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Cop Land...

Cop Land. Not the Stallone movie, heaven forbid. The town of Newport Rhode Island does a masochistic thing every year, and hosts the annual Police Parade. Police departments far and wide send their representatives to march in the parade. I say masochistic because Newport is also the "summer home" of some of the greatest of "America's Castles", including but not limited to the Vanderbilt's cottage, The Breakers. (Click to see it, you'll want to burn down your house.) Some cottage.

But this isn't an update about the idle rich, since I clearly wouldn't know a thing about that sort of stuff. This is about how for the second year in a row, my name became Gunga Din. My hubby is a member of the Police Honor Guard, and for a few years has been traveling up to Newport to march. Last year, he took a notion that I should finally come along to see some of the beauty he would come home and be unable to describe. Fair enough...through the largess of our friend Crickett (who has a masochistic streak of her own apparently, because she babysat for us) I was able to take off for the weekend to play with the boys.

Now, about these boys. These are good boys. They work damned hard practicing for *very* little compensation. They maintain their uniforms (which is a whole nother tale of woe) and tend to their post parade blisters. They argue, they laugh, they look damned good and they take first prize. Effort like that deserves some attention, and I hope this year they finally get some. There is a certain multiple hat wearing guy that should be beaten with a big wet fish because he can't seem to get it into his head how well these guys represent their town and department. Before I get totally pissed off here, I should get on with my tale. But I have issues. Can you tell?

Now when I first went along, I thought I was just going as a spectator. Anyone who knows me should figure out how long *that* lasted. It was hot last year. Damned hot. The guys wear full dress uniforms made of wool, knee boots and ties (presumably there's some underwear involved, not that *I'm* going to ask!) and are carrying either many pounds of rifle or flag and performing drill maneuvers while marching for two miles up and down hills. (You can see why I think they deserve recognition for this, it's no cakewalk. But I digress.) So John asked me if I wouldn't mind walking along and carrying some water for them. Naturally I said yes. Anyone who knows what it is like to dress up funny on the weekend and go out into the hot understands how much you need water. Last year I learned they also need sunblock and aspirin and this year they needed cotton balls for their ears. (Shooting off 14 rounds over two hours gets to your hearing after a while.) This is where I came in. Anything I could do, I was happy to, since they were nice enough to not mind me tagging along in the first place. Though I did tell John that next year, there had better be a collection taken up to get me a color guard t-shirt with "Support Staff" printed on the back, so I don't look like some schmuck stomping along the parade route getting in the way of people taking pictures. I want to be an "official schmuck".

It was a good weekend. It was a great weekend. We got to go up on Friday night this year, which led to some speculation about which room we were staying in, since there was a "very happy couple" in one, which thankfully wasn't ours. Not that ours wasn't happy, but ....oh never mind. Probably too much information. Let's just say this. We've had three kids for a lotta years now. I know how to be discreet. Saturday we spent wandering around on our own, realizing that in general we wouldn't really know what to do with a 127 room "cottage". Saturday night was the tradtional dinner at Johnny's Atlantic Beach Club, with the usual shenannigan's (A big Happy Birthday going out to our beloved leader, Tommy Staron!!) and a visit from the Nassau County Pipe Band. I love the pipes, but damned if I don't cry quietly to myself when they play Amazing Grace. Especially in a room filled with cops that I love best. We left before the dancing this year, since I wasn't feeling too well. I tend to agree that the breakfast in the hotel resturant was the culprit.

USMC Silent Drill Platoon Sunday was the parade, which was followed by a pig roast in The Glen. Again the pipers performed (and did Amazing Grace of course) and this year was something special, since the USMC Silent Drill Platoon put on a "private show". If you ever get the opportunity to see these gentlemen in person, I highly recommend that you go. The precision and showmanship is breathtaking. The day ended for us at about quarter after 6 in the evening as we headed back down to home. It was almost too quickly over, and I'm glad that I was able to go again with John since things around here have been extremely hectic lately and I needed the time "off". I don't know that playing den mother to a bunch of cops strikes you as taking a vacation, but it did me a whole world of good. As long as they don't mind me doing the go-fer shuffle for them in the future, I plan to make a habit of it. As long as I get that t-shirt...

See ya next week...

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Copyright 2002 Adjustable Wench AKA Lisa Salim

This is mine. It belongs to me.
Steal my ideas, thoughts or images and I shall unleash a plague upon your house. I know people ya know.
Really mean people.
With guns.