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Thread: Daily Bread

  1. #141
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    It’s dark. You have a heavy five cell maglight to illuminate immediately in front of you. Otherwise no porch light. The fact that no dogs are barking simplifies things. It’s common for people to open the door and release their less than friendly dogs out first. You’ve learned to be close enough to the door to lean on it or place your foot against the bottom preventing this from happening. Then you tell the owner to secure their dog. Unfortunately youve destroyed two dogs that have attacked you in the past. This time no such problem. The maglight doubles as a blunt instrument with which to defend yourself. It’s in your left hand, gun in your right. You search to identify everything as quickly as possible.

    The man who exits has a cigarette in his hand and is drunk. In the background you flash your light and can see into the living room. A television is on, beer cans are tossed haphazardly on the floor and their is a familiar stench. Everything seems about right. You holster your gun and begin sorting things out on the porch.

    By his account, the man was outside with a rifle, a .22 caliber Marlin 25N bolt action small game firearm. A common possession. He produces it from just inside the door of the trailer. You ask to have the bolt opened. A live round jumps out of the breach, bounces across the porch and comes to rest in the corner. For the first time you see two empty casings in the same general vicinity. He tells you that he has been shooting at skunks from his porch. From this point on everything works out to be routine. Discharging a rifle in a crowded trailer court at night while intoxicated is about par for the course. The man gets a summons for disorderly conduct and you leave.

    This is the way most interactions happen. Give or take some aggressive behavior, a tense stand-off with a belligerent drunk or a downright nasty criminal resisting arrest. You learn to apply the right amount of force to overcome the resistance you are faced with. But every minute of every hour of every day while on duty you carry a reminder in your holster that not all people will hesitate to use deadly force against you to keep you from doing your job. And when you or other officers are placed in the situation that forces you to apply deadly force, it is a lesson not ever forgotten. To take a life in the performance of your duty sets into motion a whirlwind of emotion and a replaying of events over and over. To have someone attempt to take your life forces you to examine your life and all that led up to the moment. Thankfully, routine defines most of your days and these types of challenges are few and far between.

    You finish up the end of your shift. Mostly glad to have survived riding with a partner you’d rather have called in sick. You stay long enough to submit the paperwork required and before leaving....stuff a snickers bar wrapper in his mailbox.

  2. #142
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    WS: reading your stories reminded me of something that happened in 1980. WE lived on a short, dead end street with only 4 homes. It was dark and I was going somewhere while my DH was home with the kids. I pulled up to turn left which always took a while because the road was busy and I see a man all dressed up wearing a trench coat probably about 40-50 yo. He was talking to a girl about 12 and she was crying. It was winter. He was driving a small car. The more I look at the girls face who looks scared the more I become uneasy about the situation. So I back up and watch. At one point he keeps moving towards her and she is backing up. I was driving a big old truck. I back up some more and point it right at the guy. He comes over and flashes a badge, says he is a cop and said he saw the girl in distress and wanted to give her a ride home. I tell him to leave and I will give her a ride home. He says no and I say if you go near her I will run you over, call the cops myself and let them figure it out. He left and I gave the girl a ride home. In retrospect if he was a real cop I would imagine he would have called for back up to deal with me.

  3. #143
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    WS: reading your stories reminded me of something that happened in 1980. WE lived on a short, dead end street with only 4 homes. It was dark and I was going somewhere while my DH was home with the kids. I pulled up to turn left which always took a while because the road was busy and I see a man all dressed up wearing a trench coat probably about 40-50 yo. He was talking to a girl about 12 and she was crying. It was winter. He was driving a small car. The more I look at the girls face who looks scared the more I become uneasy about the situation. So I back up and watch. At one point he keeps moving towards her and she is backing up. I was driving a big old truck. I back up some more and point it right at the guy. He comes over and flashes a badge, says he is a cop and said he saw the girl in distress and wanted to give her a ride home. I tell him to leave and I will give her a ride home. He says no and I say if you go near her I will run you over, call the cops myself and let them figure it out. He left and I gave the girl a ride home. In retrospect if he was a real cop I would imagine he would have called for back up to deal with me.
    It’s an interesting story with lots of unanswered questions.

    What was a 12 year old doing out on a dark night in winter along a busy road? And how did she get there? And why was she crying?

    It is unusual to see a police officer driving a smaller car. Did he have photo identification that showed the proper jurisdiction?

    Many police departments have a policy that prohibits transporting minors without a partner unless it is an emergency.

    His response to your threat is not typical of a sworn officer. Unless he knew he was on thin ice to begin with and just figured it best to get out of there.

    Did you ask the girl whta was going on and did she settle down once you got her in your truck?

    And who did you deliver the girl to and what did they say?

    Strange situation.....you don’t scare easy do you?

  4. #144
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    I am usually a chicken except for when it comes to kids. I took her home to her parents. She was fine when she got in my truck. As a SW I did not want to say anything to get the girl in trouble with her parents because experience had taught me that many kids had volatile home lives. It gets dark in WI early in the winter but it was about 7 pm. The town had a pop of 60k and my kids and their friends were free to walk to friends houses at that age at that time of night. I remember him wanting me to roll down my window and I only did enough to hear him but not enough for him to touch me. He had a badge and a photo ID but my adrenaline was running high and I wasn't trying to compare the pic to his. The car really bothered me because it was small and not very new. It did not feel right. This happened 37 years ago and I had totally forgotten about it until reading your stories.

  5. #145
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    WARNING: This is not an uplifting meditation.

    Only recently has Halloween become nothing to me. But in the past, it was very important for a couple of different reasons.

    I dont know how such a strictly religious family , in a legal sense that is, came to embrace the celebration of Halloween? I say, legal sense, because in retrospect our “spirituality” was manifest in following pious rules and dos or donts. Many of these rules had no bearing on our love of fellow man or caring for the world at large. It had more to do with who enjoys eternal bliss in heaven and who burns in hell forever.

    Even to a child it is clear that the Halloween celebration has something to do with evil spirits, mischief and pranks. But mostly, it had to do with candy. My mother would invest many hours developing costumes for my brother and I. We would roam the neighborhood at night to go door to door and bring back pillowcases of large candy bars. The small plastic orange pumpkin container of today would have been scoffed at. The tiny bite sized candy bars would have been worthy of a trick which most often was the soaking of Windows with a bar of ivory. Afterward we would pile into my dads car and visit all the relatives.......and get loads more candy bars.

    My mother and dad would remain at home with their porch light on. Inside, a cache of candy bars to give out. Our front door was a combination of a heavy wooden door inside and a heavy aluminum screen door outside. A knock on the screen door had a familiar bang and clang to it. Each Halloweener was invited to step inside and an attempt to identify each neighbor followed. My dad particularly enjoyed guessing identities. This was sometimes difficult given the plastic masks held on the head by elastic.

    One neighbor in particular refused to be home on Halloween night. The lights were always off. The soap always there on the windows in the morning. And we enjoyed walking acrossed his grass on that night. Something we could never do during the day. The pumpkins in the neighborhood would be smashed on the road.

    When I became a father myself, I did the same thing. I dressed my kids up and went out collecting candy bars with them. We attended the Halloween parade. I did this every year without fail. In a box of photographs I pour through pictures of kids dressed up as Barney, a pencil, a fairy, Sam I Am with green eggs and ham. For several years, my midnight partners would bring their kids over and we would go out for trick or treat, while the moms stayed passing out candy and sipping hot chocolate. Those kids are now, tool and die makers, teachers, accountants, surgeons, nurses and entrepreneurs.

    It was always a dicotomy between everything a child loved....dressing up for free candy and everything they feared....ghosts, gouls, and goblins. I never enjoyed horror movies or Halloween parties. And I never resolved my mixed feelings about the celebration.

    During my career, a terrible kidnapping, rape and murder of a child occurred on Halloween night. It turned into a cold case that took more than a decade to resolve. I suppose that experience has formed my slanted feelings against the holiday. Perhaps, I might even loathe it. Although, the picture I got today of my grandchild dressed in a Disney outfit for trick or treat does warm my heart. Bottom two teeth missing in her Montana sized smile.

    On trick or treat night, the wife and I went out for dinner and left the lights off. No one came for candy, and none of the windows were soaped. I suppose I’m disappointed equally about both of those things.

    This is a link to the Cold Case Files documentary ....it is not uplifting by most standards but there was closure. Viewer discretion advised.

    http://crimedocumentary.com/shauna-h...irl-lost-2017/

  6. #146
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    The thread started by CathyA on Walmart’s artificial Christmas tree display got me thinking......I didn’t want to trash up her posting...so :

    *******

    I have an ambivalent attitude toward Christmas trees. My childhood recollections are nostalgic. I get a warm fuzzy feeling thinking about those times. I can see the real blue spruce my dad would cut down laying on top of his brown Rambler station wagon, tied down with a clothesline. I can vividly see the hack saw he used clutched in his gloved hand. I can smell the pitch of the pine feel it’s stickiness between my thumb and index finger and see the wasted wood chips. And I can feel the prickle of the needles when touched.

    I know that my mother loved those strings of aluminum called icicles. She loved them a lot. I feel the weight of the giant sized blue, red, orange and green light bulbs draped over the limbs. Oh and the occasional clear one too. I can hear the hum of the Lionel train set circling the base, each time around a man in his milk car would crash through a door and throw little replicas of metal milk cans onto a dock. Yeah, I love me a good old fashioned real tree display, but I don’t have one in my place.

    Somewhere in the late sixties my aunt bought and displayed an aluminum tree. It was a shiny monstrosity. She was pretty proud of it. That ruined Christmas for me. Soon afterward, dad had to have one of those plastic pvc type Christmas tress. It was going to save us money, save us time cleaning up needles, and he touted it as environmentally friendly. “Save the trees,”he declared. Funny, I never knew him to be much concerned with trees or anything in the outdoors for that matter before.

    I hated the look, the feel and the smell of that tree. I vowed never to have an artificial tree in my house...if I ever had a house of my own. My first real tree was in my room at the fraternity in college. Okay, I admit, I didn’t buy it. I stole it. A buddy of mine and I drove out to a strip mine and browsed the aisles. Saw in hand, just like my dad, I cut down what I thought would be the perfect size for the corner of my room. We had a devil of a time squeezing that thing in the back seat of the car and a harder time getting it out.

    When we finally forced it upstairs into the room, there was hardly space to maneuver around it. And it was two feet too high. We managed to get that thing stuffed in the corner and decorated it with beer cans......empty ones. My new girlfriend, now my wife, never said much about it but I imagine she was second guessing the relationship already.

    When I did get my first house, a wife and a family....I had real trees. Used to get my trees from an old drunk down the road that inherited a Christmas tree farm. Every year the trees got bigger but there’s no way he could have gotten drunker. He did pass out coloring books and crayons to the kids though. All these real trees were lovingly placed in a stand in the living room. And I had all the hassle and mess that went with it. On New Years Day or soon thereafter, I hauled the trees out to the local lake and tossed them in for fish cover. I don’t know when it happened, but a switch went off. I no longer wanted to have real trees.

    One year, we travelled to the local artificial tree outlet and I declared to the family, “We need to save the trees!” I bought a plastic pvc lead infused artificial horror show Chinese Christmas tree and erected it in my living room. I immediately hated it. But I never went back to the blue spruce. In fact, every year after and every subsequent purchase of a replacement tree....I bought a smaller rendition. Until finally, I told the wife, we just need one of these little skinny things.

    The child in me still craves all the Christmas trappings I grew up with. I have saved a few relics from that era. An ornament or two, a train transformer, a baby Jesus that tops the tree, and a old rusted hack saw that has seen better days. The earlier commencement of Christmas strictly for economic reasons has dampened my enjoyment of the season. But I still like to pick up that old rusted hack saw in the garage come early December.

  7. #147
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    Oh Christmas Trees.
    I grew up on a Christmas Tree farm. My first paid gig was helping with the trees: planting in spring, trimming sappy pokey bee-ridden in the heat of summer, selling in the cold of winter (back when Missouri was cold all November/December).
    I felt I really betrayed my upbringing the first time I brought an artificial tree into my home (son is allergic). It was more of a betrayal when I realized my parents bought a fake a few years later.
    Most of the small scale tree farms are gone...seriously it's too much work in the heat of summer.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  8. #148
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float On View Post
    Oh Christmas Trees.
    I grew up on a Christmas Tree farm. My first paid gig was helping with the trees: planting in spring, trimming sappy pokey bee-ridden in the heat of summer, selling in the cold of winter (back when Missouri was cold all November/December).
    I felt I really betrayed my upbringing the first time I brought an artificial tree into my home (son is allergic). It was more of a betrayal when I realized my parents bought a fake a few years later.
    Most of the small scale tree farms are gone...seriously it's too much work in the heat of summer.
    My kids realize I have this affinity for American made products. What could have more provenance than a tree rooted in the ground before your very eyes? Yet, my guess is the box in my attic that stores that plastic THING....probably says, Made in China. So....I and others like me are responsible for the disappearance of the small scale tree farms you grew up on, and I am truly sorry that your homestead was replaced by a seasonal corner of WalMart. You have a treasure trove of memories. Sometimes I would like to ask my kids what memories they have. I think that would be interesting. You have to have laughed at some of the people stuffing those things in their cars and tieing them onto the roofs of VW rabbits.....

  9. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    You have to have laughed at some of the people stuffing those things in their cars and tieing them onto the roofs of VW rabbits.....
    You learned a lot of private details of a person's life when they bought a tree. Why someone wants to stand in 33 degree weather and tell you their whole life history like you are their best friend?
    Trees look smaller in a field of trees than in the house. Yes the overbuying for size of car was often comical. They also thought they could just each hold an arm out the window and 'hold'er steady' (same 33 degree weather). We were 6 miles out of town then a mile down a country road.
    People do not come prepared with rope. Thankfully we were well stocked.
    We had to tell them they had to cut it themselves...and here is how you use a saw. Please return the saw. Mom bought every saw she came across at yard sales....some she thinks she bought the same saws people carried off.
    People assumed they could cross the fence into the bull pen (though there were no trees across that fence).
    People assumed they could sit their kids on my barrel racing horse and on my crazy thoroughbred or the companion pony (again...no trees in that field).
    People assumed their kids could run wild or could walk into our house without knocking.
    People assumed the ponds were frozen over and their kids could skate around.
    People assumed they could bring their dogs to 'run in the country a bit'.
    I'm sure a few people packed home critters they didn't intend to take home. Would of loved to see that.

    A man in town who owned the largest business would have us deliver 'the biggest tree you've got 15' minimum'. He had a glass atrium on the backside of his house (mansion) with 25' ceiling. He'd have the tree set in the middle of the room and professionally decorated. He'd invite us ever year to come see it before his big company party. It was stunning and magical. It was worth it.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  10. #150
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float On View Post
    You learned a lot of private details of a person's life when they bought a tree. Why someone wants to stand in 33 degree weather and tell you their whole life history like you are their best friend?
    Trees look smaller in a field of trees than in the house. Yes the overbuying for size of car was often comical. They also thought they could just each hold an arm out the window and 'hold'er steady' (same 33 degree weather). We were 6 miles out of town then a mile down a country road.
    People do not come prepared with rope. Thankfully we were well stocked.
    We had to tell them they had to cut it themselves...and here is how you use a saw. Please return the saw. Mom bought every saw she came across at yard sales....some she thinks she bought the same saws people carried off.
    People assumed they could cross the fence into the bull pen (though there were no trees across that fence).
    People assumed they could sit their kids on my barrel racing horse and on my crazy thoroughbred or the companion pony (again...no trees in that field).
    People assumed their kids could run wild or could walk into our house without knocking.
    People assumed the ponds were frozen over and their kids could skate around.
    People assumed they could bring their dogs to 'run in the country a bit'.
    I'm sure a few people packed home critters they didn't intend to take home. Would of loved to see that.

    A man in town who owned the largest business would have us deliver 'the biggest tree you've got 15' minimum'. He had a glass atrium on the backside of his house (mansion) with 25' ceiling. He'd have the tree set in the middle of the room and professionally decorated. He'd invite us ever year to come see it before his big company party. It was stunning and magical. It was worth it.
    The quip about repurchasing her own saws.......made me actually laugh out loud! Thank you for that. Memories. They are wonderful.

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