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, July 12, 2006

Lafe's Lessons

Packing extra pairs of underwear has never been a bad idea.

You are going to the wrong doctor if he is always packing a gun. There was a Springdale doctor recently arrested for allegedly carrying a gun to work and threatening some of his co-workers at the clinic. He allegedly carried the gun to protect himself from his patients.

Never get the reputation of making weak drinks, being a bad tipper, or being unreliable.

The left lane is for fast cars, right lane for slow cars. Seriously people, don’t camp out in the passing lane. I can’t tell you how many times I am driving somewhere and get behind someone that is clogging the highway or street up.

Always double check. Just in case

If you didn’t teach someone something, or learn anything today, then you didn’t really experience life. All you did was just waste a bunch of air.

Make sure the people you love know it. How come the easiest feelings to experience are sometimes the hard things to express?

Love people for who they are and forgive people for who they aren’t.

Always stop to give thanks for how you’ve been blessed. God still listens.

Learn how to give and learn how to receive. Most people forget that last part.

Know when to stay quiet. That is one of the most important thing that I have learned in my life. It comes in quite handy.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Manners are still important. I wish more people realized this.

If you can read, you can cook.

As you get older and still like to play basketball or ultimate Frisbee or football or whatever, don’t play to win the game, play to not blow out an ACL.

Get in more discussions and less arguments.

Always pop the extra few bucks for better seats at a concert or sporting event.

(Now your part. Post comments on this blog about the rules and lessons you believe in.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My Terrors

(What you are about to read could be called a blog exclusive. I have never told another soul about these nightmare and feelings. It shakes me up pretty bad now just thinking about it)

Last night it happened. It doesn’t happen very often. Once, maybe twice, a month. I wake up from a dream shaking and sopping with sweat. My eyes try to adjust to the darkness from the light of terrors that I just witnessed in my mind, but it takes a few moments and more than a few blinks for the darkness of night to finally calm my eyes.

It usually takes me thirty minutes or so to get back to sleep. Sometimes it takes longer. Last night, it only took fifteen minutes for me to slow my heart beat down to where I could finally close my eyes again and not feel the terror.

Here is a bit of backstory to my dream. I was on a plane on 9-11-00, one year to the day before the attacks. I was flying from Logan Airport in Boston to Tampa. We were so late that they barely let us on the flight. We had to sit in the seats that face the back of the plane. We saw everyone that went to the bathroom, everyone that got a drink. We saw everything.

My nightmare always begins with us rushing through Logan Airport that day. We are battling traffic going through the Ted Williams tunnel that is supposed to make things so much fast and so much easier to get to the airport, but it only seems to make it more difficult. We grab our bags and sprint through the airport. We finally make it to the gate, just in time. They are calling our names and about to give up our seats when we shout at them.

When we get on the plane, we find that the only seats left are the seats that face the back of the plane. Everyone on the plane is looking at us. Just staring. We sit down and buckle our seatbelts. The plane takes off and I am grasping the armrest during the takeoff. Almost immediately, there some men get up and start to shout at everyone on the plane. I see the terror in 200 sets of eyes. I hear the screams. When one of the men gets almost to my row, I take my seatbelt off and stand up. I block the aisle and ask him a question.

"Don’t you know, this is a year early. This is a year early. It is September 11th 2000! Not 2001!" We struggle and struggle. He throws me down on the ground and begins to kick me. He pulls a boxcutter and tells me to be quiet or he will cut my tongue out. A few of the other passengers begin to murmur in the back of the cabin. I hear them talking about taking over the hijackers. I stand up and tell them not to worry.

"It is the wrong year!" I tell them, "the wrong year!"

The plane suddenly jerks to the right and begins to pick up speed. Once again I yell to everyone that everything will be all right. But I can see all their faces, their faces tell me that everything will not be all right.

I always wake up before any impact.

It scares me pretty bad. I wonder if I scream during the dream. I wonder if I cry. I wonder if I try to take the boxcutter away from my pillow. I wonder a lot of things. I wonder where the guilt comes from. I wonder what I could have done. Most of all, I wonder if I will have to dream for the rest of my life.

All That You Can't Leave Behind: Saturday the 27th

Saturday morning was a bit of a blur. We began to pack up our things, throwing dirty and clean clothes in our bags. Reagan pretty much gave away everything he brought down there. I gave Matt a pillow, hairclippers, snacks, socks, and pretty much anything else he wanted. My bag was significantly smaller on the way back than on the way down. Aaron had to repack for the second time since he had planned on leave a week before. Aaron had to go pick some people up in one of the suburbans and evidently pretty much wrecked the back doors of the truck.

We took a lot of pictures at the base that morning. There are pictures of us jumping. There are pictures of us with our teams. There are pictures of us with missionaries. There are pictures of me styling and profiling like an Abercrombie model next to a palm tree. There are tons and tons of pictures, none of which I took because I didn’t bring a camera.

Everyone said their good-byes, except for me. I never have been much on good-byes. They are always too emotional for me. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to hold up, so as everyone else hugged Matt and Jill, I headed towards the cars. I will hug them when they get back.

As we took off, little Daniel came running after the car banging on the side of the truck. He jumped up and waved his hand next to the window.

"Adios Josua, Adios Josua, Adios Josua!" he yelled.

My voice cracked back, "Adios Daniel!"

We stopped at the Cacalote house to pick up the rest of the luggage. I put my sunglasses on and put my headphones on, and I tried not to think about saying (or not saying) goodbye to a place and people that I care for dearly. The music helped me zone out, and my eyes saw a beautiful land roll on by through a pair of eyes on the brink of breaking.

We stopped just outside of Puerto Escondido because one of the tires seemed to be pulling funny. I got out and looked. There was some wear on the tire, but I couldn’t see any busted tie rods or anything else out of the ordinary.

The drive was pretty pleasant after that. My batteries eventually ran down and I pulled my earphones off. Kent, or Pastor Kent as everyone down there called him, asked me if there were marijuana plants growing down in a particular gulch. I told him no, even though I didn’t get a very good look at it. I told him that I didn’t think that a marijuana plant would last too long growing on the side of the road.

After an hour or so, we arrived at the Huatulco airport and unloaded our bags. I quickly picked mine up and proceeded to the first ticket counter. The man asked for my visa. I had specifically stored my visa in my book so that I would not lose it. I opened my book to give it to him and it wasn’t there. I looked around feverishly for it. I looked in other books that I had loaned to people and still no visa. The man told me that I had to pay a 432 peso fine to get on the plane. I was pissed.

I walked over to an ATM and got some cash out. I went back over the Mexican official and handed him my money. He said that he didn’t have any change. By this time, I was so mad and knew that there was nothing I could do about it, I told him to just keep it. Since the official fine was taken by a man who had no change, I figure all I really did was bribe a Mexican official. So now I can check bribing an official in a third world country off my list of things to do before I die.

Standing in the security line, everyone went pretty fast. A few people tried to talk to me, but I was so livid that I didn’t really talk to anyone. I think they could tell I was upset. Once I past through the security, I sat down in the terminal with everyone else. Since I had just gotten a bunch of pesos out of the ATM, I was really the only one who still had any Mexican money left. So I bought a few people some Coca-Cola Lites and I bought myself a beer. I figured I could use one, and I was right. I also can now check off drinking a can of beer in the middle of an airport terminal on my list of things to do before I die as well.

The flight back to America went really smooth and I got a row of seats to myself.

When we got to the airport, we had to go through customs. Customs was a lot easier this year than last year. It seemed like we went through a lot faster. I helped carry some others bags and when we finally past through all the necessary steps to step into the terminal, we gather around and waited for everyone. Everyone decided to go to Chili’s. Someone said that they remembered a Chili’s in one of the terminals so we all started to walk towards that terminal. Casey, Brittney, Bethany and I were in the back of the group. We got split up when a few of us stopped to use the bathroom. We finally realized that there was no Chili’s in the terminal that we were in and that the rest of the group had went to a different terminal. Bethany and I called Jill to leave her a voicemail, but to our surprise she picked up the phone. I let Bethany talk to Jill first and when I got the phone the signal dropped.

We decided to just sit down at a restaurant and eat, but the place didn’t have anything but high priced steaks. So Casey and I went over to Wendy’s and got a value meal. The girls went to look for some Chinese food, but they couldn’t find any. We carried our food onto the tram that would take us to the right terminal so that Brittney and Bethany could eat at Chili’s with the rest of the group. Casey and I were scarfing our food down like Dave Thomas, himself, had come back from the grave and grilled us up some burgers. We were almost to the next terminal when the tram came to a grinding halt. We looked around and waited, we all figured that the tram would start back up any minute. But minutes went by and the train never started again. I was taking a sip of my DP when I noticed the next tram was coming full speed ahead.

I yelled out, "That ain’t good!"

Everyone looked back and saw the next tram coming right at us.

Casey, who like me was half-delirious from the burgers, asked me, "What should we do now?"

I laughed back, "Brace for impact."

We giggled and giggled until the next tram slowed down a few feet away from us. We sat on the tram for about 5 more minutes and the tram finally got started. We went and sat down with the rest of the team at Chili’s. After everyone finished eating, a few of us went over to a newsstand to pick up a paper or magazine. Jamie got pretty sick and had to run to the bathroom. You could hardly tell she had puked much of her Chili’s back up. Luckily for Jamie, when we went to sit down by the gate, she began to feel better.

At the gate, I talked to a few people around us and read a little bit more of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. There was a little girl named Emma that was sitting next to Kiplyn and me. We talked to her for a bit and she was really a very funny girl. She sang songs for us and told us about her trip to Sea World. I reached down in my carry-on and got the butterfly that Jill had made me the Sunday before. I gave it to Emma and she smiled not really knowing what to think of the little thing. She laughed and her mom made her say thank you. After a few minutes, their plane left and I was back to reading.

Once again, I lucked out and got an entire row of seats to myself. The flight attendant walked by me and asked if I was Lafe. I told her that I was.

She said, "Um hmm, I got something for you to do."

I knew exactly what she meant. Jason Lofton had requested that I do the in-flight announcements about tray table and seatbacks. She told me to come up to the front of the plane and I knew there was nothing I could do but say yes. She told me that I could do the announcements after we got up in the air. She also told me that she needed to call the pilot so that they would know that we weren’t being hijacked. I told her that was the best idea I had heard in a long time.

So once we made our cruising altitude, I got up in front of the plane and demonstrated how to use a seat belt, life preserver, and oxygen mask in my own little style. Somewhere there are pictures and video, but I have yet to actually see it.

When we arrived in Tulsa, we loaded back up for Fayetteville. It was a pretty quiet trip back, especially compared to last year’s nightmare. Kent, Kristen and I had to make a pit stop at the Springdale Wal-Mart to get her some medicine. Thankfully, the streets were nice and calm. I drove their van from Springdale to Fayetteville because Kent has an expired license and no car tags on his vehicle.

When I got to my apartment, I ran the water to wash my face. I took a drink from the sink, turned out the lights, turned the fan on full blast, and collapsed.