Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Family Affair

This post has nothing to do with issues in the Church. It is a completely self-centered post about my family, and a promotion for a book my husband has written.

You’ve been warned!

Mom with my two sisters and me -
that's me on the right.
Today is the anniversary of my mother’s birth; her name was Ruth, and she was born in 1927 and died at age 64 on February 15, 1992 (I wrote about that here). She had been widowed in 1973 when my dad died of a heart attack at the ripe old age of 45.  After that, she took various jobs to pay off bills my father had left behind from a failed business, and she ended up years later working as the secretary to the Chief of Police in Martinez, California.

She liked that job very much, until an incompetent chief came into the position, leading to a few years during which she was unhappy. But then, lo and behold, a new chief was to be hired! She met the applicants and lobbied for the one she liked best. If you knew my mom, you would not be surprised to learn that her top choice was the one who got the job.

My mom liked this new chief very much, and talked to me about him often (at that point, I was living in Chico, CA, a 2-1/2 hour drive away). I was happy that she was happy, because my mom and I were pretty close.

The new chief’s name was Jerry Boyd.

It wasn’t too long after that that my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. I made the two-hour trip to go to a couple of doctor appointments with her, and on one of those trips she insisted that I meet “the chief”. She escorted me to his office, introduced me to him, and told me, “Tell him what’s going on.”

Well, I didn’t know the man, of course, and wondered how much he really wanted to hear about my mother’s battle with cancer! But I told him briefly what the story was up to that point, and he said, “If there’s anything we can do for you and your family, you let me know.” And somehow, I felt that was an absolutely sincere offer, and I was impressed.

My mom’s house was only a couple of blocks from the police station, and when she became bed-ridden, at least once a week, Chief Boyd would walk down the street to visit her. By that time, I was staying with her most of the time to care for her, and so he visited with me, too.

One day, my mom, knowing that I was a bit stressed out, told the chief, “Take her out for coffee or something. She needs to get out of here for a while.”

And so he did. The rest is history. We were married less than a year after her death. 

Jerry with new-born Ruthie
And not long after we were married, I became pregnant with our daughter. Once we were learned we were having a girl, there was never any question about what to name her: Ruth – but we always have called her Ruthie.

In 2003, we moved to Baker City, Oregon, after Jerry had retired for the second time. It didn’t take long for him to un-retire, though; he became the director of the Baker County 911 Department. He retired from that job earlier this year, after eight years of service.

Interestingly enough, though, when he retired, our daughter Ruthie, who will turn 19 in December, applied for a position at the 911 Center as a reserve dispatcher – and she is working there currently; she stands to gain quite a bit of training if she sticks with it, and seems to think this is a “career” direction she would like to pursue for the time being. Who knows? Perhaps she’ll be the 911 Director some day! 

Back to Jerry and his book: Jerry has worked in law enforcement for about a hundred years. Okay, not that many, but a lot. He worked in Los Angeles during the bad 1960’s, surviving the Watts riots, Rose Bowl Parades, and even a gunshot wound. He also worked in Irvine, CA, and he was the Chief of Police in Coronado, CA before he moved north to take the chief’s position in Martinez. All of that was before I had ever met him; he was married to a wonderful woman named Patty, whose health problems claimed her life when she was 40, and they had three sons who’ve grown up to wonderful husbands and fathers. I figure Patty had a pretty good hand in making Jerry the good husband he has always been to me, and I pray for the repose of her soul daily.

The years in LA were the wild ones of Jerry’s career, and he compiled many of the stories from that era into a book that is quite entertaining – it’s got humorous stories, serious stories, and a couple of very sad stories.  Now, if you think my assessment of the book is biased, you may be right! But honestly, I can say that, although this is not the kind of book I would ordinarily pick up and read, I did really enjoy it.

The book is available on Amazon; go here for more info.

 Firestone Park: Policing South Central Los Angeles

Here’s one of my favorite stories from my husband’s book:

Horsing Around

A recent photo of Jerry on "Rain"
The second story deals with a prank I played on one of my favorite lieutenants, which just about backfired. It may explain why I don’t play pranks very often. As I mentioned earlier, my-father-in-law was a transplanted Midwest farmer who kept horses at a place the family owned on the Mojave Desert. Through his influence, I actually became a horseman of sorts, and that carries over to today. On the small ranch where we now live, I’ve bred, raised, and trained both American quarter horses and American paint horses, and I ride on a regular basis.

One graveyard shift, I was working as the watch sergeant inside the station. We were short on sergeants, and were actually running without one in the field. About 3am, I heard one of the units dispatched to a call about three blocks from the station. It involved two stray Shetland ponies that were walking down the middle of Carson Boulevard. The two-man unit arrived and confirmed that, indeed, there were two such animals that must have escaped from the backyard pasture of a house in the neighborhood. The deputies asked what they were supposed to do. I had an idea.

I told the dispatcher to advise them I would be en route. I had the watch deputy cover my desk, and I took the sergeant’s unit and drove to the scene. I knew we kept some rope in the trunk of that vehicle. When I got there, I fashioned two rope halters and put them on the ponies. I told one of the deputies to drive my car back to the station, and that I would walk the ponies there and tie them to the station flagpole. Either the owner would call when he found them missing, or Animal Control could come and get them later in the morning when they were open for business.

On the way back to the station, I had one of those “the devil made me do it” moments. When I got the ponies to the station, I tied them to the flagpole and went inside. I asked the watch deputy where the lieutenant was, even though I was pretty sure he was in the break room having coffee and reading the paper – which is where he usually was when things were slow. I hatched my plan.

Jerry - back in the day...
I would walk both ponies up the ramp from the parking lot, through the outside door, and into the booking cage which, at the time, was devoid of any prisoners. I had the jailer poised ready with a Polaroid camera. Once the ponies were in the cage and the camera ready, we would hit the jail panic alarm, which sounded throughout the station. I knew that would bring the lieutenant running up the stairs from the break room, huffing and puffing, to see what was going on. I told the jailer to get a photo of the look on the lieutenant’s face when he saw not a fight in the booking room, but two ponies instead.

Everyone was ready, the panic alarm was hit, and shortly thereafter we could hear the lieutenant running up the stairs, keys jangling. Rather than glance at the glass-windowed booking cage, the lieutenant kept running, head down, around to the side door of the booking cage. He thrust his jail key into the lock, opened the door, stepped in, and promptly slipped on some freshly dropped horse poop. That caused him to fall on his butt and slide under the ass end of a pony, and left him looking up at the four-legged creature. It was precisely at that point that the jailer took a picture of the lieutenant’s face - and about 100 milliseconds before the Lieutenant screamed, “Boyd, I’m gonna kill you, you son of a bitch!”

After a few minutes, a shower, and a uniform change, the lieutenant actually began to see the humor of the stunt we had just pulled, and actually began to laugh about it. He even thought it was funny when his picture, in a plain envelope, was mysteriously slipped under the door of the captain’s office.


  1. What a nice family story. I will get a copy of the book. Since I lived in So CA at the time of the Watts riots it should bring back some memories.

  2. Thanks, Bill! I really think you'll enjoy the book!

  3. Nice country. Dang I am sick of living in the city.

    Even our farm outside Phillipsburg is looking appealing to me after the city grew up around our house. Uff da I am tired of it.


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