Small Worlds

(June 9, 2008)

In 1968, as a self-assured 20-year old, I transferred from Holmes Junior College to Delta State in Cleveland, Mississippi. At the time I did not appreciate what a great opportunity God had provided by allowing me to be a part-time and weekend “DJ” at Yazoo City’s WAZF radio station while I was in high school and junior college. By the time an opportunity arose for me to apply for a similar position at WCLD in Cleveland, I considered myself an “old timer” in broadcasting. With five years experience, I got the job in Cleveland, and began balancing a radio career (signing the station on at 4:00 AM, broadcasting as “The Morning Man” until 10:00 AM) selling advertisements, producing commercials, and squeezing in time for classes at Delta State.

One of the first families I met in Cleveland was the Kossmans. Mr. Ed Kossman Sr. owned the GM auto dealership, and that was one of “my accounts”. I collected “copy” on a weekly basis for their commercials, and “produced” them to be aired on WCLD. Working with Mr. Kossman reminded me of my father, who worked as a salesman at the GM auto dealership in Yazoo City. Soon, I discovered Mr. Kossman was owner and part-owner of several businesses in Cleveland, including WCLD! “Small world,” I thought.

Fast forward 35 years to 2003, the year I discovered a schwannoma (benign tumor) the size of tennis ball in my chest. My general physician referred me to Dr. Charles Kossman, one of the world’s best oncologists at Alvarado Hospital near San Diego State. (You have my permission to connect the dots and run ahead of me, because you will be correct!) Dr. Charles Kossman of San Diego is the son of the late Ed Kossman Sr of Cleveland, MS. After five minutes in Dr. Kossman’s office, we were talking more about the Delta, Yazoo City, Cleveland, catfish, and kudzu than my tumor. “Small world,” I thought, again.

Over the past five years, Charles Kossman and I have developed a strong professional and personal friendship. Dr. Kossman lost a brother six months ago, and last week his 98-year old mother passed away (both remarkable people, as are all the members of that family). In a front page article, The Bolivar Commercial wrote “Cleveland will never be the same without Juliet “Dear” Kossman”. His personal losses touched me deeply, almost as much as losing a member of my own family.

It was Dr. Kossman who kicked things into high gear when he detected troubling signs that later turned out to be my prostate cancer. Deciding to go against the conventional “wait and see” most doctors prescribe for new “PC” patients, he made calls that pushed me to “the front of the line” for a biopsy, bone and CT scans, and ultimately to an aggressive plan of treatment that now includes surgery, radiation and hormone therapy. Without Dr. Kossman’s friendship, I would still not know my condition, and might have not received the attention it demands for a year or more.

Once again, I am deeply blessed by God’s grace. And it seems true, nothing happens by accident. “All things work together for good for those who love God, and are called according to His purpose.”

So Walt Disney was correct. “It’s a small world after all!”

Bill Jenkins

From the Quote Garden
“The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love.”
~ William Sloan Coffin

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