Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Street Crossings

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Street Crossings

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IT TELLS YOU a lot about the level of excitement in my life right now, that the best part of my usual weekend is watching all-day reruns of “Monk.”

When “Monk” was a new television program, his neurotic and compulsive antics put me in the floor laughing helplessly.

It was one show I tried to watch each week.

Now I just chuckle heartily at the reruns.

If you never watched the show, you’ll miss some of the humor in this article. But it’s funny, let me assure you. Please laugh out loud occasionally as you read this.

And as usual, I am going somewhere with this.

Monk was a San Francisco detective who was suspended from active duty. Because of his special skills the police department kept him on as a consultant. Because of his overwhelming neuroses he had to have an assistant.

On a recent episode Monk escorted his assistant’s little girl around on Halloween Night.

She was costumed as a fairy princess. Monk wore a school crossing guard’s outfit. He had a neat over-the-shoulder-and-around-the-waist reflective safety belt. He was carrying a ‘stop’ sign.

Actually he wasn’t so much wearing a Halloween costume as he was attired ‘Monk’ style for the job of escorting the precious daughter around the neighborhood in the safe pursuit of trick-or-treats.

He was appropriately compulsive and funny.

Maybe you’re not old enough to appreciate ‘school crossing guard.’ I don’t think schools still have crossing guards.

That’s a pity because maybe they could grow up to become duly deputized Downtown J-Turn Enforcement Officers, but that’s another story and I’m sure you wouldn’t be interested.

Crossing guards were a big deal when I was in elementary school. A student would be selected to be crossing guard. He’d could get out of class a little bit early and strut to the office where he’d put on the school’s official over-the-shoulder-and-around-the-waist reflective safety belt and pick out a ‘stop’ sign. Or was it a flag?

Anyway, he’d dash excitedly to his assigned street corner to halt traffic so that the little darlings could safely get across. I don’t think adults really appreciated being stopped by a self-important 12-year-old kid wearing an over-the-shoulder-and-around-the-waist reflective safety belt and waving a stop sign. But they stopped anyway.

I need to mention here that this was back in the day when children actually walked to and from school. I’m serious. Even if they had to walk as far as four or maybe even five blocks. And the kids actually waited patiently until their classmate crossing guard said it was okay to cross the street.

After all of the kids were safely through that dangerous crossing on their way home, the crossing guard would return to the school office and give up the glamorous crossing guard outfit, proud of his safety accomplishment.

Every student wanted to be the crossing guard. Just like we wanted to be selected for pounding the chalk dust out of erasers after school.

I may be wrong but it seems that only boys got to be crossing guards. I guess it was because the school administration figured that only the boys were stupid enough to fling their bodies in front of a crazed motorist who might be trying to run down a pack of little darlings.

We volunteered to be crossing guards also to impress the girls although at the time we didn’t know why. We’d understand later.

Fast forward a few years.

I promised you I was going somewhere with this.

In Navy boot camp we had ‘road guards.’ Except for the uniform they were pretty similar to school crossing guards.

Our boot camp company would be marching somewhere real important, and when we came to an intersection the boot company recruit commander would shout “Road guards post!”

The marching company didn’t miss a step. The designated road guards would rush out to block the intersection even if there wasn’t vehicle within 20 miles. They stood at ‘parade rest.’ Hands behind the back; feet spread just so. Eyes fixed firmly on the road ahead. Tummy sucked in to impress any girls who might be within a 20-mile radius.

There were none, of course. This was boot camp.

After the whole company was past the intersection, the road guards would run to catch up and resume their place in the column. Boot camp was rigorous but safe because of these brave future sailors.

If there ARE crossing guards at elementary schools these days I’m sure that they are properly armed just as the Lord and the Arkansas Legislature intended.

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THINGS I LEARNED from opening email: The first CD pressed in the US was Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.”

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WORD GAMES. The twins: Twist and Turn. Exercise, anyone? Twist was formerly paired with Shout. Get it? Twist and Shout?

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HE SAID: “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford, industrialist

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SHE SAID: “As long as the people don’t fear the truth, there is hope. For once they fear it, the one who tells it doesn’t stand a chance. And today, truth is still beautiful … but so frightening.” Alice Walker, novelist (‘The Color Purple’)

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SWEET DREAMS, Baby