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By Jack McCall

I don’t know, maybe it’s my age, but it seems it takes a lot for me to experience a thrill anymore. I think as we get older, the highs aren’t quite as high and the lows don’t seem quite as low. Webster defines thrill v.t.: “to affect with a sudden wave of emotion or sensation, esp. of pleasure.” The idea of thrilling experiences got me to thinking. So I decided to dig deep into my memory bank and recall some of the most thrilling moments in my life.

When I was a small boy it was a thrilling experience when my maternal grandfather, Will Herod Brim, bragged on me for any job well done. It many ways that experience alone served to galvanize my developing personality.

Across the Miles
Jack McCall

One of my most thrilling moments as a teenager came when I was a senior in high school. Having been a “B team” player (bench warmer) for my two-year high school basketball career, I was dumbfounded when, in our last home outing, Coach Turner Ford sent me into the game just after halftime in a contest we were losing badly. The other team (Sparta) was no match for my pent-up energy. For the next quarter and a half we played winning basketball. With three minutes remaining, Coach Ford took me out of the game. It didn’t matter. “The die was cast.” We went on to win the game. It remains my most thrilling moment in athletic competition.

At the tender age of 27, I asked my blue-eyed blonde if she would marry me. She said yes. I couldn’t believe it! For the next several days I kept pinching myself to make sure it was true. We were getting married! That was a thrill.

September 1 of this year is our 40th anniversary. The ride has been – thrilling to say the least.

I was standing in the delivery room at Smith County Hospital (Riverview) on the morning of May 31, 1980, having just witnessed the birth of our first son, J. Brim, when a nurse turned to me. As she handed the new arrival to me she said, “We are going to let the father take him down to the nurse’s station to weigh him.” I was taken completely by surprise. That was a thrill!

In 1999 at the quarterfinals of the Class 1A football playoffs, CPA of Nashville and Trousdale County met on the Creekbank in Hartsville. Late in the contest with the game on the line, our second son, Jonathan, intercepted a pass and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown. For a father, that was a thrill!

Our son, Joseph, is gifted with the mechanical genius of my father, the late Frank T. McCall.

When it came to “moving parts,” my father knew what to do. He was a “natural.” Internal combustion engines, leverage, and angles – all that stuff – Frank McCall had “the knack.”

Countless times I have observed Joseph doing things the way my father would have – with the same skilled hands, the same methodical approach. That is a thrill to this son of my father.

And speaking of thrills. In the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school I came to what some call the “age of accountability,” or the age of spiritual responsibility toward God. I had looked forward to that time for most of my youth. In the weeks which followed I “had it out with God.” Among other things I promised Him the moon. In a spiritual sense I can identify with Jacob of old who “wrestled with God.”

Finally, by His grace, I reached the end of myself, and experienced “the peace of God which passes understanding.”

Without question it is the greatest thrill of this man’s life. Not only the thrill of a lifetime, but a thrill for all eternity.