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.


Anonymous said...

I like your sense of duty. It's something that I don't see much in my line of work.

I wish you guys a lovely holiday break and enjoy the Turkey Trot! (Do they make you run down McCormick or Lincoln?)

kim said...

What are you doing for vacation bubsy?

Nice shoes.

SkylersDad said...

I think it is awesome that you are an honor guard. Nothing stirs my soul quite as much as seeing a burial with a guard.

Thanks again for all of your service.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Nick Cave has the best hair in show business, hands down. Eat some turkey for me my friend.

GETkristiLOVE said...

I hope your cop friend died peacefully... sounds like he'll be policing the big place upstairs.

I can't wait to see pictures of your weekend menu!

Randal Graves said...

Enjoy the bird, the trimmings, the football, the alligators and the clowns. And the time away from the tubes!

Mob said...

Enjoy your time off sir, you've earned it.

Hope the family feed goes well.

Gifted Typist said...

Not "ha ha" funny, but "hmmm" funny.

That is brilliant. I'm so glad there are cops like you out there, Bubs.

FranIAm said...

Bubs- you amaze me. This is a beautiful post my friend.

Your sense of honor and duty is admirable and very touching.

Have a great Thanksgiving! Sounds like fun.

And Nick Cave. Nick Freakin' Cave. I love that Bubs. Wow.

Doc said...

I'm always saddened to hear of the passing of one of the "good guys", regardless of their profession. It seems as if new ones don't arrive as quickly as the old one pass on.

I hope you and the family have a grand time, you eat well, and the bourbon goes down smooth.


Megan said...

I wish my thanksgiving started this weekend!

Not going to say have fun because I can already tell you will.

I love Nick Cave.

justacoolcat said...

What a story. Cops really do have some sort of freakish criminal radar.

I hope you're having a good vacation.

Anonymous said...

Here's to all the people that just go out and do their jobs. Happy Thanksgiving to the Bubs Clan.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Ah, your post has reminded me of my favorite Pogues song ever:

Did you work upon the railroad?
Did you rid the streets of crime?
Were your dollars from the White House?
Were they from the five and dime?

I am thankful for my friends like you, Bubs.

Must go YouTube now.

Dale said...

A lovely post Bubs and capped off Nick and Shane, loverly. I haven't heard/seen their version of the song before. Enjoy the vacation.

Grant Miller said...

Awesome VU reference in the title!