To my few readers, first I wish to thank you for your interest and feedback over the last several months, as I indulge in this fantasy of trying to be a writer.
It has been a busy year, and like all of you I’m sure, one filled with the ups and downs of life. The good, the inconsequential, and the fearful, in this era of the Trump shadow. As Xmas day gallops toward us, for some reason it tends to make me look back with a poignant but peculiar nostalgia.
I always remember the Xmas’s lost, the Xmas’s where I worked, coming home to the kids, but sometimes coming home to an empty house.
The Xmas where I was the only officer in the town of Bella Coola, British Columbia, nestled in the middle of nowhere on the British Columbia coast. Rain poured in sheets, almost hurting as it hit the skin. I ate Xmas dinner with the only openly gay couple in town. They had recently purchased the local bowling alley, escaping and hiding from the city life they left in Vancouver. They took me in that Xmas, and served me a goose dinner in the attached coffee shop, while the rain lashed the windows in the restaurant while the dimly lit bowling lanes acted as a backdrop. It is a great and fond memory. I went home to the detachment, and then realized that the Xmas tree that I had cut was still on the back porch of the police residence, never making it into the warmth of the house.
There was the many Xmas’ working in uniform, where by three or four in the morning you found yourself parked along side another officer, smoking, or drinking coffee, yawning uncontrollably, and wondering how you were going to be able to stay up when you got home. Praying that there was not another call coming your way and you could bask in the nothingness of pre-dawn.
There was the Xmas in Newcastle New Brunswick where I answered the domestic disturbance call. I pulled into the driveway on Xmas eve, just as the overwrought husband through the Xmas tree through the front window, landing in the front yard still adorned with bulbs and lights. I arrested Dad, but I still wonder how and where those children are now, what kind of adults they became and I hope they are ok now.
Now that I think of it, I think I spent more Xmas’ with criminals. This is not intended to imply that this was always negative. People seem to change a bit over the holidays, even the eight per cent of the population that we dealt with routinely as police officers. A lot of laughs were shared over the cellblock counter, despite the often desperate situation they found themselves in, and it was not unusual to see goodwill extended to others while there. As they feasted on the government supplied meat pie, slice of white bread, and instant coffee they were pretty far removed from the turkey extravaganza but they seemed to appreciate you being there in some sort of misplaced way.
There was also something emotional about being out in the middle of the night, patrolling, sometimes alone, standing herd over the darkened houses. It gave you a sense of real, measurable worth. Things always seemed pretty good.
So to those of you who find yourself sitting in those same police cars, biding time, counting the hours until dawn, sneaking into the radio room to scoff down Xmas cake and cookies brought by considerate dispatchers; enjoy it, as it is a fleeting feeling. It is a Xmas not experienced by most, and it highlights the sometime and somewhat elusive purpose to your profession. Police officers in Toronto, in New York, and in Brandon, Manitoba are all having and sharing that same feeling, as they stretch, and look up at the brightening sky.
Then go home and hug your kids if you have them, if you don’t, hug someone else’s kids. Yours was the night, but now the day belongs to them.
Merry Xmas everyone….may you always come home to a full house….