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08-01-12, 10:53 AM #21
I have shared these reflections before, but it feels good to recall them, so here goes...
I vividly remember polishing my dad's black wingtips, (he called them "brogues"), knowing that they had to be spotless to be acceptable. When I'd see him sling his gold cup in his leather shoulder holster and cover it neatly under a dark pinstripe suitcoat, I knew he was without a doubt the baddest SOB I'd ever meet. He kept his "state car", a tan unmarked Pontiac, spotless too. As many times as I had ridden in it, I knew better than to ever play with the "kojak" teardrop light he kept tucked under the seat, let alone the .45 Tommy he had in a wool-padded suede case in the trunk.
When my older brother came to live with us a while during a messy divorce, I'd sneak outside at night on his offdays and listen to the radio in his marked squad, a Malibu with Smith and Wesson barlights. One night I fell asleep in that car, and got chewed pretty harshly by Dad while my brother shook his head and tried hard not to smile behind him.
"I don't give a rat's ass what you wanna do in life, so long as you're not a goddamn cop...", Dad used to say. I remember hearing those words echoing in my head on graduation day from the academy. "Damn, damn, damn..." I bet the angels dashed behind clouds for cover that day.
My dad and my brother were almost total opposites of one another. Dad was gruff, harsh, and blunt. He spoke little, generally, (unless he was displeased with the kids and no one else was around), but when he spoke, it was like claps of thunder in the young ears of a kid who literally idolized him. My brother was much more open, much more gracious. He had absolutely no problem telling you how he felt and had mastered "street talk", but he was also much more gregarious and friendly. He took after his mom in that regard.
Both were large, solid men. Dad was meticulous about his appearance, his older son was meticulous about his people skills. Where Dad was my idol, my brother was my hero. Both had shed blood, and let blood on the street, and both gave freely of themselves to those who didn't even know them. Both left safety, comfort, and even family behind when it came time to handle business. Both truly loved people, loved peace enough to fight for it, and both died far too young as a result of their heart simply not bearing the strain of such a lifestyle. Both were buried with a badge on them, because both held a high regard for the honor it took to support the offices they held.
As I prepare for each shift, I ask God that he keep the lessons of these men close in my mind. I live to be the men that they were, and to meet them again. I believe they still work the streets, just now those streets aren't gravel or asphalt, they aren't as dangerous, and there's a lot less work to do.
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly. - Lovelace
The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.
08-01-12, 06:31 PM #22
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