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Roller coaster trip to Texas
letter to editor

 It was a trip to visit family in Texas to see a grandson graduate as a class speaker and student body president from his Mansfield High School. And it began with me falling asleep at the boarding gate of Southwest Airlines in Oakland.  
I had to leave at about 3 p.m. which made it possible to miss most of the morning and evening commute traffic.  I managed to enjoy the coolness of the airport to the nth degree and conked out in one of their soft chairs – an hour prior to boarding.
The next thing I heard was a Southwest agent making a final call for any remaining travelers for my flight.  Raising my head, I noticed I was pretty much sitting alone in the terminal.  I jumped up and ran for the boarding door with the agent asking if I was on that flight to Love Field in Dallas.  She said it was a full flight and there were probably only two middle seats left – what a shock – after being early.
Making my way to the back of the plane where a stewardess beckoned, I looked at the one seat between two heavy weight travelers – a man and a woman.  The gent jumped out into the aisle and offered me the middle seat.  I told him I couldn’t sit there as he was obviously needing half of that middle seat himself.  
“I’ll find another,” I told him.  “I couldn’t do that to you.”
Walking back up the aisle there was another open seat but, like the first, the two sitting on the window and the aisle needed that spill over reserve.  But I took it and opened up my tablet thinking I would get some work done.  Half an hour later the stewardess came to my aisle, leaned over, and said there is a gentleman on the flight who would like to buy you a cocktail.
“Remember the passenger in the back who befriended you?” she asked. “He would be upset if you decline his courtesy.”
“A glass of red wine – maybe merlot,” I said, cautious that I might spill it in flight on my tablet or on myself which I have been known to do in the past.  Sipping it over half an hour, I managed to get it down to about an inch in the plastic cup when I caught the edge of the cup with my little finger, and you guessed it, dumped it on my shirt and the pull-out table.  
The graduation was on Friday at 2 p.m. where we sat in a very large auditorium and watched for grandson Justin to walk onto the stage with his class of 528 graduates and introduced early on by the principal to give the student body president address.   
Justin has been accepted at Oklahoma State University and plans to major in Political Science hoping to land a spot with either the FBI or the Department of Justice.  Always having been aware it is necessary to spark your audience to get them to listen to what you have to say, he stepped to the right of the lectern, dropped to the floor, and did five push-ups.  Standing he said, “Had to get that out of the way first, little nervous up here, you know.”
Then came his theme: “Four years in high school has been like a roller coaster – if it hadn’t been for my faith I would never have made it through to graduation.”
He went on to make the sounds of a roller coaster holding his two hands together mimicking the sounds of the wheels on the track snapping his fingers together and shouting:  “Chi-chi, chi-chi, chi-chi, chi-chi”……and asking the class to join him and they did with the resounding sounds of a roller coaster rolling down the tracks in the massive auditorium.
“Then, you go around the corners, he said with your arms raised high,” and the entire class followed his lead as if they were truly experiencing a roller coaster ride from their seats, holding their arms high and swinging side to side in their seats, still making the clicking sounds of the wheels on the tracks, yelling as they would on a real roller coaster imploding their excitement of graduation on their audience.
As the imaginary roller coaster came to a stop, Justin got into the serious part of his speech having the total attention of his audience.  He immediately thanked those who had come from far and wide to see him graduate including a police officer uncle from San Diego who recently hosted him to a ride along on a nighttime patrol.
Speaking of nighttime patrols, we came upon a Jeep 4x4 rollover on the freeway that wasn’t easily seen.  Son Tim from San Diego was driving and all of a sudden, he yelled out, “We have a rollover.”  Looking over in the right lane there was the underside of the vehicle showing with no lights to help oncoming traffic to see it on its side.  
It was the Kahl three that work together so well in emergencies.  Tim and second oldest son Scott ran to the Jeep on its side and my concern was that oncoming traffic would be unable to see the car and plow into it possibly killing them on the other side trying to get the driver out.  A driver who it was learned later was a DUI from alcohol and marijuana and had an AR-15 loaded in the vehicle.  He kicked the windshield out on his own and wobbled down the edge of the freeway, climbed over the guard rail and fell down the embankment several times before falling face down in a small creek at the bottom of the embankment.  The guys followed him with Scott calling 911.  After about five minutes four black and white police cars arrived on the scene with my one son pointing out the motorist as he attempted to get away from the wreck – apparently knowing he was in trouble.
Police cars came toward him from two directions on a service road near the creek and gave him a new set of silver bracelets and led him off to a waiting police transport unit.
It was probably that loaded assault rifle that had most of us on edge that could have been in the hands of a DUI motorist.  Seems like emergencies just find me before I find them on the highway.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email