Saturday, May 24, 2014

Meteor Shower-- Small Town Style


We set our alarms for 3 a.m. I woke my kiddos and they grabbed blankets and we headed to the car. It was touted as a potentially huge meteor shower.  Some even called it a "meteor storm".  We are only a few miles from country darkness, so we decided to find a dirt road, far away from town lights.

     We were surprised by a spectacular display of light-- blinding, white, blue and red-- in our rear-view mirror.  I saw the officer headed toward us as we drove through town and he turned around just as we passed. He followed us for a few blocks, then turned on his lights and pulled us over. He said my license plate light was out.  Aren't license plates reflective?  Is a license plate light something required?
       I felt a little sheepish as I sleepily handed over my driver's license.  I'm sure he noticed the  wide-eyed, pajama wearing kids in the back seat. Should I tell him what we were doing?  I didn't offer an explanation.
      After mentioning the license plate light being out, he said he was just checking for impaired driving: (Translation: anyone driving this time of night must be either insane, drunk, or high on something.)   He did not test my blood alcohol level or make me walk the line.  He just took my license and grabbed his shoulder radio.

     Now, we live in a small town, and our police budget is limited, so our police cars are not equipped with the latest technology-- like computers.  So, the officer, while standing by my open window, proceeded to spell out my full name "Juliet, Echo, November, November, India, Foxtrot,Echo, Romeo"....and so on over his radio.  Being from a small town, and knowing that there are insomniacs out there who listen to the police scanner nightly, I knew I would hear about this later.  Our family has been in this area for many generations and is well known.  I'm sure there were many questioning why the Baptist preacher's daughter-in-law's name was called over the scanner at 3:30 in the morning.
     He received word back from the police station that my license cleared and we were free to go.  We drove a few miles outside of town and found a quiet road to sit and look at the stars. We watched a sliver of moon just peeking over the horizon, first pink, then orange, then white as it rose further into the sky. My girls and I talked about stars, and the moon, and the facts of life and law enforcement.  I answered their 9 and 10 year-old questions about everything.  We saw lots of stars, the Milky Way, constellations and only one meteor. But we still had fun making memories.
     I must admit, I was afraid to drive back into town for fear of getting stopped again.  There were no other cars out at that time of night, so it would have given the officer something to keep him busy.  All-in-all, I am grateful for our police department, no matter how Barney Fife-ish they may seem at times.  They play an important role in our community and it is a blessing to have that kind of protection.  If they'll stop someone for a license plate light being out, they'll find those crooks too!!  But, you'll get that in a small town!

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