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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :
This Week
by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Each week, I try to come up with something that I feel might be of interest to you and then slant my viewpoint in a humorous or satirical manner. Since Iíve been doing this for over 20 years, there have only been a few periods in which Iím unable to put a funny spin on some topic or another.

This is one of those periods. I think the last one happened during September of 2001. Nothing seemed funny for a long time that month.

Years ago, in my other life, I was a cop in a big city in this country. After having graduated from the police academy I was yanked out and stuck in the Vice squad as an undercover officer. It appears to me now that I was so dumb and naÔve that no criminal in his or her right mind would think I was a real policeman. But I was.

They partnered me up with an older officer, who became a mentor and a friend in spite of our ages and backgrounds. He thought I was the dumbest thing that ever came out of police school and I thought he was so old and decrepit that he couldnít keep up with me. It was not love at first sight. We fought like cats and dogs and I canít even begin to tell you how bad it was, for a time. Then we agreed to discuss our differences and work together. Once we got everything ironed out, we tore the town up and made case after case that left others standing in the dust, shaking their heads in amazement. We were a great team.

I learned a lot from this man. He was a mentor of the first order. ------- I also came to know his wife and three beautiful daughters, who were just kids 40 years ago. Iíve watched them grow into young ladies and have kept up with them over the years.

Neither of us retired from the police department. I left to go into business and he left to go into ranching. I didnít know anything about business, and he didnít know anything about ranching. Both of us survived and have made a decent living along the way. We may not see each other very often, but we talk on the phone and we always know each of us is on the other end of the line if anything comes up. Thatís what friends are for.

Last week, his oldest daughter died. His youngest daughter went to assist with the arrangements and became so saddened; she suffered a brain aneurysm and is not expected to live as well. My friend is making arrangements for her funeral as well.

Two daughters in one week.

When I talk to him, I cannot find any words to say. I just listen to him in his grief. We cry together. You want to reach through the phone lines and just grab him in his sorrow.

I canít say it will be all right, because for right now, it isnít all right. Your kids arenít supposed to die before you do. It just isnít natural. It isnít right. It goes against the order of things.

I canít say, ďI know how you feelĒ because I donít. Iíve lost a baby, but he was stillborn, not someone I had raised for forty years. Thereís a big difference. I cannot imagine this, most of us canít. I feel so useless. I want to say something, but nothing comes out.

Someone once wrote,ĒThese are the times that try menís souls.Ē I donít know in what context he was referring, but I feel this situation certainly qualifies if ever there was one. All of us pray, we pray for the family and we pray for ourselves as well. I donít understand these things; I donít think any of us do. Our lives and our little problems are minor and insignificant in comparison to something such as this.

I want to hold my kids and keep them safe.

He wanted the same.

I donít know what to say, except Iím sorry.
© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com
Letters From North America
- May 16 , 2005 column
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