“Another one asked about the gates, sir. Some old lady from Canada this time.”
“Well, what can they know about history and culture? Living in igloos, running about on dogsleds half the year. EH?”
“Piddly little, I suppose. Gets tiresome, though.”
“True, but they’re paying £25 each to see the place. Our bread and butter, if you will. Stiff upper lip, Witherham. Fall is coming.”
“I’ll do my best, sir. But if I hear one more, ‘Why don’t you paint the other one?’ I may go off my nut. Say, could I perhaps trade with Franks? I’ve always wanted a crack at being the manor ghost.”
“Then you’ll hear a steady stream of ‘Who’s under that sheet?’ and ‘I don’t believe in ghosts.’ Tourists are impossible to satisfy! Franks has threatened to throttle the next skeptic. He’s doing the turret tour now; we’re getting a robot for the ghost.”
I read a short verse this morning that flipped my mind back to our days in Montréal and how many times we rode the métro across the city. My nostalgic journey has inspired me to write the following verses as a tribute:
a swift whistle to the chaos
middle subway car
the first one on wakes up
at the end of the line
to the Jean-Talon Market
squashed on the ride home
all trains stop — riders whisper
another sad exit?
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.
“You need to follow the yellow brick road,” someone told me. “That’s where your dreams will all come true.”
I googled yellow brick road and it brought up an album by Elton John. It appears his dream has come true, but I was actually hoping for a successful career on Wall Street.
So I programmed the navigation system in my car for “yellow brick road” and followed the voice carefully. However, when the synthetic lady told me to head west on County Road #64, a narrow lane, I got a bit nervous. What kind of career awaits me out here in the boonies?
I abandoned the car when the country road morphed into Shady Trail. After a thirty-minute hike I’m seeing a shining path ahead, but it doesn’t look like yellow bricks. Still, I kind of like the peace and quiet here. Perhaps I’ll become a famous naturalist.