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Wednesday, Apr. 16, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
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Thoughts from the Lower 40: Off the top rope
In Oct. 11 Issue
Russell County News
By Wade Daffron, Columnist

“I dunno’,” Cody,” I said, “I don’t think I’d do that if I was you.”

He grinned that grin of his.

“Yeah,” he said, his eyes darting around, “I’m gonna do it.”

There we stood in the middle of Town Square, waiting for the musical finale of Lakefest.

Nothing was going on, which quite frankly bored Cody.

And Cody Wilson did not like to be bored.

I had noticed Cody making his way across the square, and motioned for him.

Cody had this way of walking-I don’t want to call it a swagger-it was more of an “exaggerated amble” with arms and legs askew, head bobbing to some sort of internal soundtrack..

He greeted me as he always did with one of those firm, “urban” type of grasps. Back in my day, we “gave five,”or “skin.” I would occasionally ask Cody if I was using the “proper handshake” and he would just shrug.

It was no big deal to him.

And that’s what I loved about Cody.

He enjoyed life, cherished his friends, was always ready for a good discussion or debate.

He lived life to the fullest.

When I woke up this past Wednesday morning, and saw the sky was sad and gray, it made me realize the news I heard just hours before was true.

Cody was gone.

And it seemed as if the whole world knew it.

It’s hard to imagine a bright, brilliant, handsome, athletic, energetic 25 year old being friends with an old coot like me, but I valued his friendship so much.

I have always known the Wilson family.

Cody’s parents, grandparents, and distinguished lineage has served our community well.

I became acquainted with Cody when I was in my “wrestling phase.”

Oh goodness, no, I didn’t wrestle, myself, I just liked to watch it, and became obsessed with collecting all those little, wrestling action figures…OK…DOLLS.

Try as I might, there was always one or two I couldn’t find. I would always hear, “Oh, yeah, Cody Wilson has got that one,” or “Cody’s got a couple of those, and he’d probably trade with you.”

Trading with Cody was not easy.

Even at a young age, he would stand firm, unrelenting, unless you were willing to trade two, maybe even three of yours for one of his. He knew that if he got a Bret Hart, Tatanka, and Sgt. Slaughter from you, he could trade the Bret Hart to someone else for an Ultimate Warrior (purple card, of course), sell Tatanka and Sgt. Slaughter, then buy a Yokozuna (green card) from one of his many sources.

That was Cody…always thinking.

A few years ago, when Cody’s home was gutted by fire a while back, I showed up to see if I could be of any help.

I spent hours crawling through ashes-on my hands and knees-in what used to be his bedroom-digging for those wrestling figures. As I found then, I would carefully wipe away soot, and place them in a bucket for him.

Somehow, amongst the ashes, charred wood, and water-soaked carpet, I think we found every last Hulk Hogan, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, and Razor Ramon.

Every time I would see Cody, he would say (in his rapid-fire manner of speaking), “MANIREALLYAPPRECIATETHEWAYYOUCAMEOVERANDHELPEDUSAFTERTHATFIREANDFOUNDMYWRESTLINGFIGURESTHATSREALLYCOOLMANANDIAPPRECIATETHATYOU’REATRUEFRIENDMANATRUEFRIEND!”

When I would see him at the gym, we would talk about wrestling. When I would see him out at some live music event (he loved music), we would talk about wrestling.

We even had a term for something we thought was “cool.”

We would raise an elbow high in the air-in reference to the grand “finishing move” wrestlers make when they leap “off the top rope” of the wrestling ring, and on to victory.

“Yeah, (insert person/place/thing here) is ‘off the top rope,’ “ we would say.

As we stood on the Town Square back in July, he once again mentioned the house fire, and the wrestling figures.

I also told Cody I had been playing music again, and suggested maybe we could work on a side-project where he could sing.

He laughed,and rubbed his hand through his thick mane.

“You serious?” he asked, staring at me with his piercing blue eyes.

“Yeah, why not?” I said. “Matter of fact…there’s nothing going on…why don’t you  go over there on the stage and sing something right now.”

That’s when I realized you did not, I repeat did NOT dare Cody Wilson to do something.

I could see him kinda’ bouncing on his feet, and he darted toward the stage.

I tried to talk him out of it-which was futile.

Was Cody Wilson intimidated by hundreds of people waiting to hear a country music concert?

Heck, no.

He was going for it.

As he neared the state, I breathed a sign of relief as a Lakefest MC stepped to the mike to make an announcement.

Cody stopped, turned to look back at me, shrugged, raised his elbow high, and yelled “OFFTHETOPROPE!”

And he disappeared into the crowd..

On Tuesday, October 7, 2008, Cody Wilson leapt from the top rope, and on to victory.

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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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