New times don't call for new greetings
Published: Friday, May 5th, 2006
Recently, a group of us began to reminisce about other times in our area and where pleased to have so many positive memories about those gracious days. Maybe we were just less hurried and harried then and had the time to use even the simplest social amenities. One of us began the conversation by pointing out that she had waved at a law enforcement officer one time without having the greeting returned. Most of us agreed that was not particularly unusual any more because few, unless they are personal friends, bother to acknowledge such a simple greeting because they seem to be otherwise occupied or may choose to avoid the appearance of being overly friendly. Some even walk right by the coffee table without so much as a nod, thus giving the impression that we don’t exist. I guess that subject sort of got on my nerves because I grew up amid peace officers and watched them and their fellow officers as they spoke to or waved at all they met, whether or not they knew them. Of course, in those days, we knew all the officers, whether county, city, or state, whereas, today, we know only a few by name and recognize the others only if they are in uniform. We also read much about them and saw their pictures in the paper frequently so we recognized them at all times. Although we had more people here then, we had fewer officers in all branches and had a chance to call them by name wherever we met. Perhaps we were also friendlier then because we had the opportunity to see each other as we walked up and down Main Street while doing our shopping or while merely meeting at one of the drug stores in order to enjoy a cold drink and warm conversation. I think we were more relaxed, and so were they. Neither of us seemed to pose a threat to the other because we weren’t trying to make any kind of impression — we could just be ourselves. Dad spoiled me in more ways than one, but he was very careful to teach me that peace officers were friends and that I should speak to them whenever I saw them. Because he would let me go with him on occasion, I watched his actions and noted he tipped his hat whenever he met a woman on the street and removed that hat when he sat at a table at which women were present. He also shook hands with the men he met along the way and always took time to exchange words with anyone who seemed to spend a little time visiting. I noted that he was friendly with people of all ages and took just as much time to visit with children to like and respect him rather than to fear him. He said that any peace officer should be approachable and should be thought of as a friend instead of as a threat. Although times have changed, and I no longer know many of the officers, I will continue to wave and will try to speak if given the opportunity. Some of us just naturally follow our heritage and enjoy remembering the times that were.
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