Looking for Magic


November 10, 2000

I continued to be active in my church, Seaford Baptist, despite protests from my family for not being Catholic anymore. I had a handful of friends whom I'd meet twice a week for socializing and bible study and we were on email together. It was a loving group who supported each other and loved the Lord. I felt motivated to learn as much about God as possible, although having a Catholic upbringing, I lacked the enthusiasm of the rest of the group. Catholics are very conservative.

On September 25, while sitting in my new $118,400 house and playing with a chat program, I found my dear long lost friend Karen. I hadn't heard from her in 4 1/2 years or seen her in over 12 and we began emailing. She was living in her home town of Dalton, Georgia and starting a construction business. It was so nice to have her back in my life even if it was just for chat.

I was building my website and doing a narrative on my Tour de Okinawa bicycle race from 1989 and enjoying the memories. I dug through old Japanese cycling magazines and found myself in photos I'd never seen before. I began thinking...it was a magical experience. I needed that in my life again but relationships, the one or two I had, never gave me that. I'd depended on others to bring magic into my life but when I looked at those photos of me from 1989 I realized I did it alone--screw the whole relationship thing. The next year would be me and my bicycle and if a woman entered the picture then she'd better not get in my way.

Preparing to lick the mirror>>>
Don't you hate it when you show up for work and 17 other people are wearing the same thing you are?>>>
Then the idea hit me. I was almost 35 years old but I pulled a 4th place out of the bag in the State Time Trial and every year I was stronger. Why don't I go back to Okinawa and finish business? Why not do the 2001 Tour de Okinawa? In a minute I made the decision--I was going to do it! God willing...It was a little too crazy and I knew it would be very hard to attempt, so I told everyone at work I was going back to Okinawa just to hold myself accountable. I began planning. I'd have to be in the shape of my life.

In November I was given the privilege of attending the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy near Panama City, Florida, a six-week course to develop my leadership skills and prepare me for the next rank. I left my home on November 6, and drove down along the east coast, through Fayetteville (where I met Ha in 1998) for the second time in 2000, through Georgia and the next day arrived in Florida for the first time in 17 years. It was an emotional drive down memory lane. It was also election day and the State of Washington never sent my absentee ballot so I could kick the last remnant of Bill Clinton (Al Gore) out of the White House. Being a traditionally Democratic state, I wondered if

they might have intentionally not sent absentee ballots to military voters? And they say Bush stole the White House. Who was in charge when he won the election? I went to the polls as I drove into Tyndall Air Force Base, but they refused to let me vote. It was worth a try. My family had always been Democrat, and I was until Bill Clinton.

I settled in and the next day began one of the most satisfying, joyful experiences of my Air Force career. We were Raptor Flight and we were tight.

What would we do for a jar of Planters Peanuts?>>>