Posted by: lylescott89 | March 26, 2014

The Possum Trip: Part IV The Final Chapter


In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida Baby!

Hey kids,

The next morning was our final one on the bus. I don’t think we were awoken to any music because the trip was essentially over; all that was left was the drive back to Illinois. There would be no mountain climbing (thank goodness), no beach, no Disney and essentially nothing to do other than sitting and waiting.

We stopped somewhere for breakfast while the guides converted the bus back from night travel to a regular bus. I have to think that this was not a fun task, but they were being paid to do it so I really did not think twice about it. It had been 24 hours since any of us took a shower, everyone had bed head and we genuinely smelled bad. When we finished breakfast and got back on the bus the smell of 25+ humans in a combined space was a bit overwhelming and we still had many hours ahead of us.

I boarded the bus and took a seat. No one sat next to me which was fairly typical, but I was okay with that. I had thinking to do. As we traveled the bus was quiet. Apparently everything that could be discussed already was discussed and the haul home was going to be grueling. And then it happened…someone got the bright idea to whip out a guitar and lead us all in a sing-a-long. I was trapped in a torture chamber with no escape.

Guitar guy asked for suggestions and the standard fare of youth group Jesus songs were sung. I suggested In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, but that suggestion was met with the kind of stares that are normally reserved for guy who is about to be mauled by a bear. I explained that the original title of the song was In the Garden of Eden and when Iron Butterfly recorded it the lead singer was so drunk he slurred the words, thus making it a pseudo Christian song. More stares, followed by a chorus of Amazing Grace. I sat back in my chair and pouted. I’m not sure if I can do it anymore, but 30 years ago I made an excellent pouty face.  I hated singing these songs because for one, I did not know the words and secondly, they were simplistic & repetitive.  I wanted rock & roll and I was repeatedly told that it was bad for me.  I didn’t buy that argument then and I do not now.

Brad & the mysterious cute girl

Brad & the mysterious cute girl

There was also a girl on the bus that I barely knew and I thought she was kind of cute. Fortunately for you kids the only picture I have been able to find from that trip is one of her sitting next to Brad. I saw her sitting alone and then used my smooth moves to strike up a conversation. We talked for a little while and we discussed my desire to return to Florida to live. She said I should go for it and gave me some nice encouragement. I thought I was getting somewhere with her when I started feeling some pain in the back of my throat. This was followed by sneezing and some serious post-nasal drip. Man do I know how to impress a girl or what? Shortly after I started feeling much worse and made my way to sit quietly in the back of the bus. I was sick and I knew it. Some idiot had been a carrier of this cold and shared it with me and me alone. I grabbed a blanket and started counting the miles until we got home. I did not think it could get any worse. Well…

We stopped somewhere along the road for what appeared to be no reason whatsoever and the guides asked us all to get off the bus. My first thought was that they were going to kill us all and take off. Then I realized that was silly and figured they were just going to leave us stranded in the woods. Wrong again sick boy. We all went to this meadow and they asked us all to sit in a circle because they were going to lead a church service. I’m sick and I want to go home, yet I am sitting in the woods with crazy people. Just great. The leader of the guides led us in some songs and had us hold hands (which was very difficult for me with my incessant sneezing) then he grabbed a loaf of bread and a big 32 oz. cup and filled it with grape juice. He announced it was time for communion. Oh dear God, why? He asked everyone to take a hunk of bread and then we’d all drink from the same cup. GROSS! I took my bread, but I attempted to pass the grape juice because I did not want it after a bunch of people already drank from it and with half the group still left to drink I did not want to contaminate it with my germs. Fearless leader spoke up and told me to drink. I felt like I was being initiated into some bizarre, Jim Jones cult. I raised the cup to my mouth and pretended to put my mouth on it and drink before passing it to the poor schlep next to me. We then went back to the bus.

I spent the rest of the trip wrapped in a blanket in the back of the bus. We stopped again for something to eat, but I just

Psychedelic Bus

Maybe this bus would’ve been more fun

got something to drink. I was not hungry. I was weak, sick and tired. I was not in a good mood. We finally arrived at our destination and I was able to escape the clutches of the crazy guides. Someone mentioned that we should tip the crew, but I had no intention of doing so.

Was it a good trip? In some ways yes, but in many ways no. I really enjoyed my day at the beach and my day at WDW and I know I had some good meals along the way, but I also saw the trip as the beginning of the end. I had some really good friends on the bus and while some of them have remained friends for all these years many of them have kind of faded away. For the record, I probably could not name more than 10 people on that bus with me. I certainly can’t name the cute girl I sneezed on. I saw the trip then, and much more so later, as a real turning point. I spent a lot of time in self-contemplation on the last legs of the ride and more so when I got home. Not that it helped me in any way, but at least I did it, right? Actually it did help me, just not necessarily right away.  It took me a long time to realize that what other people thought of me did not matter as long as I was happy with who I am. Eventually I realized that I had to be honest with myself as well as others and to stop trying to change myself to please people. I am who I am and if people cannot accept that, well, I’m sorry. Not my problem.

Now please do not take this the wrong way, but as we traveled I saw people getting more and more dedicated to and excited about Jesus and I just was not there at the time. I did not see Christianity as a lifestyle as much as I saw it as a way to spend time with good friends. Eventually I realized that I did not fit into the cookie cutter Christianity that I had been taught.  It was much more complicated and yet more simple than I realized.  I know that makes no sense so just go with it please.  The trip was a somewhat indoctrination into a place where I did not see myself.  A place where people were judged and condemned.  A place in which science and reasoning did not fit.  I have and pretty much always will see myself as fairly intellectual and I had questions.  “Because it says so in the bible” was not an acceptable answer for me.


A Gondola from Avanti’s is the thing I miss the most from Illinois

I was also a bit hurt that for the next few days when I was fighting off my cold no one bothered to call or check on me to make sure I was okay. It was just a cold, I know, but after spending all that time smelling and breathing on each other you’d think my health was a concern to someone.  Anyone.

A few weeks after the journey I received a letter in the mail from the company that ran the trips. It was a letter written about our journey by the guides. It was a recap of sorts and as I read it I got to the part about climbing the mountain. I was specifically mentioned and was the butt of their jokes about how not to climb a mountain and how they fooled me into thinking there were beverages at the top. I threw the letter in the trash.




  1. I have enjoyed this journey with you. Just like a true “Christian” to make anyone a butt of any joke (hypocritical???). Remember, you were raised by a Jewish mother, surely that plays part in your religious beliefs. Everyone deserves the right to their own beliefs, religious or not, and should respect those of everyone else in return (which I know you do). I too miss the Avanti Gondola, but not as much as I miss Zoe and family.

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