I mentioned the Grandfather's Club meeting and that one of the members made the tongue in cheek comment that if we got caught taking the grandchildren for a ride in the bed of a pickup through farm country that the police would never take us alive.
Over the years having the police called to the house has become more of a semi regular joke, mainly because of Nebby Larry. I have to admit that I wind Larry up every chance that I get and actually look forward to my periodic visits by the local gendarmes.
This reminds me. Neighbor Bob just told me there's another mannequin his wife brought home from work that needs disposal. Time to go to Goodwill for a pair of high-heeled sexy mules and a pair of fishnets to dress her in before she winds up head down in the trash can with her legs sticking up. Again.
Anyway, last summer Larry called the police on me and when he showed I mentioned too the officer that I was readying the pickup for some serious illegal activity which mildly got his curiosity up.
He dryly asked me if I was planning on robbing a bank and I told him that the plan was much worse. I was planning on recklessly endangering children by taking them for a slow ride in the back of my pickup through farm country.
He's a pretty reasonable cop. He confessed to committing a similar crime a while back and we chatted a bit about why the law against transporting people in the back of a pickup came into play in the first place. The truth is the law makes sense in many contexts. we both agree on that. Incidentally, his kid now has a General ham radio ticket and is studying for Extra Class.
It really isn't a very good idea to stuff six or seven kids in the back of one and haul them around like cattle down the Interstate. Survivability in the event of an accident is pretty dismal. In the 50s a number of Boy Scouts were killed in an accident and the Scouts banned the use of truck beds for transporting them. It was a good decision, really.
Still, like a lot of things, there are a few exceptions that can be made. When we do this we are not on a major interstate highway at dizzying speeds. We're in Amish country and ambling along in a lower gear enjoying the sights and smells of farm country.
One sultry night we were actually passed by a Dutchman in a buggy. I suppose he had just been to a local ginmill for a taste or maybe he was courting because his face was clean shaven.
Maybe it was rumspringa and he had a pretty Dutch girl waiting for him with open arms. In that case he wasn't too likely to be Amish because he was obviously Rushin'.
That's bad when a Dutchman whistles right on past you.
Personally I am the survivor of many a ride in the back of a pickup. As a kid my dad would occasionally let us go with 'Mother' Lewis for a ride. Mother Lewis was pretty cautious and took only backroads, avoiding even secondary highways.
Still, to this day I can remember the smells of a pine forest as we slowly trundled through a fire trail or backroad. Every kid deserves memories like that.
Anyway one of my fellow co-conspirators by the assigned alias of Ralph was talking about it to one of his neighbors and his wife sort of freaked out and went off on him. He got a pretty good lecture about the usual safety issue.
When she asked what he would do if the police intervened, he replied that they would never take him alive and did the famous James Cagney spiel from "White Heat' for her. She was not amused.
Of course, that got her even more worked up, most likely because she is an idiot. Ralph really is no prize, either as I can picture him with his fingers as imaginary six-guns shooting it out with imaginary G-men and getting the woman ALL worked up.
Truth is, sometimes Ralph reminds me of...ME. I do stuff like that to idiots because God put idiots on the planet for my personal entertainment.
Yesterday I posted that Ralph's sixteen year old grandson is likely going to be a junior associate member of the Grandfather's club so he can drive a couple of old geezers home after they have a couple of snorts.
There's a hell of a lot more to it than that. Most likely we'll wind up being a part of this kid's education. Anyone that has read Ruark knows how much influence he received from his grandfather. 'The Old man and the Boy' should be required reading for parents if you ask me.
We're talking a fine line here because a kid can easily take things out of context and decide otherwise but maybe one of the lessons we can teach him is to show a true respect for the rules and regulations we are all bound by coupled with a discreet and occasional disregard for some of them.
It's a fine line here and somewhat of a risky undertaking trying to teach a youngster a lesson like this but it's important to.
About the only thing more irresponsible than an idiot that obeyed every single rule and regulation out there is a criminal that obeys none of them. Any good cop knows this but won't likely admit it because to do so opens another can of worms.
While cops hate criminals, they are also loathe being annoyed by the Goober Pyle 'citizen's arrest! Citizen's arrest!' types that want to make sure the pizza delivery guy doesn't park for five minutes in the 'No parking-snow zone' area in the middle of July.
I suppose that the switchblade knife I owned is an example of this. I use it as a letter opener and have had it since high school. Finally, the spring broke and I left it open to keep opening letters with after I yanked the spring.
I seriously doubt that the police are going to stage a pre-dawn raid on the house of an old man to take away an ancient once spring-loaded letter opener. Assuming it still worked, If a police officer saw it in an open tool box he would likely figure it was used to strip wire with and ignore it.
If I was travelling with it and he saw it on my dashboard during a traffic stop it might or might not wind up confiscated depending on a number of factors.
Of course, if I pulled it on anyone I would likely wind up in jail with posession of it added to the laundry list which is certainly fair enough.
Somewhere between criminality and perfection lies the truth.
Between these two lies the word 'responsibility'.
The truth is when you think about it that a responsible person really needs no laws because he will generally do the right thing. Laws were really designed for irresponsible people. Most smart cops probably know that.
Ralph's grandson is most likely going to get a pretty good course in responsibility and it's a pretty good time for it. Maybe we can give the kid a few lessons and make his middle age a little more survivable.
He's not too likely to find mentors in his dad's generation because in this day and age middle aged men are tied up in the rat race and most are unable to slow down a bit to smell thhe roses (or the cow dung in farm country on a sultry night). So I guess the old men have to pass on a few lessons here and there.
Besides it will be fun watching him learn his lessons.
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