When we eventually moved from our home of nearly 30 years, Nate had to surrender his position as one of three police commissioners in our suburb. The commissioners, appointed by the mayor and partnered with the police chief, were in charge of hiring and firing police officers. They also handled discipline cases. Nate loved the work and enjoyed his co-workers.
Being a commissioner had several perks:
1. If Nate wanted to carry a hand gun inside his suit jacket like James Bond, he could have, even though it was illegal for the rest of us. (He never did.)
2. If he was pulled over for speeding through town (which he was), he could have reminded the officer of his commissioner status and avoided tickets. (He never did.)
3. If he called the chief to say our teen drivers nearly got killed pulling out of our small street because of frequent speeders racing by, the chief would have done something about it. (He did, and he did.)
4. If he ever called 911 suspecting a break-in or sensing a threat to our neighborhood, the police would have responded in force.
Although Nate never dialed 911, the police did respond when a neighbor called. Our family was on a vacation 350 miles away when the young man caring for our animals back home reported seeing a living room light go on and then off. He was afraid to go in and feed the animals, fearing a burglary might be in progress.
Police responded quickly, approaching our darkened home with weapons drawn. Deciding the thief was inside, they called for reinforcements to surround the house. In short order, the newly formed swat team arrived, along with their “wall of light,” rows of floodlights mounted on a truck bed. It had the power to turn midnight into noon.
Our neighbor friend unlocked the door, and the swat team rushed in, filling the rooms with police presence. After hunting from crawl space to attic, however, they came up empty-handed. Then one of the policemen waiting out back on the unlit side of the house solved the mystery: black shoe prints cascading from a second floor window to the ground. The guy must have rappelled down and run into the woods, he reasoned.
The next morning, Nate received a call at our vacation cabin from the police chief, his good friend. “I think we scared him off before he did any damage,” he concluded. “Nothing looked disturbed.”
Nate was pleased with such a high-powered response from the police department and told our kids the dramatic story. When he was finished, our boys looked at each other and then spoke.
“All those footprints on the house? They’re ours.”
We stared wide-eyed at them, trying to force our thoughts from burglary to boys.
“We just thought it’d be fun to go down with ropes.”
After a moment of silence, we all burst out laughing.
Once we got home, we investigated. The light going on and off? A lose bulb.Things aren’t always as they seem.