Thursday, November 20, 2008
Shiny shiny, shiny shoes of pleather
Yes, those are my shiny shoes. My honor guard shoes, all shined up and ready for action.
I wore them tonight to post colors before the graduation ceremony for our department's latest citizen police academy. We marched out, I barked out commands without any gibberish flowing from my lips like it does in the nightmares, posted the colors, and everyone said the pledge of allegiance. I understand the crowd was impressed.
The last couple of days were filled with honor guard stuff. One of our retired officers, a great cop and a great character, died this week and will be waked and buried this weekend. He retired a few years before I got hired; I worked with both his nephews, and know his son who's a commander in a nearby department. A few years after his retirement he came back to work for our department as a civilian. He worked as a community service officer--one of those guys who come out when you're locked out of your car, or someone's dog won't stop barking. He never really stopped being a cop though.
Back when I was a detective, and he was working as a CSO, he saw someone sitting in a car across the street from a bank and thought the guy looked funny. Not "ha ha" funny, but "hmmm" funny. He walked up to the car to ask the man if he needed help (this was his story, anyway--I think he really walked up to the car because he thought the guy looked suspicious, just like he would've when he was on the job years earlier) and he noticed what appeared to be a fake beard on the passenger seat, with what looked like a gun underneath it.
He backed away from the car and called for a beat car. It was a fake beard, it was a gun, and the man in the car was planning on robbing that bank. A regular person would've driven by that guy sitting in the car and not looked twice. The bad guy gave a full statement, got charged, and ended up going away for a few years.
I once saw a picture of this man from the mid-70's, taken by a reporter during a brawl as he dragged away some hapless mook. He was a badass: stocky and tough. In the time I knew him he was skinnier and older, somewhat stooped and wisened, and loved his smokes and his beer.
Anyway, I'm on vacation starting Thursday, and I can't participate in the honor guard for his wake on Friday. In the three years that my department has had an honor guard this will be the first time I haven't been there to run a detail. It feels strange. When we got done with the citizen police academy tonight I went over the particulars of posting a silent guard at the wake with a couple of officers who'll be doing it on Friday. I did my best to make sure they are prepared, and passed on a list of instructions for the sergeant who'll be running the detail.
The reason I'm on vacation is that this weekend is MizBubs' early Thanksgiving celebration for her brothers and their families. We've done this for a few years now. Everyone assembles here, we end up with about 20 people on Saturday for a big dinner, we hang out all weekend, and then a few of us run in the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot on Sunday morning. It's a good time. We have a heck of a menu planned, too. Maybe I'll write about it later.
So, as of right now, I'm on my own time Jack. It feels good.
I hope all of you have good things planned for this weekend, and are surrounded by people you love.