LESLIE CRISS: First time on television hopefully will be last

By Leslie Criss

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
– John F. Kennedy

Last Sunday afternoon about 1:30, I had my television debut. Being in front of a TV camera is not something that’s been on this shy girl’s bucket list.
But I was asked to speak about a place I believe is a Tupelo treasure. So, how could I say no?
However, I must confess to more than a few butterflies doing loop-the-loops in my belly. I was nervous. And I was ready to get my TV time done and vacate the mall’s food court.
Finally, a few of my friends from Regional Rehabilitation Center pushed me through a pair of dark blue curtains and seated me next to WTVA’s Sunya Walls, who had only seconds to get me up to speed before the cameras rolled.
Before I realized what she’d asked or what I’d answered, it was finished, and I breathed a significant sigh of relief.
Then I thought about what I’d said in my 30 seconds or so of air time in which I was to offer my testimonial of how Regional Rehab has helped me after having my knee scoped over a year ago.
I was introduced as Leslie Criss.
“How’d you hurt your knee?” I heard Sunya ask me.
All manner of thoughts were swirling: You don’t have time to think. Don’t stumble and stammer over your words. Be succinct. Be clear.
Then I heard myself say aloud, “Well, I fell several times and hurt my knee.”
Really? Really? What a dumb answer. I wanted to say, “Could we try that again? May I make clear I was not inebriated and that the two falls occurred within a two-year period and that I’m not yet a tottering old woman? But a second take was not an option.
Another question and answer followed before the camera folks began their hand signals to wrap it up.
My interviewer said she wanted to “thank Leslie Cross for her testimonial,” and that was that.
I was honored to have been asked to tell others about one of my favorite subjects – Regional Rehab. But there’s a reason I write. It’s always been my chosen method of communication, probably because I’m a better writer than I am speaker.
If someone from WTVA would click a clapper board in front of my face and yell, “Take two,” this is the testimonial I’d offer.
I thought Regional Rehab was an amazing organization long before I needed its services. You don’t have to live in Tupelo long before you begin to hear miraculous success stories from folks who’ve been helped by Regional Rehab.
Then, I needed help myself and requested Regional Rehab.
I painfully limped in one morning many months ago and found my own miracle.
It’s not the place, but the people who work there who help us create our stories to share with others.
They make us work hard, and sometimes it hurts. But they gently push, always with encouragement. And they make us laugh in the process of making us better.
Thanks Kari and Brandy and Hannah – and all the rest who make Regional Rehab the phenomenal place it is.
That’s a wrap.
leslie.criss@journalinc.com