Through the woodland
through the valley
Comes a horseman
Wild and free
Tilting at the windmills passing
Who can this brave young horseman be?
Today’s a big day. A really big day. It’s the day one of my most beloved friends finishes his day, hangs up his uniform and retires from a long career in California law enforcement.
I never knew a lot about cops, not first-hand, anyway. Let’s see, what did I know:
- The TV program, Car 54, Where Are You?? and all the others
- The year I went to college, police officers were referred to as “pigs.”
- A drug bust in my college dorm one night made me madly flush a stash of weed.
- One of my cousins was a bad cop,
- That’s about my entire experience of police officers. Oh, wait: I’d gotten a speeding ticket once.
But then, in the mid-1990s, P&I became friends. Good friends. And I got a glimpse of what was behind the uniform. I learned that cops could be smart, brainy, caring, interesting and with it. They could be like anyone else!
With one difference. They are willing to put their lives on the line.
My friend spent his career making a difference. He used to call himself a “righter.” It fits. And, like most of us who have a habit of tilting at windmills, his work wasn’t always smooth sailing.
But how boring would that be?
So, my friend, thank you for your service to the people of California, and happy retirement. Enjoy it! Today is the first day of your life, as we said back in the day. (Ok, tomorrow. Or tonight, actually!) I’m happy that my tax money funds your retirement and that of other officers. You deserve it.
I hope you look back on your long career from the back of a motorcycle traveling across country. Or sitting at your computer in Tahoe writing. Or from a romantic inn with your wife. Or in a coffee shop in Europe with your daughter.
It’s a big day. Enjoy it! and every day thereafter.
Go raibh Dia leat, Patrick. Go with God.