Back in 1984, this 12-year-old was already well known in the town of Cedarville, Missouri. Old ladies need to have someone to talk about and spread rumors. The old men sitting in the town square, looked forward to the almost daily visits from the cutest girl they’ve ever seen up close. She’d shown them she wasn’t wearing a bra, and her pierced nipples. Shelby isn’t bashful, she let the old guys ask her anything, and talked quite freely.
Yeah, the old guys would brag to their wives about the girl and how cute she is. If they were talking to Shelby, they couldn’t be betting on a game of checkers. There was more to their stories than this girl knew. One day she heard them talking about if anyone had heard when the next commodities give away at the senior center would be?
Always trying to be helpful, she offered to get special senior discounts on healthy grocery items down at Young’s Family & Home Center. They thanked her, but said they have no money to buy groceries or anything else.
The young girl inquired: “Don’t you get Social Security?”
That’s when she learned the truth, 12 hoodlums from Mtn. High show up monthly and demand their money or get beat up. They had tried to resist, but two of their wives suffered broken bones as a warning. These old guys had complained to the Police, and found out they were too scared to do anything. This gang had killed an officer at Mtn. High, then went after his family to put them in the hospital.
Thinking as she was running, Shelby went to the street franticly waving her arms to get the attention of her always present security detail. The GMC Suburban smoked its tires in a hurry to see what she wanted. A passenger side window came down as a Hispanic looking man peered out: “Miss Gore, what do you need?”
Explaining the old folk’s problem to the security team, how could she get them a good healthy meal? One guy was on a computer and checked out the story about over in Mtn. High. I suggested getting a meal put together for the old folks. Within a few minutes, I was able to go back to the old guys and tell them to spread the word among their friends: A free meal at the senior center at noon today. I hopped back on my skate board and headed east to my friend Kare-Ann Young’s big store.
As I entered the doorway, a clerk told me to go back to the office. When I entered the office, the manager was behind the desk on the phone: “Kare-Ann is up at our St Robert store today, but I have her on the phone. She wants to talk to you, here” and handed the phone to me.
“Shelby, you can’t do these things when I’m in town? …but we’ve got it covered. Your Mom is already heading up to The Hill, she and the Sanders wives are using their dining hall staff for entrees, lasagna, and drinks. We’ll provide sandwiches, salads and other stuff. I need you to head back to the deli and help out. We’ll do a second meal on Sunday after church in the church basement.
Leaving my skateboard leaning up against an office wall, I headed out the door and met one of the girls who work in the deli: “Can you come back to the deli and help us get all the stuff ready.” I started off steaming peas, carrots, and green beans; chopped onion, sliced ham into little cubes, shredded cheese, cut up boiled eggs. Then mixed-up salads and made tuna sandwiches.
By a quarter of twelve, the truck was loaded, and we were on the move headed north to the senior center. When we arrived, my friend Jodie Meyer caught me as I came in the door: “I’ve arranged for you to have a personal trainer for the next week and a day. This way you can be an even better fighter, your life depends on you winning this fight. 4 a.m. to dark, I ran 2-miles several times each day, practiced with two kettlebells, and did aerobics. There were two more meals served on Sunday and the next Wednesday.
For the next week and a day, I stayed in the guest quarters at The Hill, eating, sleeping, and doing as I was told. I had not really made a plan for what to do when the fateful day would come, there was a job to do, and it was up to me to get that job done.
My mom would come up to The Hill and watch as I ran hard for two miles, kick-boxed a bag in the gym, and jumped over the horse pasture fence hundreds of times. My friends were in trouble for far too long, and there was no one else that could help. My security team would have to keep the Police out of my way, there will be no time to waste having to choose who to hit and who I should not hit.