Scuba Teacher-My Special Forces Operative
We all have had our little
brushes with people who are famous. They make great stories, make
people envious and somehow help to propel us slightly up that ladder
of social status. I used to have to drop names but since becoming
editor of The Carrboro News, things are being reversed. For instance,
Scott Parazynski(NASA Astronaut), Rony Seikaly(NBA player), Greg
Kinnear(Movie Star) and Parthenon Huxley, AKA Richard Miller(Rock
Star), are all graduates of my high school and have started using
that connection to me lately to try to get another flight, another
contract, another movie or another gig. My times have changed...
But there was a time
way back in the 80's when I was a young lad just barely out of college.
My girlfriend wanted to take scuba lessons and so we signed up at
the Mid-Hudson Scuba Shop in Poughkeepsie NY(Actually, the shop
opened after we completed the course but at the time we were taking
the course my instructors- were free lancing-remember those words.
I don't remember a lot
about the course. Only that my instructors were PADI certified,
kind of wild and liked to drink a lot of alchohol. They had been
in the special forces and had left their affiliation with the Navy
Seals. Both of them were nice guys...but... I always had the sense
that would be true as long as they liked you(and taking a course
with them helped them to like me). The course ended, and I used
my scuba skills once in the last 29 years-to set a mooring in The
Bahamas in the early 90's.
Sometime in the 80's
I heard that my teachers had stolen a one(or maybe two) man submarine
from West Point Army Academy, located on the Hudson River. I recall
that I wasn't surprised as it seemed like something these guys would
do. I could sense an incredible amount of energy and adventure bursting
out of these guys.
Another 15 years passed
and I don't think much of Keith and Ira until I was listening to
the news and heard that a man was arrested in Afghanistan for setting
up a little private prison in his house. He claimed to be an independent(free
lance?) contractor and was working with the CIA to help collect
terrorists and hang them upside down in his house in hopes of getting
information. According to Jonathan, he was in constant contact with
the State Department, but they denied it. So he was on his own.
It was only when they
mentioned his name Jonathan K Idema that rang a bell. They called
him Jonathan K. Idema, but we knew him as Keith. I thought to myself
how many Idema's can there be in the Special Forces who lived in
upstate New York. I wondered if this was the same guy... I went
home and went through my little storage boxes where I keep all the
old licenses of my employees to see
if I could find my PADI scuba license. After rummaging around I
found it and sure enough it said "trained by Jonathan Keith
Idema". Had this happened 20 years ago, I would have been writing
about it in newspapers and telling everyone the story, but since
I became affiliated with The Carrboro News this celebrity aquaintance
thing has become old hat so there's no need to write abotu it. I
think I can add Jonathan Keith Idema to the list of people that
will be telling his acquaintances that "he taught Mark Bowman,
of The Carrboro News, how to scuba dive".