Read to the bottom for a Christmas story from Hal Collier. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Kwanzaa or what ever way you celebrate the season-have a happy one!
A POLICEMAN’S STORY…
In 1974 when I first joined the police department, I knew there would be
special occasions my family would spend without me. Knowing that fact
didn’t make the task any easier. The celebrations I missed those first years
depressed me and sometimes made me feel bitter. Working on Christmas Eve
was always the worst.
On Christmas Eve in 1977, I learned that a blessing can come disguised as
misfortune, and honor is more than just a word. I was riding a one man
patrol unit on the 4×10 shift. The night was cold. Everywhere I looked I
saw reminders of the holiday: families packing their cars with
presents, beautifully decorated trees in living room windows and roofs adorned with tiny
sleighs. It all added to my holiday depression mood. The evening had been
relatively quiet; there were calls for barking dogs and a residential false
burglar alarm. There was nothing to make the night pass any quicker. I
thought of my own family without me there with them and I sunk further into
Shortly after 2200 hours I got a radio call to the home of an elderly,
terminally ill man. I parked my patrol car in front of a simple Cape Cod
style home. First aid kit in hand, I walked up the short path to the front
door. As I approached, a woman who seemed to be about 80 years old opened the
door. He’s in here she said, leading me to a back bedroom. We passed
through a living room that was furnished in a style I had come to associate with
older people. The sofa has an afghan blanket draped over its back and a
dark, solid Queen Anne chair positioned next to an unused fireplace. The
mantle was cluttered with an eccentric mix of several photos, some ceramic
figurines and an antique clock. A floor lamp provided soft lighting. We
entered a small bedroom where I saw a frail looking man lay in bed with a
blanket pulled under his chin. He wore a blank stare on his ashen, skeletal
face. His breathing was shallow and labored. He was barely alive.
The trappings of illness all around his bed. The nightstand was littered
with a large number of pill vials. An oxygen bottle stood nearby. Its
plastic hose, with face mask attached rested on the blanket. I asked the old
woman why she called the police. She simply shrugged and nodded sadly
toward her husband, indicating it was his request. I looked at him and he
stared intently into my eyes. He seemed relaxed now. I didn’t understand the
suddenly calm expression on his face. I looked around the room again. A
dresser stood along the wall to the left of the bed. On it was the usual
memorabilia: ornate perfume bottles, a white porcelain pin case, and a wooden
jewelry case. There were also several photos in simple frames. One caught my
eye and I walked closer to the dresser for a closer look. The picture
showed a young man dressed in a police uniform. It was unmistakably a photo of
the man in bed. I knew then why I was there. I looked at the old man and
he motioned with his hand toward the side of the bed. I walked over and
stood beside him. He slid a thin arm from under the covers and took my hand.
Soon, I felt his hand go limp, I looked at his face. There was no fear there.
I saw only peace. He knew he was dying; he was aware his time was very
near. I know now that he was afraid of what was about to happen and he wanted
the protection of a fellow cop on his journey. A caring God had seen to
it that his child would be delivered safely to him.
The honor of being his escort fell to me. When I left at the end of my
tour that night, the temperature had seemed to have risen considerably, and
all the holiday displays I saw on the way home made me smile. I no longer
feel sorry for myself for having to work on Christmas Eve. I have chosen an
honorable profession. I pray that when it’s my turn to leave this world
there will be a cop there to hold my hand and remind me that I have nothing to
fear. I wish all my brothers and sisters who have to work this
Christmas Eve all the Joy and warmth of the Season.
Author is unknown
By Hal Collier
This is a short Christmas story. I was assigned to Community Relations and every Christmas we would hand out food baskets to the less fortunate. We were given a list of families who requested the food. Dale and I were driving the old B- Wagon. We had the back filled up with large boxes containing a frozen turkey and canned goods . Dale and I made a few deliveries. A few houses on our list had a new car in the driveway, nice furniture, a bigger TV than we had, and they definitely didn’t deserve a food box.
Merry Christmas to everyone.
Hal’s next Ramblings post will be on December 26th. We’re taking Christmas Day off to enjoy family and friends. I hope you are, too!