This morning, I found that my inner Scot was alive and well, by which I mean I was ready to take off a man’s head with a meat cleaver, in one lunging jump, whilst screaming the Clan war cry like a banshee. Those that know me could easily counter with “so what else is new?” except that, this morning, I’d had my coffee, so this was not my normal tirade against the dawn.
The reason for my ire was different this morning, yet not a reason that is unprecedented, and as such I was feeling very much in touch with the ancestral women of my line.
Generations ago, the wife of the Chieftain of my Clan took out his rival with a quick beheading at the end of a common kitchen utensil. Her reason for doing so was that he’d insulted her husband.
You see, she’d seen the turmoil the rival Chieftain had repeatedly caused her beloved husband, and upon inviting him to her home to politely request he cease and desist, she found her request not only denied, but salted with derision as well.
So, she killed him. With a meat cleaver. He’d insulted the Chieftain, and had brought strife into the Clan home, and she got pretty touchy about it.
What the Marchioness did was set a tone for the rest of the women down the line. That hearth belongs to the lady of the house. The sanctity of the home and the peace therein is her responsibility. The devil himself doesn’t cross that hearthstone without her say so, and damned well doesn’t do it without a fight. Her assertion still holds true among the Gordon women today:
One does not simply insult our men and bring strife into our home without repercussion.
Those are the rules.
So this morning, when I returned from taking our wee one to school, and walked into our home to notice the Man standing at the back window, gazing uncharacteristically at nothing in particular, my scotty senses went off. I asked if he was angry about something. His response? “No,” unaccompanied by an acknowledgement of my presence. Obviously, he was not interested in expounding on his mood, or the causation thereof.
Never one to really follow a cue, I pressed on in my questioning. He quietly obliged me with an answer. The reason for lackluster gazes into the rain could be summed up in 1 short phrase: “I hate going to work, where I know I am unappreciated.”
I watched silently as this man I married, the one that’s never once failed me, always met my expectations, and always taken care of us and others, stood looking defeated.
His answer is what sent me right over the edge from Brigid, goddess of the hearth, to Kelly, murderous chieftainess and expert cleaver wielder.
Twenty years ago, when he signed on with the State Police, my husband did it for all of the right reasons. He chose this career field because it made a difference, because it enabled him to protect the weaker and innocent among us, to deliver hope to those in hopeless situations, to help, even in some small way, to procure and proffer justice in an unjust situations. He chose this career because it meant he could stand up and do what was right, even if no one else would. And, during that twenty years, he has accomplished exactly what he’d set out to do. He’s made sure a child rapist made it to court instead of walking away unpunished. He served to break up riots and keep the peace so that innocent citizens could walk again without fear. He’s found, amidst the burned wreckage of a neonate transport flight, a small baby’s body, so that the remaining family could at least have closure. He’s purchased clothing for little children, as well as offered them comfort in some pretty tough times. He’s stood for beaten women, and rape victims and against wickedness in all forms.
I can’t count the number of times that our family time has been interrupted by a phone call from one of his troops that have a problem, work or personal, and they chose to call my husband instead of the sergeant on call. He’s always taken the call, never complained, and has done his best to advocate for his people. This man holds more executive level training than his current chief holds, yet he never lords that fact over anyone. Most people are completely unaware.
This is a man, and a cop, deserving of respect. He holds dear all the qualities that a police officer should: integrity, honesty, forthrightness, courage, loyalty, fidelity and courage. (Yes, I know I said courage twice.)
People respect this man.
I respect he hell out of this man.
Yet, today, he stood gazing out the window knowing he’d go into work and be berated by the upper echelon because he, or his “people” didn’t make their “minimum performance standard” (read: citation quota) because they’d chosen instead to pursue a case, or right a wrong. He was defeated by the administrative measures of performance, because those standards only measure the amount of revenue and funding that is generated for the Department, as opposed to the number of lives changed. This is a good man, that’s been reduced to counting traffic citations, and nit-picking time spent on administrative duties vs. patrol ops, and taking reprimands from pud-pulling, barrel-assed administrative desk jockeys that wouldn’t remember real police work if it bit them on that barrel ass, service-dog style.
This man cares about people. He cares about the job he does. He cares about the integrity of the badge as well as the overwhelming responsibility that comes with wearing it, in a way that I wish his administrators understood at least half as well.
I have watched his frustration and disheartenment over the state of police work and the direction of his career for many years, and I remained silent because my open mouth would only serve to make the rest of his years on the job more difficult. But that’s going to have to change.
You see, today, the administration of the State of New Mexico came into my house and insulted that man, my husband; and in this family, one does not simply insult our men and bring strife into our home without repercussion.