I have known Phil Collingsworth for a long time. Many years ago, I sold him his first car. It was a bright blue 1976 Chrysler Cordoba. Now, this was way back, before those gray streaks started showing in Phil's hair. Of course, he might say that this was back when I had hair. That was a special car of mine. It was my honeymoon car. I am married to his sister, Rena, and we drove it to Gatlinburg in 1980. Now, he has paid me back many times over, by allowing me to drive his bus, Big Red, occasionally.
Phil has always been a city boy. He was raised in Dayton, Ohio, lived in Cincinnati and then Indianapolis. Then it was on to Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. So, it has always been the big city for him! Last year, we drove to Pennsylvania for a concert. We were making our way through the picturesque countryside, when Phil spotted a farmer out in the field beside the road. He was kneeling at the back of a cow lying in the grass. He said, "Lowell, pull this bus over to the side of the road." Phil jumped out, climbed the fence and went over to the farmer. He asked if there was something he could do to help. The farmer told him to grab hold of the little leg that was protruding from the cow and help pull! In a short while, a beautiful new calf was born. Phil was in awe, and the farmer asked if he could pay Phil for assisting. Phil, being the helpful man that he is, declined but said, "I do have one question. About how fast do you suppose that calf was going when he ran into the back of that cow?" I did say he was a city boy, didn't I?
OK, maybe some of that was not exactly accurate. The truth is that he grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and he entered a contest at WFCJ radio. They were giving away several gospel albums. This reminded me of my good friend Daniel Downing, who entered a similar contest in Cincinnati. They announced that the third caller would win the prize. Dan called. First caller, sorry. He redialed. Second caller, sorry. Once again he dialed. He won! But, I digress. Guess who won all those albums! I forget how many there were. Twenty-five or maybe fifty. There were a bunch of them. And, now look who is producing recordings today.
We are very proud of The Collingsworth Family. I know Grandma and Grandpa Collingsworth were very proud of them before they left us. It is easy to be proud of them when you see them singing on stage with gospel greats like Bill Gaither, Ben Speer, The Talleys, Lynda Randle and all the others. We were watching a live Gaither production on Daystar. Russ Taff was singing. As he finished, Bill came to the microphone and began the introduction for the next group. He said, "We'll start with the mother." And, Phil's wife, Kim came to the piano to play "How Great Thou Art" in front of the thousands at the Dallas-Ft Worth Gaither Concert. Next, Phil, Brooklyn, Courtney, Phillip and Olivia joined her on stage and sang "Not The Same". They are making a splash in the Southern Gospel Music world. If you haven't noticed, you will soon, if you are paying attention.
If you are interested, ask me about the windshield wiper problems on our last trip from Texas. Quite the picture I have in my mind - looking out the windshield at Phil with his hands thrown in the air and a look of confusion on his face.
Check out "thecollingsworthfamily.com" for pictures and info if you are not familiar with this group.