October 30, 2015
Our second show was at AUTEC (Atlantic Underwater Testing and Experimentation Center)…(Though I call it the Alien and USO/UFO Testing and Experimentation Center, based on the stories we heard about the History Channel’s Documentary.) AUTEC is located on Andros Island in the Bahamas, the largest of 700 islands in the Bahamian grouping, 30 of which are inhabited. We flew into Miami from Tegucigalpa on the 29th and then onto Nassau, where we spent the night. After a lovely walk on the beach and a quick breakfast, we boarded the tiniest plane I’ve ever experienced. There were 6 seats, including the pilot’s; it was basically a car with wings. Our pilot’s name was Captain Bullet and he was a mighty fine pilot indeed. His landing on Andros was like butter. Once we landed at the Andros Town International Airport, our sponsor and escort for the stay, Axel Martinez, came to pick us up.
About the Base: This base is home to about 40-50 military personnel, made up of Navy and Coast Guard. The rest of the people are civilians. They have a medical building, a post office, a boat storage place, a couple places to throw back with a beer or get on the Wi-Fi, and a beach. They had a school, but there weren’t enough kids, so now it’s empty, but was a perfect place for their haunted house.
After meeting the OIC (Officer in Charge), Commander Lopez; checking into our rooms, which had recently been remodeled with tiled showers; and eating lunch, we had some free time. Matt, Steven, and I went over to check out The Thousand Fathoms club, where our performance would take place, to do a sound check, suggest a layout for the seating, and play a little Foosball. Then, the boys and Melinda went down to the beach, while I took a nap and prepped my set for the night.
The Show: The show went well. The line-up was: (1) me, (2) Steven, (3) Matt, and (4) Melinda. The audience filled the large room and was ready to be entertained. Just like the last base, they don’t get a lot of entertainers down there. The OIC introduced us and off we went. Steven tried a couple new bits; both went well, one left him in only his underwear at the end of his set. Matt rocked his crowd work, as usual, and had the audience in stitches. Melinda rocked the stage like a pro and looked sexy as hell in her Sandy from Grease costume.
After the show, we signed autograph cards for those who were interested and did the routine meet and greet with the audience. People were just as appreciative as they were in Honduras. They say thank you over and over again. “People forget about us down here.” “We haven’t had anyone here in a while.” “We really needed to laugh like that.” Again, I had another guy in my arms and in tears, remembering his lost friends. (Something one of the comedians said sparked a memory full of emotion.) He was former army, now a contractor on the base. I made him laugh when I told him he was my first heckler. (He had shouted out that he hated Nebraska because he got pulled over there. I said, “Well, don’t take it out on me, I didn’t pull you over. And if I did, you’d have a very different opinion about Nebraska.” wink.)
It is this gift of laughter that Matt, Melinda, Steven and I bring. This is how we serve the troops. This is how we serve our country. This is how we serve. I do believe that in serving others we complete our purpose here on Earth. It is not the first time I’ve received this message, but it’s definitely a time to reflect on it.
When I look back at all of my happiest memories, moments that have really stuck with me over the years, times when I felt like all is right in the world, it is when I am giving of myself and my gifts and talents. We all have gifts. We all have talents. We all have skills. None of those combinations are exactly the same for ANY of us. We ALL have unique ways in which we can serve…give to our communities, big or small. Everyone. Every single one of us has the power to lift up another. My hope is that more people understand what their contribution is…or can be.
Oh…and then I played Foosball and my team won. I was so happy that I ran and jumped off the stage. I landed on my right foot in a bad way and haven’t been able to put full weight on it. We’ll see how the rest of the tour goes with this lovely addition.
Every day, I strive to…
Be the light I wish to see in the world.