Saturday, January 10, 2015

Keeping My Town Safe

Even though it is winter, every now and then when the temperature gets up in the double digits, I'll crack open a window or two.  The apartment gets stuffy after a while and a breath of fresh air is welcome.

So I opened one of my living room windows late this afternoon.  The sun was nearing time to set so it was still light enough to see outside.  And as I crank the window open I hear a commotion in the street below.

I look down and there is a middle aged man named Billy whose claim to fame is that he can be found nearly any evening at one of the bars in my neighborhood and by suppertime he is usually happily sailing along on an alcohol induced trip.  He generally is harmless, but once in a while he gets feisty.  That would be OK except for the fact that Billy stands about 5' 4" on a good day.  And he usually picks fights with someone twice his size.

This evening Billy got lucky.  The fellow he chose to fight with stands maybe 6' 4" and is still reasonably sober and really doesn't want to pound Billy into the ground.  You've seen those cartoon fights where the little guy is swinging his fists for all he is worth and his huge opponent is holding him off with an outstretched arm and his hand firmly resting on the little guy's forehead.  That was the scene below my window.

About that time a cop car pulls up.  Two officers get out and survey the scene.  One of them says, "Now, Billy, I thought you promised me you wouldn't fight any more."

Billy answers, "Well, you know you can't believe anything I say when I'm drunk."

The officer answers that it was his mistake.  He forgot about that part.
And that's when I laughed out loud.

The evening was one of those that was quiet and sound carries easily.  The cop heard me and looked up at my window. "That you, Mrs. Miller?"

I said that it was.

"You doing OK?  Haven't seen you out and about for a while."

I told him that I was doing just fine and remarked that he seemed to have his hands full.  By that time Billy had a new set of bracelets and was having a bit of a problem remaining upright.

"Well,"  he said, "Billy and I are going to go check out a nice jail cell where he can get some sleep.  Shakopee will be safe for another night."

Sometimes this place reminds me more of Mayberry than of a Minneapolis suburb.  I know it's not, but now and then it is good for a chuckle.


  1. It's always nice to have a little homegrown entertainment, as opposed to watching the box. lol

  2. Gorges...Living next door to a bar has a way of providing comic relief now and then. :)

  3. Now that's funny. Duane

  4. Duane...As you know, Babe's Bar can be the source of a considerable amount of entertainment for the bystander. Especially on a Saturday night!
    Love, Mom

  5. I worked with a young man that had the "short man syndrome". He was always cut, bruised, and stayed that way for a long time, since he was diabetic; and refused to take care of his health.

    He liked to fight, but never realized his fighting days were numbered. I wonder if he's still alive.

  6. Jess...I've known this guy for years - ever since I had to run him off the convenience store where I worked, due to his drinking and penchant for picking fights. When he's sober, he is pleasant to talk to, but drunk he's his own worst enemy. The alcohol will kill him or he will pick a fight with the wrong guy. It's sad.

    My Dad had that "short man syndrome," so to speak. He didn't ever pick fights, but because he stood 5'5" tall, he always seemed to think he had to prove something, like carrying a load heavier than anyone else on the job. He didn't realize that in the eyes of his children, he was a giant of a man - not because of his size but because of his character.

  7. Just think of "Billy" as entertainment. Nice the officer remembers you.

  8. Rob...Yeah, that's about all anyone can do, I guess. He won't lay off the booze unless he wants to.
    That officer is the same one who was here and so very helpful the night my husband died and was also here when there was a fire in my building. He and a couple others will stop to chat a bit if I see them on the street.

  9. I didn't think there was anywhere left where the relationship between police and citizens was on that level.

  10. Harry...In my area these relationships exist in the smaller towns, where everybody knows everybody else and has since childhood. Although my town is a big city suburb, it has always had the feeling of small town America. My relationship with law enforcement comes from a couple of things. Before my husband died, there were several occasions when I had to call 911 for his medical issues, and I got to know the officers then. The ones who know me by name are the ones who answered the call the night he died, and were here throughout that ordeal. They made a point to stop if they saw me outside and ask if I was doing alright. One of the same officers was one of those who rescued my two little dogs from my apartment when we had that fire in my building. I have worked at various stores in town over the years and have gotten to know some that way.

    They have never been called to my apartment to settle a domestic dispute. They have never had to haul me off to the drunk tank. I have never hurled abusive language at them and I have made it a point to thank them when they have helped me. They aren't perfect and neither am I. But I have found a way to live without fear of authority and without having to worry about abuse from them. You give respect - you get respect.