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


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Mitchell Whaley--The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Known Since--1997
Resides--Tupelo, MS (Soon to Be Seattle, WA)

How could I not be friends with a guy who lived in a house where the mailbox said "STUD LAIR" and decorated his room with aluminum foil?

Mitchell is a legend at Ole Miss. He was Van Wilder before there was Van Wilder. He knew everyone at Ole Miss because he was there long enough to meet almost everyone. Still to this day, when I meet someone from Ole Miss, I ask them if they knew Mitchell and they almost always say yes. Usually, if I get even more personal and ask them if Mitchell Whaley ever gave them an oil check they usually laugh and say yes again.

The thing about Mitchell is he is a lot smarter than most people give him credit for. You could ask him a question about almost anything and he would be able to have a conversation about it. He is very well read. Usually when I talk to him on the phone we talk about what books we have read lately.

The fact of the matter is this, Mitchell understands the world. Or at least understands the role he plays in this world. Sometimes that means listening to someone's problems and offering the best advice he can. Sometimes that means calling an 80 year old Mississippi State baseball fan a coward. You just never know with Mitchell.

He has helped me out in many situations. He has let me crash at his place many times. He has come through for tickets to a game many times. He has almost always been the designated driver (and leader) for a night full of laughs and fun.

He is they guy you are always thankful to have on your side.

The only problem is, I sometimes feel that he is more of a friend to me than I am to him.

He is a mighty wookie indeed.

And he is always good for a very funny and a somewhat lewd message on your voicemail.

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.

The King and I

I was sleeping soundly this weekend, taking a quick afternoon nap. I had some clothes drying in the dryer. The buzzer rang. I bolted upright off my couch. My eyes were still a bit fuzzy but I saw on the television the Burger King commercial with the really weird and scary King.

It scared the life out of me.

I started screaming at the top of my lungs."I'll cut you honkey! Fight like a man!" at my TV.

I took me a second or too, but I finally figured out what was going on...I had been napping. I was startled. I was dripping with sweat. Yes, it was all coming back to me. I was drying some clothes. I had lunch and then laid down. And then the King.

The Burger King frightens me. I really want to take a baseball bat to that fake head of his and then laugh over him writhing in pain and asking him, "Whose smiling now, huh? King Size this!" It is really weird. The King is like some sort of weird horror film villain that whips out a knife or a whopper with cheese and bludgeons people to death. They ought to ban him from TV. Especially that commercial with him and Hootie singing in a cowboy hat, it's quite chilling.

I don't, however, think it is as chilling as the fact that I seem to channel a very violent George Jefferson when I wake up from a nap.

Hopefully I won't be put in the nuthouse anytime soon.