Yes, in the last three weeks, I’ve been shot twice, but not the kind of shot that often takes life. I’m praying this is the kind of shot that saves my life, as well as the lives of millions of other people. The big debate among many people is whether to receive the vaccine or not. I’m not advising you on what you should do, but as for me and my house, we rolled up our sleeves at the first opportunity. I’ve lost far too many friends, and one family member, to this terrible killer. I decided to take my chances on the vaccine rather than on the virus.

I remember receiving several other vaccinations in my life, as well as one that I didn’t. I probably received some that I was too young to remember, but I had an armful of them when I was in the first grade. That was the beginning of my formal education. I was so smart I skipped right over going to kindergarten. Of course, the fact that my school didn’t have a kindergarten back then may have had something to do with it too! Thanks to Dr. Jonas Salk, a vaccine to ward off polio was created a few years before I was created. Then, in 1962, an oral vaccine was developed by researcher Albert Sabin. No, I don’t think he was any kin to the coach. I remember my entire family going to my school, on a non-school day. I think it was on a Sunday afternoon. We lined up in the lunchroom, like I did on most school days when I got a lunch tray and a carton of chocolate milk, but that Sunday all they gave us to eat was a sugar cube…one sugar cube. They didn’t even give us any milk to wash it down. That sugar cube had the oral-polio vaccine in it.

The vaccine I didn’t receive caused me to land myself in trouble. When I was in Mrs. Slaughter’s first-grade class, at Plainview Elementary School, my classmates received a vaccine there at school. My friends Byron and Buckley, and I, told Mrs. Slaughter we had already had our shot, so she didn’t make us go with the rest of the class to get inflicted…I mean injected. I’m not sure if we had or not, but Mrs. Slaughter took our word for it. Whether we had or had not, was not what got us into trouble. While they and Mrs. Slaughter were gone, a friendly game of cowboys broke out back in the classroom. Yes, I know, a teacher wouldn’t dream of leaving three boys alone in a classroom these days, but things were different then. Nonetheless, boys were still boys, and we were all three very much boys. We had found a piece of rope somewhere in the classroom, about the right length to lasso a calf, so Byron and I decided we would be the cowboys, and we decided Buckley would be the calf we roped. We had not counted on Mrs. Slaughter returning as soon as she did. When she walked in, there was our poor-little calf lying in the floor, with all four legs (actually two legs and two arms) tied together. I’m not sure about Byron, but all these years, I still regret roping that calf. I guess Mrs. Slaughter figured Buckley had already been punished.

Sometimes, I think it may be best just to go ahead and get the shot rather than suffer the consequences of not getting it. This time, so far, I’m glad I did. I’m still praying this horrible plague will soon be behind us all.

— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit for more information.

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