I thought it fitting to give you Hal Collier’s Thanksgiving post on Thanksgiving. I’ll have a little something about being thankful on Sunday, November 26th.
By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD
The normal scenario for celebrating Thanksgiving Day is to skip breakfast and wait for the Thanksgiving dinner. Then put on a pair of loose pants or something with an elastic waist band. Then head to Grandma’s house or maybe your parents’ house. As you got older it might be your turn to cook the turkey.
But there’s a difference if you’re a first responder. Someone has to work even while everyone else is loosening their belts and watching football.
In the LAPD you had a holiday wish list for days off. You had a choice of five holidays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. If you were a rookie you probably got Arbor Day.
Now, even when I had over 30 years’ experience I didn’t get all five days off. So, I had to choose which days I preferred. Of course, I preferred Christmas Eve first. Christmas Day second, New Year’s Day third, News Year’s Eve fourth and Thanksgiving last. Funny but those were also my wife’s choices.
So, I worked almost every Thanksgiving. No big deal, I wasn’t that fond of turkey. Sometimes our family would celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday or maybe Saturday to work around every one’s schedule.
Trust me, I’ve cooked turkey almost every way conceivable. I’ve cooked bird on a rotisserie, in the oven, in a brown paper bag in the oven—very moist—and I’ve deep fried turkeys in boiling peanut oil. The deep-fried turkeys were good, but then we were reminded that our son is allergic to peanuts. Lately, we have served Honey Baked hams. Did you know they deliver to your front door?
My point is on Thanksgiving Day my Thanksgiving dinner was usually something fast food in a paper bag after talking into a clown face. For the majority of my career I worked graveyard, that’s 11:30 PM to first dawn. I’d leave for work around 10 PM and as I walked in the back door I was overcome by a tantalizing smell of turkey. I made my way up the stairs as the smell got stronger. Just before I entered the locker room I looked into the break room—two turkeys were sitting on the table. Actually, the cop came out in me and I investigated—let me be clear: there were two turkey carcasses on the tables. Picked clean. Oh, there were side dishes, too, but they didn’t have a carcass just empty pans.
I dressed and asked the Watch Commander where all the food came from? He smiled, said the local businesses always take care of the cops in Hollywood. I reminded him that I was a Hollywood cop, just working the wrong hours. Looks like another Thanksgiving meal in a paper bag.
You want turkey fries with that?
One year, I was off on Thanksgiving and thought about cops eating out of a paper bag. I deep fried two turkeys and took one to the station. Feeding Hollywood cops was my way of saying thanks.