Friday, October 17, 2008

A Gift Of . . . Aliens

Yes, Aliens.
Apparently, flowers are from somewhere - 'out there'.

A couple weekends ago, I was feeling pretty down with the first cold snap and the invariability that I would soon be losing all the colorful annuals in my yard. It seemed like such a waste.

What to do with them all? I'd given a bouquet to everyone on the road already and the flowerbeds were still overflowing. Literally. I'd thought of taking them to the nursing home, but who knows what the elderly there are allergic to. Maybe not such a bright idea.

Everyone talks about thanking our soldiers (and I thank them too!), but we have people right here, on our own soil, fighting small wars and putting their lives on the line every single day that don't seem to get much thanks from the general public. At all. So, I'd been toying with figuring out a way to thank the police for their service to us little people. Just a card didn't seem enough to me and I don't have the money to do something spectacular.

You see, we've lost too many of our cops lately from senseless acts. These men and women take a chance on losing their lives every time they step up to a car on a simple, routine traffic stop. They have no idea what will transpire when they step up to that car or who the person is that's in it. Will this be the last traffic stop they ever make?
People don't seem to see them as normal, family oriented people, but more like just the dude that writes them a ticket at the most inopportune time when they were already late for a meeting, or the guys that can just go away and stay out of our lives - unless we need them.

Why let the cold take the glory of all those flowers when they could be put to much better use - a thank you.

My daughter and I picked as many flowers as possible and wrapped them up into ten huge, tissue paper covered bouquets to drop off at the local State Troopers barracks. I wrote out a small thanks for your service on a beautiful patchwork flag card I'd been saving for something special. This certainly seemed like the 'something special'!

So, off my husband, youngest daughter and I went, giddy with happiness at sharing something we love with people we're very thankful for.

There's so much humor in life. Too bad it doesn't have the greatest timing. Or maybe it does. About a half mile before we pulled into the barracks, the brakes locked up. Oh, baby! By the time we pulled in and stopped, we were smoking. Literally! Huge billows of smoke pouring from the rear wheel. So not funny at the time. Poor old fart of a car.

Anyway, the youngest and I finally get through Fort Knox while hubby was dealing with the brakes. (that place is impossible to get into! who knew?) The trooper on the other side of the glass gave us the strangest look when we explained why we were there. She stared quizzically from the flowers, to me, to my daughter and back to the flowers again. You know how dogs get that sideways cock of the head when they're trying to puzzle out what that stupid human mumbling means? Exactly that!

She just couldn't understand someone popping in off the street, on a normal Saturday, to drop off a 'thank you' to cops. I must have some ulterior motive, right? A bomb in the flowers? Anthrax, perhaps? Maybe a listening device?

It was one of the strangest moments of my life. I honestly don't blame her for being wary. Not only was this a weird situation, but it's their job to be suspicious - it's how they stay alive.

After much convincing, she finally came around and took the flowers from us, still with that astonished look on here face as to why anyone would be thanking them for anything.

It's strange. Do we really not show our appreciation so much that it's an alien concept when it does happen? Come on! I know a guy that stops at a doughnut place a couple times a year as a treat for himself and when he does, if he sees the local cop sitting somewhere (usually doing radar), he grabs him an extra coffee and doughnut as a simple thank you. Of course, the first time he did it, the cop acted as if he was trying to hand him a grenade in a bag.

Are we that out of touch with our service people that they can't understand why someone would want to extend a simple thank you? What does that say about us all?

So, find a cop and give him a flower - find a fireman and hand him a fresh coffee and say, "Thanks". Know an EMT? Shake his hand and thank him/her for doing such a great job. Start the 'thank you' ball rolling in your own town or city.

The world could use a lot more thank yous. Besides, it makes you feel really, really good - My husband, daughter and I are still smiling!