Book: Patrolling the Heart of the West

True Tales of a Nevada State Trooper

by Steve Raabe

Patrolling the Heart of the West: True Tales of a Nevada State Trooper by [Raabe, Steve]

Every now and again I finish a book and think, “Everyone should read this!” That was my reaction yesterday when I finished the final chapter in Trooper Steve Raabe’s accounts of incidents in his life patrolling the highways in Nevada.

Five Stars from me! I found the writer’s on-the-job tales informative as well as interesting and well told. I think every American — and motorists everywhere — should read this book to get a clearer picture of what the job entails for the man behind the badge, the officer who pulls them over to warn them about that missing tail light, hand them a citation for speeding, or order them to buckle up.

I learned something myself in regard to an experience I once had in the States, when I came up to, and finally passed a patrol car going about 10mph below speed limit. Officer Raabe explains why this is a practice among patrolmen, how it’s helpful for spotting problems, like expired license plates and shifty-looking drivers. 🙂

Raabe shares his memories with compassion and a delightful humor. I appreciate that he hasn’t sensationalized or gone into gruesome details of accidents. He tells a few stories about speeders who paid the price, and of needless deaths because the driver and/or passenger wasn’t/weren’t buckled in. Yet he doesn’t come across in a preachy tone.

In addition to the on-the-road threat of armed-and-dangerous criminals, department favoritism or hostilities can sometimes make a cop’s job miserable. In one chapter we read how, sadly, even in the police force, administrative high-handed interference and imprudence can derail a promising career.

I think this book would be useful in driver training classes, a great asset for fostering understanding and compassion between police and beginning drivers. While the writing is overall quite clean, there are a few places where the author repeats the exact words spoken to him.

What Goes Around…

Like Calls to Like

by Edgar Guest

If you walk as a friend you will find a friend
wherever you choose to fare,
if you go with mirth to a far, strange land
you will find that mirth is there.
For the strangest part of this queer old world
is that like will join with like,
and who walks with love for his fellow men
an answering love will strike.

Here each of us builds his little world,
and chooses its people, too;
though millions trample the face of earth,
each life touches but the few.
And the joy you’ll find as you venture forth
your fortune or fame to make,
lies not in some stranger’s power to say,
for it’s all in the joy you take.

If you walk in honor then honest men
will meet you along the way,
but if you be false you will find men false,
wherever you chance to stray.
For good breeds good and the bad breeds bad;
we are met by the traits we show.
Love will find a friend at the stranger’s door
where hate would find a foe.

For each of us builds the world he knows,
which only himself can spoil,
and an hour of hate or an hour of shame
can ruin a life of toil.
And though to the farthermost ends of earth
your duty may bid you fare
if you walk with truth in your heart as a friend,
you will find friends waiting there.

From The Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co

Gettin’ Old

by Edgar Guest

Gettin old’s not hard, I say,
if it’s done the proper way;
when you’re finding’ out how much
joy is in the common touch,
learnin’ from experience
and the book of common sense
that a man, whoe’er he be,
richly dressed or poor to see,
really’s tryin’ hard to do
just about the same as you;
when you’ve found the worth of gold,
then you’re glad you’re gettin’ old.

When you’ve come along the years
with their smiles and bitter tears,
and have seen through clearer eyes
many things you used to prize
lose their value, and you know
much you didn’t long ago;
when you’ve learned that creed and birth
are not real stamps of worth,
and you’ve scraped through the veneer
of the sham and pomp down here
to tell the truth you want to hold,
then you’re glad you’re gettin’ old.

When you’ve come at last to find
joy is born of bein’ kind;
when you’re learned to disbelieve
tales which make another grieve
and to them you shut your ear;
when you are not quick to sneer
and have turned from selfish strife
to the gentler ways of life,
in your wisdom finding out
things you never dreamed about
in your youthful way days and bold —
then you’re glad you’re getting old.

Gettin’ old’s not hard, I say,
if it’s done the proper way,
youth is made with haste and blind
to the peace which old men find,
but when you have traveled far,
come to know men as they are,
when you’ve learned through hurts and aches
all the errors hot youth makes
and have found the lasting worth
of the simpler joys of earth;
when life’s purposes unfold,
then you’re glad you’re gettin’ old.

Failures

Wise words from Edgar A Guest

‘Tis better to have tried in vain
sincerely striving for a goal,
than to have lived upon the plain
an idle and a timid soul.

‘Tis better to have fought and spent
your courage, missing all applause,
than to have lived in smug content
and never ventured for a cause.

For he who tries and fails may be
the founder of a better day;
though never his the victory,
from him shall others learn the way.

From his book A Heap O’ Livin