She was tiny, with delicate bones and enormous brown eyes that looked right through you.


She was my mother's friend, but somehow I never thought of her as a grown-up. I met her when I was 14, and was already bigger than she was. She talked to me like we were the same age, making funny little comments and listening to me like I was the most interesting person she'd ever met.


When my parents went out of town and Cotty popped in, I thought she was just coming to visit me. And even though I was surreptitiously packing up to go out of town with my boyfriend, I was thrilled to see her. She asked what we were doing and I told her the truth.


She didn't look shocked at the idea of two high school kids packing up contraband and heading for sure trouble. She just looked at me with her brown eyes that never, ever judged and then cocked her head to the side.


"I don't think that's such a good idea," she said simply. "It might be better if you didn't do that this weekend."


We didn't go.


In hindsight, I know my mother asked her to check in on me. Make sure I wasn't getting into trouble. But truly this didn't occur to me until I had my own teenagers and enlisted the help of my friends to keep them on the straight and narrow.


I think this says a lot about Cotty Kale. Not just that I didn't know she was ordered by my mother to drop by, but that I took her advice.


I was blessed by this little lady. I was fortunate enough to enjoy her company for many lunches with some of my mother's other friends who I consider to be my own friends. Cotty always had seconds, no matter what I was serving.


At one birthday lunch for my mother, my gift was a bird clock from Walgreens. Not my best present to her, but I was busy cooking. My siblings presented her with an art book by one of her college professors. My mother was so moved she began to weep at the table, awed by the thoughtfulness and importance of this gift.


Cotty Kale immediately picked up the pitiful bird clock and passed it around the table, noting that she'd always wanted to hear an owl hoot three times at 3:00.


I saved all of her letters. She wrote to me after every luncheon I hosted. She encouraged me when I needed hope and she made me feel special. Always.


Dear Ferris,

One star, the sun, makes the world go around. Tie people together, keeps love tight and people laughing. You are the sun and the moon and the stars, and you are one of God's most blessed. We'll never be able to thank you enough.

Cotty 

Cotty Kale was tiny, but she leaves a great big hole in this world.

ferris@waldenloghomes.com






16-Year-Old Native American Flute Sensation Performs At Red Clay Pow Wow

Sixteen-year-old Native American flute sensation, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, producer and rising star Gareth Laffely will perform at Red Clay Pow Wow 2014 in Cleveland at Red Clay State Park on Saturday and Sunday.  Hours are 10 a.m. until dusk on Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday.  Admission is a $5 donation per car. Gareth will be performing ... (click for more)

Dr. Joe Martin Speaks At PEF Luncheon, "Teachers Have A Chance To Save Lives"

Dr. Joe Martin, speaking at an event for the 25th anniversary of the Public Education Foundation's partnership with Hamilton County schools, said his seventh grade English teacher "literally saved my life and she didn't even know it." Dr. Martin said, "She didn't know that I was being raised in one of the toughest projects of Miami." His teacher, whom he called Ms. G, also did ... (click for more)

Man Shot At Apartments On Tunnel Boulevard Wednesday Afternoon, Then 2 Juveniles Shot At Rec Center On Oakwood Drive With Suspects In Custody

Chattanooga police officers responded to the apartment buildings at 404 Tunnel Blvd. Wednesday at 1:21 p.m., where residents say they heard multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said they saw multiple suspects fleeing the scene on foot behind the complex.  The male victim was taken to a local hospital for life threatening gunshot wounds.  Later Wednesday, ... (click for more)

Several Arrested Outside Erlanger Hospital When Crowd Gathers After Woodlawn Shooting

Several people were arrested Monday night outside Erlanger Hospital after a crowd gathered and clashed with police. The crowd included family and friends of 20-year-old Apprentice Berry, who was shot multiple times and killed earlier Monday night at the Woodlawn Apartments on Wilson Street. Erlanger officials said the group gathered at the emergency room, but were later moved ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Policeman’s Prayer

Every year, when the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga holds its annual luncheon, it is one of the most heartening displays of what America really believes, down deep inside. The most prominent and influential leaders in the community – well over 1,000 -- gather to pay tribute and pledge their support to our heroes in blue who are unfaltering in their devotion, service ... (click for more)