I had been raised to respect police officers.
In fact, my parents didn’t let us even use the word ‘cop’ as a kid. To this day, the word ‘cop’ feels like a forbidden swear word, a word that I know is probably acceptable, and yet the child in me feels like a risk-taker every time I use it. I raised my children to always respect police officers as well. They are our friends, I taught them, and I believed. If we should ever find ourselves in trouble, we know they are a phone call away, “brave in blue,” risking their lives to protect ours.
As a child I marveled at the police. I stared at their guns and felt important if they smiled at me. I was raised in a military family, on military bases; and officers of all sorts, whether they were military or civilian ones, commanded my respect and appreciation. After all, they keep “the peace” and make sure “we are all behaving,” right?
Although I had a rather “party-filled” young life, I somehow never really had personal contact with the police. My childhood family were law-abiding citizens, as I am in my adult life, and I trained my children the same way…
I had had one personal contact with a police officer, and that was when I acquired a “Sunday Morning Special” speeding ticket. (Really, everyone speeding on Sunday mornings is probably racing to church, and everyone driving extra slowly is probably hungover; am I right?) We must have been traveling downhill with a wind behind us, because getting a 12 passenger van to even go the speed limit is a challenge. I was racing to church early on a Sunday morning with my children in tow…. And even though I didn’t know how we were going to be able to afford to pay that hefty ticket, and even though we were now really late after being pulled over, that conversation ended with the friendly officer letting me know they were hiring if I was interested. Seriously.
So it made sense to me, when I opened the door that Saturday morning in January, to welcome the officers in. They were my “friends in uniform,” and we “worked together” in a theoretical sense to keep peace and harmony in our friendly neighborhood.
Bosco, our sweet-natured sable collie, greeted the pair of officers. Collies are intelligent. They can sense if someone or something is amiss. But after he had sniffed and greeted them, he lay down at their feet and sighed in relaxation and lack of excitement, which mirrored exactly how I felt as well.
I sat down, too, and we had a conversation about our farm. “Someone” had made a phone call “sometime” the year before with “concern” about our farm animals. It was all quite vague, and I was rather confused, as the neighborhood and neighbors were (and are) quite friendly. Add to that, we had been ranching for seven years, and had an excellent reputation in the wider area. We had previously owned and operated a small dairy, we had a wonderful brood of plump laying hens, and we had a small flock of Lincoln Longwool sheep that we sheared for spinning and weaving their wool. We had previously owned several beautiful horses, which our daughter would train and ride… And our experience in farming and ranching had been a fascinating life-changing experience for a generation where many of us have only experienced “food from a grocery store.”
Since the questions were friendly and vague, I happily introduced the officers to our animals… The tiny flock of three plump sheep ran across the back pasture when they saw them, free range chickens clucked, a couple of barn cats meowed or purred, and all was well. The officers, one of whom was from the local department, and the other, it turns out, was from the Humane Society, said and reported officially that all was well. The animals were happy and healthy, even though it had dipped to negative 25 degrees the night before, and we were waiting for the officers to leave so that we could break all of the ice in water tubs and give the animals their daily fresh warm water (as any good farmer in Colorado or in the Midwest is prepared to do every morning during the winter…)
We smiled and waved… and shrugged. It was odd, but we understood that sometimes a passerby has a question, and officers are simply doing their duty when they follow up on a question. I was glad that my initial adrenaline had faded from being startled by knocking at the door so early on a Saturday morning, that all had gone well, and that we could resume with our upcoming challenging week.
I had an appointment that Wednesday to see what was truly going on in my womb. I was both nervous and excited; nervous, because this “pregnancy” felt so different and strange, and excited, because there was hope that new life continued to grow.
Nothing in my previous life experience could have prepared me for the week that changed my life….
(…to be continued…)