Friday, February 25, 2011

It's just a Family Thing

I just wanted to change the pace for a moment and get away from all the B.S. that is happening around the worLd and let you take apeekk into my family just for bit.  If you wonder how it all started, take a good look at he man on the left, that is my father James"Jim" W. Parker with me at age 6, with the Midland Police Department.  Dad began his career in 1958 serving the public for 39 years. When leaving the military shortly after the Korean War,  Dad returned to the Rio Grande Valley, and found a job as a salesman with "Bledsoe Music Store,"  selling pianos, he worked there for a couple of years before making the switch to Law Enforcement in 1957. He applied for and went to work for the Harlingen Police Department. I was six at the time and I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday. One memory I recall was when he would come home for lunch, he would crank up the siren, his notice to me that he was home for lunch and to scamper home if I wanted to see him. I ran as fast as my two little legs would carry me. I would run and dad would be standing in the front yard waiting for me to appear. As I rounded the corner I would run straight to him and make the leap of faith, right into his wide open arms. He would swing me around in circles making me dizzy. I think I am still affected by the spins, because I have been accused of being a little dizzy to this date. I can't remember exactly when, but dad excepted a job with the Midland Police Department. I want to say it was latter part of the year of 1958, because all I could remember was it was snowing like crazy when we moved to our little house on Kentucky street.  I also remember the school was only two blocks away, so I had to hoof it everyday.  During the summer, my Granny who lived in Abilene came to visit us. "Granny" as I so fondly called her, would spoil me, so the rumor was. The one thing that I remember my Granny for was she made a  police uniform, exactly, and I mean exactly like my dad's uniform. The uniform was made out of one of my dad's uniform. When I first saw what she made, my head swelled as big as the biggest melon. I  had the police hat, a real Midland P.D. issued badge, a hand tooled leather "Sam Browne" with a holster a cap pistol, the belt keepers and handcuff case. Unknown to me, my dad had sought and received permission from the Chief of Police to make me the police department mascot, so I was told. My privileges were I could hang out around the squad room, sometimes, if the jail was empty, I could go and visit the jailer. I got to ride in the Police units,  just to go get donuts however. I also would wear my uniform to school! Yes to school, and I would be ticked off if I was not allowed to wear my uniform everyday, but my mom would control how often I could wear it.   Finally it went to my head just a little to much when one day, I was going to "ARREST' a classmate for something stupid.  Guess what, That was the last day, I wore my uniform to school to say the least, in addition, my dad sorta busted my butt, just as a reminder that my behavior was out of line.  He was good at that you know.
Shady and Justin
McAllen Police Department
So when anyone ever ask me why I got into law enforcement, I said I had no choice, it was in my blood, I loved the work, and I loved the people associated with the profession.  So why in the world people asked me, why did you work 14 years for the rail road instead of being a police officer. The answer was "my dad did not allow me to be an officer." First off he said, you WILL get your education, plus there is absolutely NO money in law enforcement." (right again)  I worked part time for the railroad, went to college for 2 years.  Well to say one thing, the money on the railroad was great,  so I left school and went to work full time for Missouri Pacific Railroad as a brakeman. In 1972 I changed over from brakeman and became a "locomotive engineer trainee." The "old heads" as they were known on the railroad started retiring at a rapid pace, so Missouri Pacific came up with a quick solution in those days. A 6 month training program. (another story for another time). The bottom line was I went through the program,  took my final examination in Little Rock Arkansas, and was promoted to Locomotive Engineer in 1973 at the age of 21, very young to be driving a choo-choo train. I was an engineer for 14 years or so, but the call of the "Cop" was getting louder and louder and greater than my love for the railroad. . Every time I would see a highway patrol unit go driving by, I wanted to be in the front seat going with them.  My wife knew of my desire to be a police officer, but my loyalty to my family came first. One day in conversation she told me that the McAllen Police Department was hiring and giving the entrance test. They had 15 vacancies to fill. My wife encouraged me to go take the test. I drove to McAllen and took the test. After the testing period I was notified that I had passed. The complete hiring process took about 6 months, the final stage was the oral board, I passed it and was hired. 26 years later I had to step down from a job, that I love dearly, a job I respect and honor. Now my son has started his career in law enforcement, following his Grand Dad, me, and his uncle into a very noble and honorable profession, I hope he enjoys it as much as I have. So far he is into his into his sixth year, so I guess he likes it.  Like I told him, you will never get rich, but the life and satisfaction of public service is one that will make you proud. My dad passed away and I know that he is watching down on his grandson, keeping an eye on him. I know that Dad is proud of his two sons and grandsons who proudly carried on the tradition.
The tradition continues.

So until the next time........I will see you at the cross roads, God Bless You and may God Bless America.


1 comment:

Katherine said...

Wow Shady I really enjoyed reading this ... you have an amazing history and quite evidently a beautiful family. What fantastic memories those photos must bring back, they're wonderful! You have so much to be proud of to be sure! Have a wonderful weekend Shady & thanks for popping by my blog. I appreciate your kind words of support! Cheers from OZ!