I had fun last night. I had dinner at Church. It was the Spaghetti Dinner Prior to Prayer Meeting. I had the good fortune to sit down at a table of retired cops. A true “Testosterone Table”. (There are always several such tables at our Church.) The guys and their lovely wives were all known to me except for one new big guy. He had a shaved head, athletic frame, engaging smile, knowledge about firearms and a capable all-American professional demeanor. Just the type of guy you want to show up at your door when there’s a problem that needs immediate attention. Or the kind of guy you want your daughter to introduce you to just after she announces she’s found “Mr. Right.”
As we chatted over the spaghetti and meat sauce (I noticed retired cops are very neat eaters and possess very good table manners … of course, their wives were present), the conversation turned to the late sixties and the Black Panthers of that era. They were different back then. They didn’t receive privileged status from Eric Holder and the DOJ.
(By the way, have you looked at the background of Obama’s appointment to replace Eric “Guns Across the Rio” Holder? The appointee is just another Obama crony who probably has the same qualifying credentials Obama had to acquire his current gig. One pal and reader of my drivel just told me that Obama has accomplished one thing as Prez. He has shown us in clear and unmistakable evidence how easily our political system can be corrupted. And you thought he was worthless. Silly you.)
Anyway … as we chatted about the “good ole’ days (for cops)” the new guy (I’ll call him “John”) was recounting how he had been in on a capture of one of the more prominent Panthers. He had clearly enjoyed that day’s operation and made it sound like nothing more dangerous than a pick-up basketball game. Except, more fun … (which is always a lot of fun for big guy like him). He laughed about how one cop had had a precarious time of it because his role had involved hiding under a porch on the house where the arrest happened and, unfortunately, somehow the house caught on fire … causing some consternation in the mind of the guy hiding under the porch. The subrosa porch guy miraculously extricated himself from the situation and everything turned out well, except, of course, for the Panthers.
The guys from last night thought the “house fire” thing seemed strange because, well, why would anyone set their own house afire during an altercation with the Poooleeece? Even guys as dumb as the Black Panthers? Maybe they just weren’t practicing good kitchen cooking safety procedures during the gun fight.
I must apologize to John, in case he reads this, because I may have jumbled some of the facts of his story and confused them with other stories that were flying around the table. I was laughing so hard it was hard to keep things straight.
The wives just smiled and adopted indulgent “Mom expressions”. They even seemed to enjoy the “guy stuff” camaraderie. Which makes me wonder about what you always hear about the wives of police officers worrying all day, every day, each moment, praying, sometimes crying… about whether their man will return safe and sound at the end of his shift. After watching the three wives present last night at “Testosterone Table No. 17” I would say the “worried” perception of Police officer wives is overstated. But, of course, it isn’t. They really do live with those fears every day. All day.
During the conversation I only had one meager observation to add. I recalled how Huey Newton (I think) had finally terminated his membership in the Panthers during a shoot-out in a liquor store holdup. This was before the Panthers graduated to more socially acceptable activities like wearing jackboots, batons, silly black berets and unpleasant dim-witted expressions at polling places to intimidate white voters. But, as noted, the Panthers were never known for their creativity and intelligence.
Except for Eldridge Cleaver, who wised up about what a great place America was/is when he visited China and was treated to light dinner repartee among Chinese People’s Army Field Marshalls about exactly how easily they could invade America’s heartland. They weren’t laughing like my pals last night. Cleaver found it a little unnerving and returned to the good old USA a different man. No liquor store shoot-outs for him. No more Chi-Comm Field Marshall pals, either.
I was paid an extremely flattering compliment, when John asked me if I was a retired cop. You can imagine my embarrassment when I had to admit to him what I actually do for a living. Dullsville.
Since everyone at the table graciously forgave me, I got over my embarrassment quickly as the conversation ran off to another wild cop adventure.
It was a real pleasure being present while these guys (and their lovely, indulgent wives) recalled a time from America’s past when people had their heads screwed on right.
The attached cartoon commemorates the evening. I ran out of space and couldn’t fit the third wife into the drawing. For which I apologize. But I did fit in another pal, who I’ll call “Jim.” He once told me about how he was hired by the LAPD. He was trying to transfer into LA from a neighboring police department. During his initial job interview in LA a Lieutenant entered the room where the interview was being conducted by a couple sergeants. The Lieutenant shortened the proceedings. He asked “Jim” whether he had ever “shot anybody?” (Presumably, in the line of duty.) “Jim” answered in the affirmative. The Lieutenant concluded the proceeding by immediately welcoming “Jim” to the LAPD.
Ahhhhh … The “Old Days.”