The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Chester Kruger--Farmer, Neighbor, Unofficial Mayor of Newman, Ky.

Resides--Newman, Ky.
Known Since--1977

There ought to be more people in this world like Chester. He is everything you would want in a neighbor. And if people where more neighborly, the world would be a better place.

I have known Chester all my life. I grew up across a gravel road from him. In my eyes, Superman never wore a red cape. No, he lived next door to me growing up and he wore khaki's with suspenders and spent almost every night outside on his swing telling stories and drinking a Diet Coke.

Chester was a retired steelworker and now farmed. He farmed tobacco, soybeans, and corn on land spread out through Newman.

I remember days when I would help out on his farm with his grandson, Jeremy. We would cut tobacco, spike it, hang, and then strip it. It was hard work. After we stripped the leaves off, I would take the stalks out and throw them in a big pile. When the pile got really big, Jeremy and I would crawl up on that tobacco stalk hill and sword fight. When we would get too cold, we would run back in the shop and stand next to the hot stove and warm right back up. Only to go back outside again.

There is a generation of people, and I am one of those people, that grew up in Newman, Ky. that learned how to drive in Chester's old green Chevy pickup. I learned to fish in his little pond.

At night, during the summer Jeremy and I would sit out with Chester and he would tell us stories about the people who would drive by and honk on their way to town. He wouls swat at flys and mosquitos. He would tell us jokes and he would laugh.

On a night that is just quiet enough to be filled with just the noise of the natural and simple world, I can hear Chester laughing.

The last time I was home, I went by to see him. He was doing well for as old as he is, but I could tell that the last few years have been rough for him. He smiled and said, "Well, if it ain't ol' Josh, I thought the next time I would see you I would be looking down on you from Heaven." The words were true, we both knew that, I tried not to think about a world without the Superman I have known all my life. So I just laughed. He told me a story about a few months ago it was the middle of the night and he swung his door wide open in the middle of the night and a possum ran into his trailer between his feet. He said he tried to catch it by the tail, and when he finally did it pissed the possum off even more. He had to get his daughter to come over finally chase it out of the trailer with a dog. And I heard that laugh that has been a constant in my life for 27 years. "Yeah", he said,"I thought I wouldn't get to see ol' Josh until I got to Heaven."

I can only hope I get to see my old neighbor again.


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