Whenever I hear someone say or read something to the effect of “what did you want to be when you grew up?” and that person says something like, “well, I always wanted to be a police officer, and I worked really hard for my goal and here I am now, living my dream!” It’s when I hear that, I realize I never wanted to be anything in particular when I grew up. I’ve always had short-term goals, like, how to get the boy who sat behind me in sixth grade to stop calling me ‘brown cow’ or how to get the ends of my hair to curl under in the perfect pageboy, or how to get that incredibly delicious, tall, dark and handsome (literally) ninth grader to notice me. Those kinds of things.
I’ve always seemed to go with the flow and accept what came my way. (By the way, I did get that ninth-grade boy to notice me and we dated for a year and a half, my first true love and I’ve never forgotten him.) When I was a junior in high school, my mom made me take shorthand. I didn’t want to and it’s one of only a few times that I can remember that she took a firm stand with me. (I always thought she didn’t care, but in hindsight, I was the only girl and she probably figured I could make my way easier than my brothers–they are boys, lol.) Much to my surprise, I loved shorthand and excelled at it. One thing I wanted was to be able to take shorthand at 110 words per minute (I made it to 100) and for those of you who aren’t familiar with shorthand, that’s pretty fast. Because I excelled at shorthand I was offered one of the primo jobs in the work/study program at school.
My cousin and I were always close. She is only three months younger than me and her mom and my mom were the only two girls in a family of eight children. They were less than two years apart in age and so were very close. My cousin dated a boy briefly when we were juniors in high school, but it didn’t last. I met him and liked him okay. Then after they broke up, he started coming to my house. I wasn’t crazy about him, but “madam go with the flow (me)”, ended up dating him and subsequently marrying him when we were only eighteen. Just floating down the river.
When I started working full time, I worked for the Judge in the Probate Court, the same job I got through the work/study program at high school. When I was pregnant with my daughter, an attorney who I’d gotten to know, said to me “after you have that baby, come and see me, I have a job you might like.” I did. Got the job and I liked it. I worked for attorneys for several years until one year while watching the attorneys I worked for play in a “Law Enforcement League” softball game, a man who ran the police academy said to me “why don’t you come to the police academy?” I did. I learned I loved police work, even if in the beginning I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with my .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson. Then one day while still working for attorneys, I was told that the small municipality nearby was hiring and the person said “why don’t you apply?” I did. I was hired.
Fast forward two and a half years and someone said “hey, the Sheriff’s Department is hiring, why don’t you apply?” I did. I was hired. And I stayed through twenty-seven years as a Detention Officer in the jail, as a Crime Scene Investigator, as a Road Patrol deputy and then finally as a Detective, where I spent the last ten years before I retired.
I’ve always just floated. I’ve never wanted much of anything very badly. I’ve been so blessed that good things have just come my way. Those things that I have passionately wanted though, never came about. But those were all things there wasn’t anything I could do to change the outcome. I couldn’t keep my mom from dying, I couldn’t keep my husband from leaving me, I couldn’t keep my brothers from dying, and I couldn’t chase away the demons that took my stepdaughter.
And maybe that’s why I’ve never wanted for anything passionately. Nothing else really matters except the people I love. I’ve been truly blessed throughout my life and now as I come to the “afternoon hours” (I don’t want to say ‘evening’, that sounds so morbid) of my life, I hope and pray these blessings continue and I continue to float contently down the river of life.