Nervously I waited the full week for the computer tech to come and see what in the world was wrong with my printer (see my post called “Me & Murphy’s Law”) and yesterday was finally the day. As he came in the door, I heard the tech immediately ask my husband if he remembered him. My husband didn’t, but I did. This young man turned out to be one of a set of twins that we watched grow up over the years and what still stands out in this young man’s mind was the night my husband, then the chief of police, chased him with his patrol car. That’s not an unusual experience with those who’ve grown up in our town because my husband was the chief here for 22 years, the longest tenure of any chief of police in the town’s history. He retired 9 years ago and we are about to hire the fourth consecutive chief since he left the department, which was also the pattern before he became chief. So, as he says, he has raised a lot of kids during those 22 years.
Almost everyone has their own story to tell about such events, including our daughter-in-law who remembers the night she hid in an alley in her Jeep when my husband was after her for several bursts of speeding. To her stunned surprise, he knew exactly where she was hiding, but decided to take a different tact and simply drove on past, giving her a sigh of relief. What she didn’t know was that he went straight to her father, who was the mayor at the time, and told him that his younger daughter drove around town like she was Mario Andretti. She still laughs and brings this up at almost all family events, even to this day. But now that she’s grown and a a parent herself, she thinks it’s a pretty innovative and effective way to solve the problem.
Another funny story along those lines was the husband of the gal who owns the posh beauty salon here in our little town. When he was about 16 years old, plus or minus a year or two, my husband stopped him for speeding. He proceeded to “inform” my husband, among other interesting comments, that he paid his salary. My husband didn’t flinch and instead calmly said, “Yes, and I’ve been meaning to thank you for the great ride!” For whatever reason, since that time, he and my husband have been nothing but the best of friends.
And then there’s the story of my own son and his dirt bike. It’s illegal to ride dirt bikes in our town, unless they are street legal, licensed and have specific equipment. However, my son and a group of guys took a chance and rode on the dirt roads that went through Box Canon Park, hoping to merely make it into the county on the other side of the park and then head up into the mountains. When they passed the ticket window at Box Canon Falls, the clerk decided to call the police and guess who was on duty…my husband/my son’s stepfather. Hubby didn’t catch them before they got out of the city limits because they had a head start, but he did catch them when they came back. They all had helmets on and you absolutely cannot see faces through those things, so he just wrote all of them individual tickets. After all, a city employee had summoned him to complain and he couldn’t just ignore them. When I discovered that my son was among the group, I asked my husband to tear up his ticket and he refused. I was really upset, but my husband told me again that he was not going to tear up my son’s ticket because it wouldn’t be fair to the other guys, but I could pay it, if I wanted to. Okay, I thought I had my answer and was going to do just that and then it occurred to me that it would be insulting to my husband for me to do that. I would be condemning his authority and that just wasn’t right. So, I let it go. However, from that day until my husband retired, the first thing he said to everybody he stopped on a dirt bike was, “Okay, everybody take your helmets off.”
Imagine the surprise for my stepson, who has the same name as his father, the day he parked his car inside a busy crosswalk to dash inside a store for a Coke. He came out to find a parking ticket waiting under his windshield wiper blade, written by his own father. People seemed really puzzled when the newspaper’s Police Report revealed that my husband had, apparently, written a ticket to himself. They only knew my stepson by his nickname.
I’ll bet you that none of the kids who locked horns with the mean old police chief back then ever thought that they’d look back and laugh with him about the escapades of their youth after a few years had passed and they matured into successful and wonderful adults.