‘Little Boy Blue’ lived near my family…close to the roof that covered my boy’s heads for most of his young life. He grew from small into tall together with the two of my own. I remember a pack of skinny lads dressed in baggy white pants of polyester. Baseball teams were named after crawling reptiles in green or striped jungle animals outlined on the front of uniform shirts. Mothers hoped elastic waists were tight enough to keep them from falling down to ankles or knees. Each spring and summer and well into fall they’d sit on the bench sloshing down bottles of colored Gatorade between seven innings or more. After one or the other slid into home-base, hands often slapped ‘high-fives.’ Miniature clouds of cocoa-colored dust burst above caps of red. Poof!
Over the years, Little Boy Blue developed into a strong, caring and protective young man. Knowing his buddy lived with diabetes, he watched over him throughout the years. When my son was twenty-two, this man of young protectiveness, called me. I rushed over. With a face as white as chalk and eyes limp and closed, my son was clearly in danger. Able to respond only to my voice, a bird’s sized mouth opened, allowing me to spoon sugar under his tongue. Thank God for his friend in blue!
On another occasion, my son’s then fiancé telephoned his very best friend, the same one who wore blue. Worried, she said, “I can’t get an answer by phone. Please, will you go check on him?” With no questions asked, this young man in blue raced to my son’s side, where luckily everything was fine. Still, as always, my son’s tall friend of sweet soul was there for him.
A few years ago this young man of huge heart fell in love, marrying a delightful girl he met in college. Her quiet demeanor together with kindness was the perfect match to his love of life and God. Together, our family attended their glorious wedding, helping to celebrate their future of anticipated joy.
Yesterday, at my grandson’s Christening, the Godfather in ‘Blue’ was missing. Having just been relieved from an all-night shift at work, he was home in bed. I’m sure he preferred to be at the church service to fulfil his duty. Instead, physical and emotional exhaustion had taken its toll on him. His young wife, the beautiful girl chosen to be Godmother, smiled lovingly when speaking of her dear husband. “It’s been very difficult the last fifteen days,” she said, measuring her words carefully. “He needs to rest.”
It is not lost on me that some people do not look to see the other side of a policeman’s life. First and foremost, this cop truly did choose his profession to “Serve and Protect.”
For this ‘Little Boy in Blue,’ I know it to be true.