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, June 21, 2006

How To Enjoy Every Sandwich: Wednesday the 24th

It was hard for me to walk on Wednesday morning. I was walking kind of weird, it was a slow sort of waddle. I had to keep walking and keep walking or else I couldn't get back started.

All the men started off at 7 in the morning towards the church. The walk was probably only a few city blocks, but it took me a while to walk such a little way. On the way to the church, I looked around the little town. As in most Mexican towns, there was a multitude of Coca-Cola signs, bright colors and public service announcements. One public service announcement was scrawled on a small little building about the dangers of how sexually transmitted diseases can be contracted and even though it was in Spanish, it was pretty easy to translate what it was saying.

When we got to the church, Cepa pulled me over and told me that I would be in charge of cement for the day. So I walked over and picked up a few 50 kilo bags of Cemento Cruz Azul (Blue Cross Cement) and dropped them off next to the mixer. Thankfully we had a mixer and didn't have to mix the concrete by hand.

Cepa told me that each load of concrete required a quart of a bag. So I had to slice every bag in half with machete. After I slice the bag in half, I picked up on part of the bag and emptied about half of the bag in a bucket. Cepa had drawn a line in the bucket so I would know exactly how much cement to put in the mixer.

I was doing all right until I was trying to empty some cement in the bucket and some cement dust splashed back in my eye. The cement was burning my eye, so I immediately ran over to the large pool of water we were using to wet the concrete with. I washed my eye as well as I could. I washed my hands off and took my right contact out and pitched it in a trash can. My contact was already gray and was almost solid. I washed my eye out five or six more times and wondered what kind of bacteria was now crawling around in my eye.

I went back to work with only one contact in for the rest of the day. It was a little bit awkward, but it didn't give me as much of a headache as I thought it would.

The ladies got to the church around 8 and jumped right in to working. Brittney was the queen of shoveling. She shoveled and shoveled lots of rocks and sand. The mixture a quarter bag of cement, 2 five gallon buckets of sand, 1 1/2 buckets of gravel and Cepa added the water quite unscientifically with a small bowl, wetting it however much he saw fit.
Manuel, Arturo and a few others finished the concrete while everyone else hauled the concrete in a bucket at a time. They first poured footers throughout the entire floor. After the footers were set, they began on the rest of the floor. It went remarkably fast. It was pretty much finished by lunch time.

Manuel was a true artist with a cement spade. His strokes with tools were well worn and practiced works of art.

Besides measuring cement, I spent the other part of my day trying to get to memorize the days of the week in Spanish. He always had a hard time with Miercoles and Jueves.

At lunch, we had something that looked really hot. Cecilia came by and asked me if I wanted another ham sandwich. I thanked her very much and soon she came back with a couple of sandwiches. Though I was tired and my feet hurt, I could help but laugh.

I kept on thinking about what Warren Zevon said when David Letterman asked Zevon if he had learned anything since he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He said he really hadn't learned much, except how much you should enjoy every sandwich.

I was sitting in 90 plus degree heat, humidity so great the air was practically sweating, I was under a thatch roof, sitting with some of my best friends, eating a white bread ham sandwich with the sound of waves breaking in the background. I can't say for sure, but I am fairly positive that will be the best sandwich I will ever eat. And I know exactly how much I enjoyed it.

After lunch, the ladies went back to painting and a few of the guys did as well. We toured the house that they had been working on and it was quite amazing. It was two levels and made entirely of concrete. There wasn't enough paint so Matt, Reagan and I headed back to the Cacalote house to get cleaned up a bit. I read a little bit more of my book and Aaron tended to my sore feet.

I took a small nap and when I got up, I began to waddle back up to the base. I stopped at Ernesto's to play with his children and pick up a Pepsi. I made sure to give Ernesto's oldest daughter a 10 peso tip. She smiled this huge smile that she seems to be quite famous for and held the coin in her cupped hands like it was a lightning bug.

As I walked back to the base, I talked with Cecilia who was on her way to the base to help cook supper. Cecilia told me she was from East Tennessee and that she loved it down in Mexico, but she didn't really feel as though she will live in Mexico much longer. I told her that she had one of the best names in the world, a name that belonged to my grandmother. I also told her that she had perpetuated the stereotype in which I believe every woman named Cecilia is an excellent cook.

I said good-bye and walked towards the computer lounge to respond to a few emails. I needed to email a couple of friends back, but the computer room was locked up. (Sidenote: Monica, I was trying to email you back but I somehow deleted your email while I was down in Mexico, so email me back sometime...)

I walked over to a hammock and began to relax with a book. I read a little bit more of A River Runs Through It. I also watched a few birds in the palm trees above me. I looked up at the coconuts in the trees and was reminded of a story by dad told me about trying to harvest a couple of coconuts from a tree when he was a teenager.

After a while, I walked up to Jill and Bethany's room and found them snuggled in a hammock of their own. They were listening to an MP3 player and singing quite off tune. After listening to the unceremoniously serenading me, I decided that I needed to split.

I talked with some of the group and rested my tired feet. And after a while, I began to read aloud the last few pages of A River Runs Through It. When I stopped Kristen wanted to borrow the book and I said sure, no problem. I have three copies of the book and have lost or lent out 3 other copies. I made sure to get my book mark, my visa, out of the book before I gave it to her.

After some snacks, Reagan, Matt and I walked back to the Cacalote house. We walked with some of the students, who were making fun of Reagan's headlamp and trying to scare him. Little did they know that all they had to do was create a few shadows and they very well could.

After another long day, I took my bandages off my blisters so they could air out and went to bed.


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