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

One Word: UNSTOPPABLE AWESOMENESS!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Let Me Tell You A Story

I dropped by my friends' Kent and Kristen's house right around bedtime for their little ones, Aidan and Patrick. They were both already in their PJ's and were sitting on the couch reading Curious George with Kent. I sat down and read with them for a bit. I read the story about the Tower of Babble. We laughed and did hand gestures. They laughed at the way the words would rhyme. If there was a difficult, Kent would ask Aidan if he knew what that word meant.

I know one thing, kids like television, but they love reading. I discovered this a few years back whenever I was teaching up in Rhode Island.

Every night, when the kids would go to bed, we would give out daps and hugs. I would walk into their tents and give my tried and true wisdom from The Nutty Professor.

"Women be shoppin'. You can't stop a woman from shoppin'!"

When the lights when out, it was story time. I remember the first time I read at night, I was trying to read the first Harry Potter book to the kids. I couldn't pronounce most of the words, and when I was done for the night, I announced that I would never read that book again because I only read books in English. That week, I went out and bought W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe and read it to them at night. I also read a Wendell Berry book one time. I read a little bit of Dylan Thomas poetry. But the most memorable book was I read Willie Morris' My Dog Skip.

I read most of the book, but another teacher read the ending of the book while I was off. I will never forget one of the biggest kids around came up to me and put his big paw on my shoulder.
He just shook his head at me and said to me in his thick Puerto Rican accent.

"He died yo! Skip died yo! That ain't right!"

I always thought it was weird, why these teenage kids loved to have books read to them at night. It was only after a while that I realized, kids whose parents died of AIDS when they were just children, they didn't have story time at their house. When a parent is strung out and coked out of their mind, they simply forget about their kids, much less storytime. When your parents are working two jobs, there isn't enough time to talk, much less read.

All they wanted, which is really all anyone really wants, is a little bit of attention, a little bit of joy. I sometimes wonder what those kids are doing know, what they are doing now, how they are seeking out attention. I hope they aren't hotboxing cars. I hoped they aren't rolling out of their minds. I hope they aren't in prison. I hope they aren't robbing banks. I hope they aren't dying on the streets.

I hope they still read. And I hope they remember a little bit of wisdom that I gave them. I hope that they do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.

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