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November 23rd, 2007

lake patrol

We had a lovely, peaceful Thanksgiving in Arkansas with my father, his wife, her son, and my siblings and their families. We dined on turkey and ham. My father loaned me a book by a local fellow which told about a small town south Arkansas childhood in the 1940s, in which my father could recognize much of his own childhood, and I could even recognize a bit of my own childhood.

This morning my father and I got up at five a.m. to go to a sale at the local small town Sears in my father's home town. A few dozen people were waiting to buy their Craftsman tools, which were heavily discounted for the holidays. Neither my father nor I are shoppers, but we are both early risers and we are both easily amused by the idea of people getting up at five in the morning to buy tools.

I bought a cap that says "Craftsman", because I figure that anyone wearing a Craftsman hat instantly adds forty points to his or her ratings for perceived credibility and sincerity. I do not opine whether the hat has a similar, if opposite, effect on perceived IQ.

"Lake patrol", the officer said, just after he had pulled me over. It turned out that when that sign by the closed dam road for the rural lake said "no entrance", it did not mean "enter only to turn around without going in", but in fact meant "no entrance a' tall". It made me feel good for our national security that in the middle of northeast Texas unseen zealous electric eyes are alerting the constabulary of possible threats to the local dams. We drove on home, abandoning our idea of finding the local state park for a quick hike.

I was pleased to be let off with a warning (and an amazing rush of adrenaline), and it is a warning I will heed assiduously. I credit in part my innocence, and in part my Craftsman cap. In our part of the world, many roads by dams were closed after 9/11. I was grateful that only a warning was administered for a course of conduct I consider(ed) frankly non-transgressory. When the dam road says "closed" don't turn around on the damn road. I took some comfort that people do patrol these things.

I watched a football game tonight in which the Arkansas Razorbacks college football team restored my faith in humanity. Then I walked in the dark by the park pond, in a pleasant chill, where a fountain poured water into the dark sky.

I am thankful for the stern but fair even-handed kindness of professional police officers.