Tag Archives: Police

Memoir – Police Activity: Big Boots, Small Guns, and Speeding Tickets

Police Activity – Big Boots, Small Guns, and Speeding Tickets

 police-lights

I have already discussed some of my experiences with the police during my teen years. I got pulled over on while on my bicycle three times. I, and the rest of the crew, had discussions with the police about the artistic merits of toilet paper in trees on consecutive nights. Then there was the considerable donation we made to the Park Police at Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan. That’s a repsectable amount of police activity, but wait, there was more. Compared to many people, my interactions with the police have been modest and pedestrian. One only needs to watch a episode of “Cops” to see how things can be different, but these are my stories and I’m sticking to them.

My older son is nearly driving age.  We were talking about the responsibilities involved with driving and he asked “What happens if you get a speeding ticket?”. I explained that would be bad, really bad in some circumstances, but it does happen. It got me to thinking about my teen years and tickets. That reminded me of three incidents from those years.

Big Boots – It was 1981 and we were flatland rednecks. Part of the accepted attire at the time were hiking boots. Big, clunky, hiking boots, that made your feet look three times bigger than they really were (joke time – what do you say about a man with big feet? Big shoes.) Yeah, we also had flannel and concert t-shirts, Jean jackets, but I really remember the hiking boots. Hymie finally got his folks to buy him a pair, with was an accomplishment. Hymie’s growth spurt sent him from 5’8” past 6’ in about 18 months so his folks had a hell of a time keeping him in clothes that fit. He got a nice pair of boots, maybe size 12.5, on the inside, but on the outside each was a bit smaller than a golf cart. Let me remind you that at the time, Hymie’s main mode of transportation was a Renault Le Car. A vehicle that was just a bit larger than a golf cart. So, put these two together in your mind. Good. Now the story. It was well after dark and Hymie and I were out looking for a chase. A chase was where you would follow a car for a while, then pass it in hopes that it would follow you. A chase. In Boulder Hill, with the twisty roads and lack of street lights, this was great fun. So we are in a chase, being chased, going well above the posted 35mph speed limit when lights flip on behind us, police lights. At first Hymie floors it (“flooring it” is a relative term in a Le Car. While the gas pedal did go down, the car didn’t really speed up, it just made more noise), I give him a panicked look, then he smiles and pulls over. He had a plan. Knowing he had a plan make my panic worse.

The police officer walks up and goes through his normal bit, license, where you going,…. Do you know how fast you were going…  you were doing 51 in a 35…Then Hymie starts in with his explanation . “I didn’t mean to be speeding officer. I grew up in this neighborhood and I know how dangerous it is to speed with all the little kids and the cars parked out on the road. I wasn’t really speeding, but my boot got caught under the brake pedal and I couldn’t get it off of the gas.” At this point I was trying to figure out if I should call mom or dad from the lock up, when the cop turned his flashlight down to Hymie’s feet. You could barely see any floor with those lunker boots filling up all the space. “I just got these boots, and I guess I never guessed that you could accidently hit both pedals. It is a pretty little car.” The policeman angled the light to see the pedals, which in this car were hardly more than rubber covered sticks. “I managed to get it un stuck right after you turned on your lights, you probably heard the motor go as I pushed to get it out”. The policeman turned his light to Hymie’s face. It was all innocence and smiles, as if he were taking meals to elderly shut ins on his way to bible class. “Ok, be more careful next time. Have a nice night.” The Officer went back to his car and left. Hymie smiled at me, “Well, it could’ve happened you know” was all he said.

Small Guns – On Hymie’s 18th birthday, we went hiking down around Silver Springs Park. It was late, late fall, and the park was nearly empty. That was convenient, since we brought a couple of BB guns, and a bottle of wine. As always, when we went hiking, each of use was carrying a knife big enough to be illegal. We walked around and shot at things, not animals or birds as such, but just tried to hit things. (For the record, I hit nothing. Ever. Man, did I suck.) We each took a slug of the wine, but it really didn’t taste good to us (Again, genius at work. Cheap ass screw cap wine out of the bottle on a 40 degree day and we were surprised it tasted bad. Go figure.) After a few hours we came back home and decided to go to Mc Donalds at Rt. 30 and Douglas. As we travelled along Fernwood, a police car came towards us and flicked on his lights. Hymie pulled over as stashed the wine bottle deep under the passenger seat of the Le Car, then followed it with hats and gloves. The guns were in the hatchback, covered with a blanket. The three of us looked great, all decked out in military surplus gear, sweaty from the hiking, mud stained, and not at all suspicious . Then the Officer started his routine: License, where are you going, where have you been… to which Hymie answered truthfully. Then “Do you know you were going 48miles per hour?” “Oh, no sir, I had no idea. We just came up that big hill back there and sometimes this little car has trouble with it when all of us are in the car” (Yes, another Le Car related incident). The Officer looked each one of us over “You boys all from around here?” yessirs, followed along with our addresses. He told us to stay put while he went back to his car. We sweated and didn’t say a word to each other the whole time. Then he came back. “You really need to be a lot more careful in a residential area boys. I don’t doubt this little foreign car couldn’t make the hill easily, but still keep the speed down. Since it’s your birthday, I’m going to let you go. Have a nice day.” We went to the Mc Donalds, ate some burgers, and laughed for the next two hours.

Speeding Tickets – I used to drive to a video store all the way out in Warrenville to get movies. Then we would have movie nights at my house.  Yes, this was VHS, and the VHS player had dials and was always flashing because we couldn’t set the time correctly. In terms of entertainment choices, it was the dawn of time. Once Eola road was finished from Rt. 34 to New York Street, my time to and from the store was really cut down. Hymie went with me to get a video, and on the way back we got caught by the light at Eola and New York. I said “I love this new section of road. It’s in great shape, it has twists and turns like a sports car track, no houses on it, and there are never any cops. Hang on.” When the light went green, I gave the Celica all it could take. The first curve was a righ hander just after a little rise in the road. By now I was going about 65mph. As I crossed lanes to the right and headed into the turn, I saw the cop car sitting in the median, facing me. I slammed on the brakes. The tired squealed and the car went into a minor slide. I corrected the slide just at the officer turned on his lights and pointed for me to pull over. Hymie stared straight ahead, face like a stone, while I was terrified. What would happen? Then I thought, hell, Hymie’s been pulled over twice, guilty as hell and we got out of it both times. I relaxed a little and tried to put on a smiley face. I rolled down my window and started with “Hello officer, is there a probl…..” That’s as far as I got. “Son, I’m going to give you ticket for speeding. Then I’m going to look around this car and give you every ticket I possible can. On top of that, I’m just hoping you’ve got something outstanding  Let me see your license.” He took it and walked around the car carefully inspecting the lights. After fifteen minutes or so of waiting he came back and handed me a ticket. “You are so lucky son. All I can do is give you a speeding ticket for going 53 in a 50 zone. I know you were going faster, but that’s all I got. Don’t bother trying to fight it, I’m going to show up in court for this one. Have a nice day.” And he left. I sat, stunned and speechless. Unfortunately, Hymie wasn’t. “You know what your problem is? You just aren’t good with people….”

Memoirs – Two Toilet Paper Tales

These are the collected memories of my spent and misspent youth. Names have been changed to both protect the innocent and to subvert any statutes of limitations that may still apply. I will also take liberties with the truth as in who did what, or maybe combine a couple of stories together that really didn’t happen together. Such is the nature of a memoir. I am seeking to entertain, not write a documentary. Hope you enjoy

Two Toilet Paper Tales

Yes, the great teenaged tradition of throwing TP up into people’s trees until they all look like great ghostly willows. Like the after party view of the house in “16 Candles”. Only none of the houses where we grew up looked like that one. Our houses were of a much more modest nature, they were closer together,  and we didn’t have any streetlights. So, an organized group could hit several in a night with only medium risk of getting caught. Having one’s house TP’d is a weird feeling, very contradictory. At first, you feel a bit victimized, like you have been singled out for something. Then, when you later talk about it, you realize that it is less victimization and more like legitimization. Someone went to the trouble and took the risk to stand around and throw stolen (we would raid the supply closet at the McDonalds on Douglas. They never locked that thing and always had a lot on hand. The closet was right by the side door. One could get a cheap burger, walk around the corner grab a case of TP and walk out the door unnoticed. Theoretically that is.) TP in the dark. They cared that much. Then you got a little cranky when you had to clean it up. Particularily if you had a parent jawing in your ear the whole time about “your friends leaving this damned mess in the yard….”.

The first tale involved the whole gang. Yes, the same crew of rocket surgeons that executed the “mass mooning of the church youth group” during the summer (please see archived entry). Now, my memory is failing, so I do not recall at all where we were or who’s house was getting the treatment. But there we were with rolls and rolls of TP carousing about in the front yard of this house. We weren’t even being  subtle about it, such was the arrogance of small-town high school seniors. It was a dark night in the fall, a cloudy night that made it all the darker. A car pulled up out front with the light off. Then it turned on the pretty red and blue lights on the roof. We all stopped and turned. Hmmm. Didn’t exactly plan on this. The officer turned off the lights and got out of the car. It was, at the time, Oswego’s only female police officer. “ I saw the cars parked on the other block and thought I recognized one of them, and I knew he didn’t live around here. Mr. Bueford, are you here?” Buef had a ’64 Malibu, candy red, loud and air shocked so it rode high in the rear. This officer had pulled Buef over several times, but had not been able to give him a ticket yet. He kept the bumper height exactly at the right level and never did burn outs in town, despite others trying to goad him into it. Anyway, yes, Mr. Bueford was there. “I’m here” he said. “How about all you boys get to cleaning this mess up while I speak with Mr. Bueford. Unless, of course, we should start calling parents…” We hastily started cleaning while Buef had his conference with the officer. All went fine, she wanted to talk to him about another kid with a hot car she thought he might know. We clean up and left. The next night, we decided to go out TPing. Why, you ask? Well, it was a nice night, and we had all that TP still in our cars to work with….. So we are mid way through another masterful work, when up pulls a car with the lights off. Then it turned on the pretty red and blue lights on the roof. Hmmm. This feels eerily familiar. The officer gets out and walks up to us. “I got a report of a bunch of kids vandalizing a house….oh. It’s you guys. Tell me, is Mr. Buef here?” We cleaned up again and gave up on TPing for a while.

The second tale has to do with my house. It was late fall, past the point of cool when it was getting downright cold. (Isn’t it weird how forty degrees can feel so damn cold in the fall, but when it hits forty in the spring you rush to put on shorts and break out the Frisbee?).  My doorbell rings at night during the week. That never happens. I answer it and there is my girlfriend. We had been dating maybe a bit over a month at that point. We had gone to Homecomming and as far as I knew everything was good. (just a side note, as a guy if you are in a relationship and you think everything is going good, you can be assured that it isn’t). Let it also be known that I was rather hooked on this girl. Then out of the blue she shows up on my doorstep just to talk. I let her in and we talk for a while in the entryway. I was so damned impressed that she came to see me. Overwhelmed in fact. We flirted and made small talk for maybe ten minutes. She talked a bit to my mom. Then she left. My mom told me “Watch out for her Scott, I don’t trust her. She works way to hard to be liked.” I rolled my eyes and started back downstairs as my mom went to the living room. “Maybe she just really likes me Mom. Maybe it’s important to her that she makes a good impression on you?” Mom crossed the living room to the front window. “Why did she say she stopped by?” “Well, she said she dropped one of the other cheerleaders off and stopped on the way back to her house. She wanted to see me” I answered.  Those last words were pretty strong for me. I found it hard to believe and at the same time was really proud of it. “Well, before you get all full of yourself, you may want to check the front yard.” I walked back up the stairs and opened the front door. The one tree in our front yard looked like someone had dipped it in stringy white icing that slowly leaked all over the yard. There was barely a green surface to be seen from the street all the way up to the house. Yes, she had occupied me and my mother while her henchman whitewashed the yard. Impressive. Impressive and intensely humbling at the same time.

Memior – A Prom, a Park, and Police

These are the collected memories of my spent and misspent youth. Names have been changed to both protect the innocent and to subvert any statutes of limitations that may still apply. I will also take liberties with the truth as in who did what, or maybe combine a couple of stories together that really didn’t happen together. Such is the nature of a memoir. I am seeking to entertain, not write a documentary. Hope you enjoy.

A Prom, A Park, and Police

Prom. A time and event full of pageantry, nerves, joy, ill-fitting tuxes, heartbreak, dancing, questionable fashion choices, bands, ugly corsages,  and lots of body to body contact. This experience is fairly common across a vast swath of the American culture. We were no exception in the Flatlands. In the 80’s the proms were at St. Andrews country club about 40 minutes away. A fairly nice place that must have really needed the money because I can’t imagine we left the place better than we found it year after year. For a bunch of semi-rural kids with blue collar sensibilities it was downright fancy. While the Prom experience is fairly common, when we were Seniors we added something else to the experience – Police Activity.

The prom itself was a fun night. The Alphonse Gang (that’s what we called ourselves, kind of. It’s a long story that involves a “racing car”, a large toy stuffed snowman, and poor judgment) all rented white, tailed tuxedos. We just differed in the color of the ruffles. Let that sink in a minute. 10 guys all in white, tailed tuxes. We looked like a Good-Humor Man class photo. Anyway, we ate, we danced, and the incidents were minor, so a good prom overall. We went to the after prom party at the Jr. High sponsored by the school (a wise move since the previous after prom parties were private and gaining quite a reputation). It was also fun, with silly activities, gym time and a justification to be out really, really late. All in all I got home about 4:30am. And we had plans for the next day. Big plans.

At 6am there was a car horn blaring in my driveway on the horn. I stumbled out to find the whole crew at my house (Hymie, Cisco, Buef, Boss, Frito, Beave, Crooked, Perdido, and Spanky) many with girlfriends in tow. (Just a note here on girlfriends. While they drove much of our actions, they oddly did not play huge roles in many of our adventures. It seems we did stupider things when they weren’t around. Hmmm, go figure) (a second note about girlfriends – I use nicknames for my friends in these little notes to protect any of them who may be under the impression that they are now upstanding respectable members of the community, but the girls didn’t really have commonly used nicknames. So until I figure out how to not incriminate, I am not going to use their names.) We have 6 or 7 cars and we were headed to Warren Dunes State park.

The park is at the extreme SW corner of Michigan, just over the Indiana state line. It is a beautiful place on the southern tip of Lake Michigan full of thick forests and towering sand dunes. I don’t remember what prompted us to pick that place, but I am sure that somebody had been there before. It was a good two and a half hour drive if not closer to three hours. We made it in just under 2 hours.

The park was easily as wonderful as advertised. It is a beautiful place on the southern tip of Lake Michigan full of thick forests, towering sand dunes, hills and plenty of places to picnic. We found a spot in the park and started to unload the cars. We were prepared for a big day. Chips, Sandwiches, Cookies, snacks and even a few tuppewares of mom-prepped picnic foods….and alcohol. Beer, Whiskey, and several  bottles of cheap, cheap wine. Drinking age in Illinois was 21, while the drinking age in Michigan was….still 21. One of three very important age related facts in this tale. We decided to skip the picnic area, too obvious and exposed, so we headed up a trail to the top of a hill. A good 100 feet in elevation and probably 250 feet worth of trail, lugging many very full coolers.  Once we got the summit we felt we had arrived. We broke out some food, cracked some beer and started to party like it was 1983. Opened a bottle of wine (screw cap for convenience) and passed it to a few of the girls (no, no cups necessary).  Just at the bottle circled back to me I heard someone say “Someone is coming up the hill”.

The guy coming up the hill was wearing a beige shirt and pants, work boots, and a broad brimmed hat. He had a big black belt with several pouches on it and he walked with an air of authority. We went into “Stash It” mode. The beer all went back into the cooler, except for the ones that wouldn’t fit – those got buried in the sand. I took the wine bottle, screwed the cap on tightly, and gave it a toss down the back of the hill into the woods. We set about to look like normal picnickers. He arrived at the top of the hill shortly.

“Hello kids, hope you are having a good day. I’m gonna keep this short. I am a  Park Ranger. My job is to make sure the rules are followed and that nobody gets hurt. Alcohol is not allowed in Warren Dunes State park, at all. Not if you are an adult, not if you are a senior citizen, and certainly not if you are under age. We need you to take out all of the alcohol in the coolers and bring it over here, and I need your IDs.”

Boss spoke up “ We didn’t see any signs about alcohol sir, are you sure it’s prohibited?” It was not a bad comeback, but it would have been much more believable if the cooler he was sitting on didn’t have an Old Style flap peeking out from under the lid and if he wasn’t leaning back against one of the “No Alcohol Permitted” signs.

“I didn’t come up here to argue, kids. I’ve got a long day ahead of me and I’d hate to start it off by calling the local police and their paddy wagon. If you do as I ask, we can handle it here. If you five me trouble, I can hand you over the county. They have a jail by the way.”

We opened up the coolers and put two cases of beer at his feet. “That’s a nice start” he said, “ but maybe I need to impress upon you the seriousness of the situation. From the looks of things you are all from out of state. It would sure be a pain to call each of your parents to come and get you, and even more of a pain to get your cars out of impound. Also, I see that some of you are 18, but some of the others, the girls in particular, don’t even had licenses. I’ll lay odds that they are under 16.  What I have here is some legal adults taking minors across state lines and in possession of alcohol. I bet that adds up to a least a couple of felonies. So, with that in mind, how about you do some digging and come up with a bit more.”

That sparked some activity. We dug like meth-fuled Bugs Bunnys and came up with another 6 beers and a bottle of Jack Daniels. A voice came out of the woods “Hey, Mike, I think they need to police the area also. This one almost hit me in the head” another ranger came out of the woods holding the wine bottle I had thrown for later. He looked at me “You’re lucky you didn’t break it. We’d have made you pick it all up then and written you a ticket for littering!” A few of us broke off and circled the hill picking up old bottles and cans. When it was all finished the Ranger had almost three cased of beer, two bottles of wine, and a fifth of Jack Daniels.

“Like I said earlier, we are going to make this simple. I can write you tickets for the alcohol violations, but if you are under 18, I have to call the police if you have alcohol. I see here that out of all of you, 5 are 18 (the third important age related fact that day). So, I am going to assume that the 5 of you are responsible for all this alcohol, is that right?”

We murmured our responses. “I’m not sure you heard me. If you 5 are responsible, you get tickets. If you aren’t, you all go to the county jail. So, are you responsible?”

“Yes Sir!” we barked together.

“Ok, the 5 of you come forward while the rest of you pack up your stuff and head to your cars.” We all headed back down the hill with our coolers and the confiscated alcohol. He wrote out the tickets while we packed up. I got one of the tickets as did Hymie, Cisco, Boss, and Buef. They kept our licenses and gave us the tickets instead.

“I need you boys to do one more thing for me. We really cannot wait for you to send in the fine, and I’m pretty sure you aren’t ever going to come back here. So, In order for me to let you go, I’m going to need you to pay the fines now. 5 tickets at $40 per ticket, $200. Go back to the group and pass the hat if you have to, but you aren’t leaving until it’s paid.”

This was pre-ATM cards, and pre the time for any of us to have checking accounts. We opened up the wallets and purses and found that we had about $260 dollars between us. I took $200 back over to the two ranger, who had been joined by three others by now in a couple of other cars. I watched as the youngest ranger put beer into the trunk of each car. I handed the man the money and glanced over at the other cars. He looked, then turned back to me and smiled. “We appreciate your business” was all he said.

We managed to salvage the day. We moved to another part of the park and had fun jumping off of the dunes, making obscene sand sculptures, and wading in the frigid lake. One the way home  Perdido scraped the family wagon against a guard rail when he fell asleep, but it was otherwise uneventful.

The State of Michigan sent my licence to me a couple of weeks later, no note just the license in a handwritten envelope. I told my mom I must have lost it. It was at least a little true.

Memoir – Getting Pulled Over…on my Bicycle. Three Times.

These are the collected memories of my spent and misspent youth. Names have been changed to both protect the innocent and to subvert any statutes of limitations that may still apply. I will also take liberties with the truth as in who did what, or maybe combine a couple of stories together that really didn’t happen together. Such is the nature of a memoir. I am seeking to entertain, not write a documentary. Hope you enjoy.

Getting Pulled Over…On My Bicycle. Three Times.

From ’75 to ’81 I spend a lot of my time on a bicycle. The extended neighborhood seemed custom built for kids on bikes. Wide roads, no major traffic, and miles and miles of asphalt. I had s sting-ray style bike that I later converted to a motocross style, then a cheap 1-speed, then finally a nice Schwinn 10 speed. We probably put 500 to 800 miles on the bikes during the summer and another 500 the rest of the year.  What often shocks people to know is that I have been “pulled over” by the police on my bicycle not once, not twice, but three times.

The first time may not really count, but we were on our bikes around 13 or 14 yrs old. We got caught in a spring rain while we were out so we sought shelter at Thompson Jr. High. They had an overhand by the front doors where the rain couldn’t hit us. There we sat on our bikes, patiently waiting out the cold early spring rain, when a police cruiser rolled by. He stopped out in the middle of the road, turned around, and pulled into the school turn around. He stopped where the buses let off, right in front of us, but maybe 100 feet or so away. He rolled down his window and was yelling to us, but it was hard to hear him. He started waving for us to come over to the car. Hymie didn’t have much of a way with words, but he could do a lot of communicating through his expressions and tone of voice. He gave the officer a weather report “It’s raining.” But what he actually communicated through tone and expression was, “hey, dumbass, we aren’t coming over there just to get wet and if you think we are then you are even more of a dumbass”.  While the officer may have translated it a bit differently, he did get the message. He reached down and pulled up his microphone then started in with the PA system “You guys need to clear out of there right now, and if we find any vandalism, we know where to find you”. Then he left. We waited out the rain and then went home.

The second time I got pulled over I was solo. One lone rebel against the man, or that’s what he thought. Cisco’s bike was at my house for some reason, so the next time I went to his house I grabbed his bike and held onto it’s handlebar while I rode my bike. That way I could handle two bikes at once. Let me clue you into the bike at this point. Cisco’s bike was broken so he was using his Dad’s. This 3 speed from the early 60’s was in good shape but looked like an old man’s bike (from our point of view, anything over 25 was old remember). It was dark green with a spring loaded granny seat and low flat handlebars. It would have been perfectly fine on “My Three Sons” or “Leave it to Beaver”, but it was for emergency purposes only in 1979. I managed to get down to Boulder Hill School along Boulder Hill Pass when the officer pulled up to me and actually said “Pull Over”. With some difficulty I got myself and my bikes stopped (only had one hand available for the hand brake). “So, can you explain to me why you have two bikes?” At this point is when that part of me that bristles at any authority rushed past my common sense and gained control of my mouth. “I don’t have two bikes”. “Then what do you call those things?” “Oh, these are bikes, but they aren’t both mine.” “Don’t try to be smart with me” “I wouldn’t think of being smart with someone like you sir” He paused at this point “Which bike is yours”” This one” I said pointing to the one I was on. “Whose is the other bike” “My friend’s, I am taking it back to his house” “Does your friend have a name?””Yes” then I paused. As far as I was concerned, I had answered the question. “What is his name?” “Cisco” (Actually I used his real name, but not his last name). “How do I know you didn’t steal this bike?” Here I laughed. Not ironically, not forced, I was actually cracked up by the officer. “Why would I steal this? It’s an ugly old bike I wouldn’t be caught dead on.” “I think it looks pretty good” he said. I did manage to stiffle the laugh, but only because I was so shocked. Then he says “Ok, how about I just follow you to where you are going and we see if this is your friend’s bike.” He got back in his car and pointed for me to go on. I rode the half mile or so to Cisco’s house with the officer slowly crawling along behind me. I didn’t hurry. Once at Cisco’s house, his dad verified that it was their bike. As the officer went to leave he stopped right in front of me and brought is face close to mine. I recognized an attempt at intimidation. The ridiculousness of a 6ft+ cop in uniform with a club and gun in the face of a 5ft 6in 14yr old holding a bike is hard to picture.  “I’m going to remember you” then got in his car and left.

The third time I got pulled over was a bit different and closer to what you would expect. There were three of us, but instead of Cisco, we had Spanky along with us. We were all staying the night at my house when we (probably Hymie, go figure) had the bright idea that it would be a fine night for a bike ride. It was midnight after all , with a clear sky and a full moon in the height of summer in the flatlands, so what could make more sense? And, so help me, there was not a single ounce of beer involved in this decision. The fact that we arrived at this idea without alcohol is a testament to the teen male mind. Anyway, we really weren’t interested in sticking around the neighborhood, so we headed out to the country. All in all, it was absolutely beautiful out that nigh. Farmland in mid summer on a nice night can be one of the most tranquil and wonderous places. We rode for close to two hours before deciding that we needed to head back. So we turned, but we thought to go through town instead of back the way we came. We reasoned that we had already been one way and we wanted to be sure to see something new. Another testament to teen male thinking. We headed towards town on Plainfield Road, the first busy road we used that night. Not three minutes on our way a car comes flying towards us then turns off onto a side road. About  three minutes after that a police car comes roaring up the road with the lights flashing and goes by us. Another couple of minutes later the police case comes up beside us with the lights still flashing and asks us to stop. He asked us our names and ages, then took our licenses. He was breathing hard and obviously angry at something. “So, you boys just out for a bike ride in the middle of the night?” Hymie did the talking for us “Yessir”. “Says here that you and you are 17” he said pointing to Hymie and I. “Yessir” “And that you” pointing to Spanky “are only 16”. “Yessir”. “Well boys, you are out after curfew, which isn’t a problem but for your 16 year old friend here. He can be arrested for this.” Hymie didn’t bother with the Yessir this time, he just let the stunned looks on our faces do the talking. “But, since you two are with him and you are over 16, you can be arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. We call that a misdemeanor in this county you know”. We shared a couple of worried glances. We knew someone had just gotten away from him, and he was pissed. “Boys, I really don’t want to arrest you. At your age parents get involved and that is never fun. You need to realize that being out in the middle of the night is dangerous. You can get hit by a car, run over by some drunk, or worse yet, maybe there’s another Gacy out there looking for young boys.” The Gacy murders had dominated the news for over a year and were a very real example of what could happen. We stayed silent, first smart thing we did all night. “So, I’m going to let you ride on back home. I know who you are now, and I hope to never see you out again.” We groveled our thank yous and headed to town. Then I got to thinking about it as we rode. If he was worried about our safety, would he really have just turned us loose to ride the 1o miles back home at 2am?

There is an epilog. About 2 months after the last incident, my dad was over at the house to pick up my brother for some time. Sitting there in the living room with my mom in the room, he says “Hey, I ran into a friend of yours at the bar a couple of weeks ago” (He was tending bar some nights in Yorkville at the time). “None of my friends can get into bars, Dad” which wasn’t just a defense, it was the truth. We didn’t even bother to try. “No, it was an adult. Do you recall the name Officer Friendly?” (Friendly not being the real name, but a handy stand in). “Uh, no” I said. Which was again the truth, I did not remember the officer’s name. “Well, the officer asked me my name and then asked me if I had any kids in Oswego. He then told me a story about pulling over some kids on bikes way out in the country a couple of months back, and he thought the name sounded familiar.” While I am an accomplished liar, it never worked with mom. I tried anyway “Nope, doesn’t sound familiar”. While mom was an accomplished lie detector, sometimes she just would rather not have the whole truth