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


Friday, July 07, 2006

Kicking An Italian's Children: Friday the 26th

(Franco, the Italian whose children I did not kick)

Because a tropical depression had blown into the area, we could not go deep sea fishing like we did the year before. So instead getting up really early, we slept in a little bit until 8 o’clock. It was really nice and relaxing. My feet didn’t hurt nearly as much as they had the previous days, and I began to wonder if I had survived the worst with me feet.

On our way to the base, we stopped and talked with Manuel. We talked a little bit about the past week and all the hard work we had accomplished. He was digging a hole for a reason I now cannot remember. We told him that we were going to the beach. He smiled big and said that after the long workweek it would be quite refreshing. He asked me if I wanted to stick around for another week and work. I told him that I couldn’t, that I had to get back to work the next week. He asked me what I do for a living. I told him that I worked on scales. He asked me if I worked on scales that they used to make tortillas with. I told him no that I mostly work on digital scales that are primarily used to weigh chickens. He laughed and raised his spade shovel. This is my digital scale, he said. We all laughed. We all shook hands and I noticed that Manuel shook my hand fairly firm. It surprised me because most of the time people shake hands fairly limp. I smiled and told Manuel to have a good time back home for the weekend and that I hoped to see him again next year.

"Adios, Josua."

"Adios Manuel."

Everyone loaded up in a bunch of Suburbans and headed down towards Puerto Escondido. We rode in a car with Aaron, who had to stop at the airport to try and get his papers in order so that he could go home. After sitting in the car for about 20 minutes, Aaron came back all smiles, his proper papers in hand. We all clapped and hollered in celebration for Aaron. All week he had been talking about how he was supposed to go home a few weeks back, but never had all the right documents. Finally, he was going to get to go home and see his wife.

It was a rainy day in Puerto Escondido. I walked around with Casey, Brittney, and Bethany for a while. I bought some good (read: Cuban) cigars at a tiny bodega. Casey helped me pick out the cigars. I told the lady that I wanted the expensive. I have never been one to skimp when it comes to things like that. I wanted to buy some from my buddy Andrew, who was leaving for Orlando a few days after I got back. Bethany wanted to get a cigar for her fiancée. We walked around a bit, looking at hammocks and other tourist gift. Casey and I talked about trying to find some Cemento Cruz Azul soccer jerseys. Kyle came walking by and said that he had heard that there was a few shops where we could buy them up bear the farmer’s market. Jason said he wanted to go up to the farmer’s market so we drove up the town a little bit and passed a few soccer shops by. We walked around the farmer’s market and found no jerseys. Jason bought some chocolate and a bunch of flowers for his wife. He stopped at a little store on the way back towards the beach, but the man only had some small sized and dirty soccer jerseys.

When we got back down to the beach, we went into a small Italian restaurant, El Jarden. We gathered a bunch of tables and began to order our food. I stuck to the plain spaghetti and a beer. Kyle, who is underage here in the states, was really excited about getting a beer, but I don’t think he was very pleased with the beer that he got. The food came out sporadically. When I finally got my food, I asked the owner, Franco, about my beer and he apologized and got me one really quickly. The spaghetti was very good, but there was a lot of it and I had eaten all I could. When Franco, a middle-aged bald Italian with a slight belly, came back and looked art my plate.

"Did yoooy naught like de food?" he asked with a thick accent.

"Oh yes, it was great," I replied.

"Well, yoooy ded naught fenesh it. Do yoooy naught lauve me? Do yoooy want too keck mi children?"

"No, no," I said, "I don’t want to kick your children. I love the food. I love you, Franco. I am just full."

"Whin yoooy do naught fenesh yoooy food, I think yoooy do naught like me, yoooy naught like my food."

I realized what I had to do. I got my fork and finished the last few bites of my spaghetti. I scraped the plate and washed it all down with my beer. He smiled back at me.

"Good, yoooy lauve me and yooou lauve my spaghetti," he said as he took my plate. We spent probably another hour at the restaurant trying to figure out how much everyone owed on the check. I was willing to over pay just so that I could leave, but they still wanted to split the check 32 ways. I knew exactly how much my beer cost and exactly how much my spaghetti cost, and included 50 percent more than what I owed to include taxes and tip. But when it was split, it came out to less than I was willing to pay. (I have never thought that splitting a check and averaging the cost is a good way to break things down. I have always figured that you either pay exactly how much you owe or you pick up the entire check. I usually just like to pick up the entire check, but I couldn’t do that for 32 people.)

I walked down the beach side with Casey and Brittney. We walked in a little surf shop where they bought a couple of T-shirts. We kept on walking around until we finally decided to sit down at a little cabana on the beach. I smoked a cigar and drank a really good margarita. We watched the surfers and just talked for a bit. It was nice and relaxing. We watched Kyle surf and winced in unison when Kyle and a small Mexican boy collided on a big wave.

We met down near a little ice cream shop right before it was time to go. I sat down at a little table next to Sarah and Jamie. They talked about some of the less pleasant parts of their trip and I just sat there and listened. I was stunned at what all they told me. After they finished talking, or more correctly I told them to stop talking, I walked out near the street. Kyla was standing on the steps and giving out massages. She gave me one and I offered to marry her, buy her a car, or buy her a house. It was that good of a back massage.

Right before we all loaded up to go back to the base, I ran over to a vendor and bought a little Spider-man ball for my little buddy Daniel.

On the ride back, everyone was kind of tired and mellow. I got my earphones out and put one in my ear and Terra put one in her ear. We listen to some tunes on the way back and we both agreed that Ryan Adams is a great songwriter and a colossal jerk. She also gasped breathlessly when Damien Rice came on the MP3 player.

Everyone split up when we got back to the base. I went back to the Cacalote house when we got back. I laid down for a bit and then took a shower. I went back to the base that night and everyone was kind of hanging out. Some people said that they were going to watch Hotel Rwanda back at the clinic. Though it is a great movie, I didn’t really want to watch it that night. So I skipped out on that and went over to find Daniel. I gave him the Spider-man ball. He smiled the way only children smile and the way I wish I could still smile. We played for almost an hour in the small courtyard. He kept on trying to imitate the tricks I was doing with the ball. The base was also showing A Walk To Remember for everyone as well. Daniel was called away by his mother right before the movie started. I looked around and noticed everyone was putting on bug spray. It was the first time I saw any of the native putting on bug spray so I knew I should get back and put some on.

Some people were hanging out at the guesthouse and talking. Kyla came up and wanted to take a walk. We walked around the base a few times and stuck our heads into see Mandy Moore overdubbed in Spanish. We sat on the back porch and talked for a bit, just listening to the ocean break in the close distance. We heard some music coming from inside the guesthouse and saw the other group from the states performing some really weird dance to some really fast music. It was so bizarre that even now, I can’t fully described what I saw.

After a while, I got tired and said goodnight to everyone. I made my way back to the Cacalote house, this time with a key to the gate. Inside the house, the residents were watching Flightplan. Weird how Friday nights are movie nights no matter where you are.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

4th of July

(Nate McGooden showing all the kids in the crowd his "human roman candle trick" )

The 4th of July celebration at the Millers was a lot of fun. There was great food. Lindsey Kelley made some brownies that were good enough to almost be illegal. Jason had quite the patrotic Country and Western music playing on his ipod, much to my delight and the disgust of others. Nate McGooden and I ran to the fireworks tent down the road and picked up a nice little assortment of fireworks. Seriously, there was a good thing there wasn't an ATM at the fireworks booth because we would have emptied our checking accounts to buy some really coold stuff. BTW, the big 60 dollar display now all come with really weird and somewhat inapropriate names. Nate and I blew up a few Coke cans, made a few kids cry, shot a small SCUD missle off that landed pretty close to Jason's Dad's truck, and thankfully didn't burn ourselves or anyone else up too bad. I also taught Grant Blancette that "Safety is numero Dos!!! Right after fun!" Just kidding, sort of.

All Is Right In My World Again

I got my new (relative term) laptop today. Oh my. It even has Word and Excel, which my old more smoky laptop didn't. It is still outdated by probably 6, maybe 7 years. But I fired that badboy up this morning and put my Elvis and Nixon wallpaper up on the screen and everything seemed a bit better.

(Just for the record, this is the most requested document of the U.S. Government.)

Uno, Dos, Tres, Catorce: Thursday the 25th

My feet still hurt, in fact, they felt worse. Aaron worked on my feet a little bit more, while Reagan ate some of his snacks that seemed to multiple during the entire time we were down there. Aaron and Reagan headed towards the base while Matt and I walked slowly behind. I gave Matt the big brother speech about making sure to watch out for Jill and make sure she is safe. He assured me that he would and that he was going to keep a walkie talkie during the night just in case she got frightened or in trouble in the middle of the night. We also walked and talked about a girl back in Fayetteville, and I told him if he really was worried that I would keep her company. We talked a good bit on that walk up. Our conversation swung from serious to silly like pendulum on a clock. When we got to the base, we loaded up in a Suburban and headed towards the church.

Once again, I was in charge of cement. This time I wore my glasses instead of another pair of contact lenses. Once bitten, twice shy.

The stage went pretty fast. There weren't as many people helping out, but it went pretty fast. We were actually making concrete too fast for Manuel and the others to spread. So we stopped making concrete a few times and helped out slinging concrete onto the stage.

When the stage was set in concrete, we went back over the floor with two by fours. Once again, Matt and I teamed up. It was slow work, but we got the entire floor sanded down in about an hour.

After we finished took a few pictures of the all the men that helped out with the church floor. I tried to get everyone to smile, but everyone was kind of distracted and not smiling. So I counted in Spanish like Bono.

Uno, Dos, Tres, Catorce! (One, Two, Three, Fourteen!)

Everyone laughed and I got a pretty good shot.

After we said our good-byes, we went back to the base to get started on some post holes in the beach. The women and Kent were still painting the house, so Reagan, Matt, Casey and I went down to the beach to dig some post holes for a fence to keep in the cows. Aaron left us alone after a while, and we were left to our own devices. We thought we had the string tight enough so that we could keep a straight line. But since there was gale force winds, the string blew a bit towards the ocean. When Aaron finally came back to look at all our progress and just laughed. It was by far the worst post line in the history of post lines.

After lunch, the rest of the group got back. We said our quick hellos and went back towards the beach to redo every post hole we had previously done. This time Reagan went to help the women paint too, so it was just Matt, Casey and me. Casey and I were pretty much hallucinating by this time from lack of sleep, just plain tiredness, and probably some sort of parasite. We just laughed and laughed. We finally had a little bit of help from a couple of guys that actually new how to dig a post hole in the sand.

Digging a post hole in the sand is very, very difficult. We finally learned that you had to pour a bunch of water on the sand before digging. A little guy that had been helping us all week with a weird eye and a San Francisco Giants ball cap kept showing us how to do it. I told Casey that the guy would eventually get tired of us and just hit us over top of the head with a shovel. Like I said, we were delirious. There was an old palm tree out near the water, but we couldn't quite make out exactly what it was. I kept on telling Casey that it wasn't a beached whale, but a beached manatee. He kept on trying to throw facts into the argument like manatees are fresh water animals, but I just shot right back with his logic that the sea water is probably what killed the poor manatee.

We finally finished one line and Aaron came up and asked us if we were ready to start another row. We all kind of looked at each other. I spoke up.

"Aaron, do you want the truth or do you want the gung ho marine answer?"

"The truth," he said.

"I think I can speak for all of us and say that we are about to pass out."

He said he understood and we walked back towards the base. We talked a bit more with some of the others from the other group. Jason told us that we probably wouldn't get to fish the next day because of a storm coming in.

We got cleaned up and the other group went to stay at a hotel in Rio Grande. After getting cleaned up, I laid back down in one of the hammocks.

After some dinner, a few of us stuck around and talked. Reagan was in the mood to argue. So we argued about music of all things. He argued about alternative music and the fact that today's music is not as good as past music, which I totally disagree with. I always tend to argue against anything when it comes to nostalgia and things were better back in my days. I got pretty tired of arguing because Reagan kept changing his point. I began to walk back to the Cacalote house when a Suburban pulled up to me and Dave, of all people, was driving it around Mexico. He said that they had come back to try and find some people's stuff. I tried to help them find it, but it had already been stored somewhere. They gavef me a ride to the Cacalote house and told me of their adventures in a Mexican carnival down the road and riding some ride called the Dragon.

As soon as they dropped me off I realized that I didn't have a key to get through the gate. I began to wonder if maybe I should scale 9 foot wall with barbed wire on top, but I figured if worse came to worse I would go over to Ernesto's and sleep on the floor of his kitchen. Reagan came wandering back after a few minutes and he didn't have a key either. We went over to the side of the gate and began to yell for someone to come let us in. The dogs began to bark and a lady came out of the house.

Reagan yelled, "Nosotros con Aaron!"

I looked at him and just shook my head.

"Reagan, do you realize you just spoke Ebonics Spanish?"

"What?" he asked.

"You just yelled 'We With Aaron!'"

We laughed and she let us in the gate. Aaron and Matt were in bed and they said that they were just about to worry about us getting in. But they were almost asleep, so I really wonder if they would have come out to look for us.