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


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

When You're Running Down My Country Hoss!

Last week, I was working in Westville, Oklahoma when a train past me by. It was a long train with many cars. Every car was loaded with military equipment destined for the Middle East. Everything was tan except for a few transporters emblazoned with a Red Cross sign. I just stood there and watched this train roar on by. I began to think of all the tanks and Hummers. I wondered how many bullets they would fire. When I saw the Red Cross vehicles, all I could wonder was how many bodies they would pick up. How many people would survive that ride back.

It made the war in Iraq all of a sudden seem very real.

Now, no one would ever describe me as patriotic. I love America, but I don't go around wearing American flag pants like my father. (Well there was that one time, but it was just for a picture.)

But when I saw those military vehicles all painted tan, I wanted to sing the Star Spangled Banner for some reason. I wanted a bald eagle to swoop down and land on the large muzzle of the tank. I wanted Toby Keith to sing about putting boots in people's asses.

The train past on by eventually, it must have been almost a mile long, and I got back to work.

Later on that day, I got an instant message from one of my former students back in Rhode Island. His name is Brandon, and he is on his way to Iraq right now.

Brandon was my project kid. I will never forget my first day at work, he started freaking out and had to be restrained. He looked right up at me and spat in my face.

Brandon had to be restrained a lot it seemed like. He was always upset about something. He was always yelling at someone. He never want to do anything. He used to cuss in the long and elaborate ways. Like he had Tourette's Syndrome. He would look at me and tell me how much he didn't believe in God and how I was a sucker for believing in God.

But he was my project, I don't know why. I think probably because no one else would even talk to him.

Most of the time when we were hiking, I would hang back with him and talk with him. I almost got him to quit cussing. I told him that he didn't, so therefore he could not use any cuss word associated with God. That limited his vocabulary a lot.

After a while, I finally got through to him, or at least I think I did.

One day, I had to take him to a doctor's appointment at the lovely Pawtuxet Valley Clinic. He had problems with his hips, no one ever believe the amount of pain that he had with every step he took. So, after the appointment, I took him to Wendy's. We got Frosties and French Fries. We talked a lot that day about how he could get out of the program and back home. We talked about his future a lot too. I told him about how much progress he had since my first day when he spat on me. He honestly was in so much of a rage that he didn't know he had done it.

So as we walked back to find our group, he stopped and said, "I'm sorry that I spit on you."

It was the first time that he had apologized to anyone. It was the beginning of his turning point.

Now Brandon is in the Army. He just finished a stint in Korea and now he is heading to Iraq.

I am really proud of Brandon. I am proud that he finally grew up. I am proud that he is serving his country. I am proud that he is being strong. I am proud that he is thinking about his future. I am proud that he isn't mixed up on drugs or found dead on the streets of Pawtucket like some of my other former students.

I will pay more attention to the news now. For the past few months, I hear something about Iraq and it never really connects. But now I have a face to see out in all that sand.

I just hope and pray for two things: Not to pick up the paper one day to find a name that I recognize and to get an Instant Message from SPC Pfuhl soon.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ain't No Cure For The Summertime Blues

My granny used to have this white vinyl recliner. It was a nice recliner, it leaned back to almost a 180 degree angle. I remember seeing a picture of me when I was a baby looking as though I was swallowed whole into this chair.

Anyway, I was thinking about those old summertime memories and I remembered something that some of my old roommates and I used to do.

We tried to save on our electrical bills by not using the air conditioner very much. So on those hot and lazy summer days, we would have a contest using that old vinyl chair that was handed down to me.

We would strip down to just our shorts. Then one person would sit down in the chair and recline as far back as the chair would go. Then we would wiggle around the chair and get our sweaty skin stuck to the chair. Then we would jump out of the chair as quickly as we could. The person who created the loudest sound of hot and sweaty skin being peeled off of sticky vinyl won.

I don't know what we played for. Maybe some Ice-Pops, we used to go through a case of those bad boys every day or so.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Another Picture of Reed Christopher Pruden

How precious is this? This looks like one of those pictures on a Hallmark card...

Blackbird Singing In The Dead Of Night

A couple of sparrows have somehow found a hole in the back of my office building. I have found a nest, but I think it is an old one.

No, I think these sparrows just enjoy coming inside on a hot afternoon. They swoop around the back, darting from the top of an old refrigerator to the top of the garage door and then finally finding a good perch on top of a dormant heater.

I have thought about trying to chase them back outside, but I know that they will just find a way back in. And besides, as long as they aren't dropping any bombs on a desk, where's the harm?

But today, something shocked me.

I was listening to a CD and noticed the birds singing along. I was listening to The Flaming Lips' Do You Realize? and noticed the birds' chirps. They were singing along!

It wasn't perfect with the beat, but it was close.

I quickly changed to see if they would sing with any other songs. They were pretty quiet with Damien Rice and Snow Patrol, but they sang a lot with Blink 182.

When I put on some Kanye West, they went absolutely nuts. They were singing so fast. I just wish I could find them a little bit of bird bling-bling.

I am gonna play different songs for the rest of the afternoon, see what they like. And taking requests.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Lil' Reed Christopher

We welcomed a new edition into the family this past weekend. The new edition was supposed to be a little girl, but surprise, surprise, the new edition came out with a few extra parts.

So Reed Christopher is three days old now, and he has got his whole life ahead of him. He is so small and fragile.

I talked with him on the phone this weekend. I said hello. He cried. Sounds like a good start to me.

Technically, Reed is my cousin. But my Aunt Jodi has always been more of an older sister to me than an aunt. She is only 9 years older than me. Now I am almost 28 years older than Reed, so I figure that our relationship will be more like and uncle and a nephew.

I can't wait to teach him a few bad habits. Oh will he laugh when I teach him how to light a fart on fire.