BILL AND JANAE COOKSEY HAVE BEEN TELEVISION GUESTS NUMEROUS TIMES ON:
Modesto, CA Eleventh Hour Ch. 19
San Francisco, CA Coast to Coast Ch. 42
*The combined creative talents of the Cookseys have also been featured on TV Networks like CBS, TBN, CNN, TNN and VH1.
Read below about the unexpected happening at one of the Channel 42 tapings with the Cookseys:
THE SONG THAT HELPED SAVE MY LIFE
I'll Climb That Mountain
In March of 1995, Janae and I were invited to be guests on Channel 42's Coast To Coast TV program to discuss our on going free classes that teach phonics and reading to the community. Ronn and Connie Haus, owners of the station and hosts of this show, were scheduled to interview us for fifteen minutes about Janae's authorship of her 500 page, three volume Foundational Phonics curriculum and the special songs I had written to accompany the course. We arrived an hour before the taping and were escorted through the studio to the dressing/makeup area commonly called the Green Room. Out in the studio, I'd noticed a very pretty lady doing a sound check rehearsal of the song she was going to perform on the program. In the Green Room we were introduced to some of the production staff who gave us some final instructions as to the format we were to follow during the taping. There were a few minutes left before the cameras were to roll and I saw the lady that had been singing out in the studio comfortably sitting across the large room in a chair.
Just desiring to be friendly, I walked over, extended my hand and said, "Hi, my name is Bill Cooksey. What's yours?" The lady began to stand up, smiled and as I spoke my name she pulled back as if something had shocked her. I gathered my composure and tried again with, "Hello, my name is Bill Cooksey. What's yours?" Her lips tried to move. But her face was becoming twisted and frustrated. She looked as if she wanted to run away and scream for the police at the same time. However, it was obvious she was helplessly locked in place. She couldn't move! Forgive me, but I was beginning to feel a little defensive myself as I made my third attempt to communicate. "Listen, you're going to be on television in a few minutes. You'll have to tell them your name. I'm Bill Cooksey. And you are....?" Her mouth opened to speak, but the voice I heard came from a stocky, middle-aged man with a mustache who rushed up to us spouting, "Bill Cooksey---Are you Bill Cooksey?"
"Yes, I'm Bill Cooksey. What's going on? All I asked was for this lady's name and...???" I answered with a tone of irritability. "You're Bill Cooksey, the songwriter?", the man exclaimed hastily. "Well, I do write songs, but I.....?"
"You're Bill Cooksey, the songwriter!?! Why I think we've recorded one of your songs on one of our albums!" The man's voice rang out with excitement. "I'm sorry, but I don't believe so. In fact, I......" "You're from West Virginia. Isn't that right?" "No, that's not I. You've got the wrong Bill Cooksey." About this time Janae stood up and interjected, "He's from North Carolina!" "That's right. I knew it was somewhere back East.....Carolina.....that's right, Carolina!" Now I knew this guy was pacifying me by jumping on the agreement train as Janae fed him the facts. What kind of game are these people trying to play? "I still think we've recorded one of your songs," this relentless man continued with his never ending quest to drive me nuts right before this TV appearance. "No, I don't think so," I spoke softly as I began to turn and go over to where Janae was standing. "The song goes like this.....I'll climb that mountain.....I'll make it someday." Mr. Persistence dropped the bomb!!! My whole body went numb. My mouth sank to my knees. I began to stagger backwards. And if there hadn't been a chair to fall into behind me, they would have had to have picked me up off the floor. How could this be happening? We all looked at each other laughing, crying and jumping up and down all at one time. Here I was celebrating and I had no earthly idea who in tarnation these folks were who'd recorded my song. "How do you know that song?", I gasped
"Well, I'm Don Thomas," he said with a perfect Oklahoma drawl. "This is my wife, Virginia. We've been traveling across this country singing Gospel music for about 25 years. And back in 1977, we were making our first trip West with our new bus. Our two daughters, Leona and LaDonna, were still traveling with us at that time. We were riding along Interstate 10 just crossing over into Arizona and I started talking on the CB to this fellow who said he was an entertainer going back to Las Vegas for another engagement. Our conversation went on for a while and I told him about our family singing and recording Gospel music. He said that he'd written a kind of a Gospel song and he'd like for us to hear it. So we agreed on the CB to pull over at the upcoming rest area near Casa Grande to visit. He came over to our bus and gave us a 45 record of his song. Then, shortly afterwards, we said good- bye. He went on to Vegas and we headed on out to our next concert destination.
After finishing our itinerary, we returned to Nashville where we decided to put this Las Vegas entertainer's song on our latest album. Everywhere we went people loved that song. And for seven or eight years, we'd open our concerts with I'LL CLIMB THAT MOUNTAIN. But we always asked the people to pray for Bill Cooksey, the Las Vegas entertainer who wrote the song. And we'd tell how we met and received the record. We did about 300 church concerts a year back then. That's a lot of folks who were praying for Bill Cooksey to find the Lord. Through the years, we were never able to locate you, Bill. And now 18 years later, the Lord puts us all on the same TV program here in San Francisco. It just makes us so happy to see that God answered all those prayers we requested for you every time we sang the "Mountain" song. How can anyone ever say, 'There is no God that watches over us and cares for us every second of every day'?"
Don and Virginia Thomas came back into my life almost two decades later, because God cared enough to give me a song to share. And the Lord wanted me and others to know that He hears and answers every prayer. Janae and I will always be indebted to the Thomases for their faithfulness in witnessing to me in 1977. Those prayers lifted up for Bill Cooksey by tens of thousands of folks in the Thomas Singers' concerts are what got me through attempted suicide, overwhelming depression, the loss of my family, physical and emotional sicknesses, total financial destruction and multitudes of other valleys too painful to even mention here.
The whole time since I wrote the song, the words and melody would ring in my head and my spirit, whenever I was plagued with defeat and humiliation. Over the years, I began to realize that when I sang, "I'll Climb That Mountain", Jesus had made the provision for me to have a choice. We do have a free will to climb or not to climb. Ben Kinchlow of the 700 Club has a book entitled, "You Don't Have To, If You Don't Want To". That title is as clear as it gets. When life slaps you in the face with a wet fish, choose to take a bite of it. Remember Sushi is a real delicacy in certain parts of the world.
You can climb over the hump, if you finally identify your source. The Bible says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Take it from me, there's never been a truer statement. I'm living proof! God is no respecter of persons. If He'll bring me out of garbage dump situations, then all you have to do is ask Him too. With boldness start climbing over that mountain. I'm talking about that hurdle in your life that is bogging you down everyday. The only one stopping you is YOU!!! But don't forget to follow the only One who can guide you to the top. If I gave you the answers to all of your problems on one cassette tape, wouldn't you be anxious to listen to it on your cassette player right now? But the tape would be totally useless to you if you didn't plug in the player to a source of power to make the tape play.
And then you'd have to be willing to listen, believe, and apply all that you heard. You'd never know if the tape contained all the answers to your life's problems or not, unless you went through this process. It's the same with God. He has all the answers. But you must first plug into Jesus. Plug into the Bible, God's written Word. Plug into prayer by just talking to Him right now! Be willing to listen with your heart, believe and apply all that you learn about God's plan for man on this earth. You too can walk on water if you know exactly where the stones are located below the surface. God knows the way over your mountain. But you must take the first step in faith. Then boldly sing with me.
I'LL CLIMB THAT MOUNTAIN
I'LL MAKE IT SOMEDAY!
EVEN THOUGH I MAY STUMBLE AND FALL
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY...
I'LL NEVER STOP
TILL I REACH THE TOP
HOLD MY HEAD UP IN THE CLOUDS AND SAY
THANK YOU, JESUS
FOR HELPING ME TO CLIMB THIS MOUNTAIN
Go ahead! Do it today! Do it right now! I'll be waiting for you on the top of the top of the top!!!
Hurry, we only have Eternity once!
DON AND VIRGINIA THOMAS
If you love great, original Country-Gospel Music, then you'll love Don and Virginia Thomas singing on their dozens of CDs, Cassette Tapes and Sound Tracks.
To receive a free catalog of all 25 years of The Thomas Singers Greatest Hits, just call (918) 371-5913 or contact Bill Cooksey by the Email address on this page.
And if your church or community organization wants a very ,special musical presentation for the whole family, I guarantee Don and Virginia Thomas will create a memory that will not soon be forgotten. You'll be BLESSED!!!