Month: May 2017


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Police and Ballet

Locker clean out: check

Firearm, badge, and uniform turned in: check

Ten years of my life gone: check

Experiences that no one should ever have to go through, and some that no one should ever miss: Check check

If anyone had told me when I was five years old that I’d spend ten years of adulting doing this, I’d have run crying to my Mama. I was planning to be a ballerina. Or a veterinarian. But when Robert was gunned down in a drive by two days after my seventeenth birthday, I couldn’t find any other choice. My big brother was gone, a hole the size of the world was left in his wake, and I had to make sure that never happened to anybody again. Ever.

Applying to the academy was difficult. Admissions were grueling. I failed twice. But once in, it was even worse. I stuck it out, graduated, and for a decade I did what I could to keep good people alive. Even if it met traffic stops, stakeouts drinking bad coffee, or desk work when I was pulled off the force while an investigation took place over a cracked out kid I shot. You never want to kill them. You just want them to stop. Sadly, sometimes killing is the only way to make that happen. Luckily, the boy I shot survived … but was later shot and killed in a drug buy gone bad. He was on a dark path and just couldn’t get turned around.

I’m tired. And ten years wiser than I was when I set out on this crusade. I realize now that I can’t force people to be good, or to make the right choice. And nothing I could do – no matter what – was gonna fill that hole, or bring my brother back.

So today I officially disengage from law enforcement, and head into the world as a full blown civilian. I wonder if there’s a ballet class for thirty eight year old ex cops.


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Kid on Toilet

“Where’s Hudson?” I looked around, the other kids were heads down on their iPads. “Hudson?” I got up off the sofa and walked to the hallway. “Buddy? Hudson?”

I looked out the window, maybe he’d gone outside. Nope. I lifted my chin and called into thin air,

“HUDSON!!” I caught Gabby’s eye. She gave a head check toward the couch, mouthed the words, “He’s over there.” I nodded and went to see.
Sure enough, there was Hudson, crouched behind the sofa.

“What are you …”
“NannyBoo! I’m busy! Go! Go!!” He waved me away, his face beet red. I got the message. I went around, lifted him up, said,

“Buddy, there’s nothing for you back there,” and – in spite of his wailing objections – carried his stiff, folded body to the bathroom.
By now, he was sobbing.

“I do not want to go in there!”                                                                                                                        
“Well, Buddy, you don’t have a choice. This is where big boys – and all civilized people – do their business.”

“I … I’m sort of a big boy, but … I’m not with those civilized people.” I peeled his pants and underwear off, and sat him on the toilet.

“Well, you need to be with the civilized people. Life’s gonna be tough if you’re not.”

He glared at me.

“Okay, now will you please get out. I need my privacy.”

“Okay. But I’ll be right outside if you need …”

“Yes, I get it. Go. Please go.” I went.

Five minutes later,

“NannyBoo.” I cracked the door and peeked in.

“How you doin’?”

He was sitting there stripped naked, and shot me an exhausted look. Big sigh.

“I’m done.”

“Good job, Buddy.”

As  helped him get his clothes on he asked, “Am I one of those civilized people now?”
“Yes you are!”

“Do they get treats for pooping in the toilet?” I took his sweet little face in my hands, kissed his forehead.                                                                                                                                     
“Today they do.”


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Things tend to make sense in ways we don’t expect. Sometimes situations or events go what we’d normally call out of control … all we can see is the chaos. But a step back reveals the wider net, the bigger picture. The choreography, the symmetry of all things.

Relationships. Blood, love, hate, passion. The binding thread that brings them all together is fiery red. But in it … when we’re in it … it feels like drowning, or flying, or crashing. No color at all. Just the grit and grind and focus of getting through it, or holding on to it, or getting rid of it, or expressing it. That is the experience of the thread itself. We are that thread.

Blue. Of Jazz, pain, loss, rain, regret. The thread of blue awakens quickly with each event. Fluid and flexible or vulcanized and unyielding … this strand goes from silk to steel in an instant, its transformation governed by the emotional dictates of experience.

And yet, when we lay our heads down in the dark, all threads come together; as we sleep through the night they work in concert, weaving another length in the tapestry of our lives.