The Friday before Memorial Day I was driving up to join my Dad and a friend on the Wisconsin River to enjoy a canoe camping weekend. I was excited to get out of Chicago and it showed on my speedometer. I actually could not speed on I-90 as it was near gridlock even as far as Janesville. Rockford was particularly crowded through the construction zones. These set backs made me even more anxious to get to my destination.
Once I hit U.S. 14, I was ready to roll, and I was passing cars with reckless abandon. Actually, I was not as I am a safe driver, but I was definitely in more of a hurry than anyone else on the road. I then hit Highway 60 at Gotham and was in the home stretch. I sped down a hill and a car was lolly gagging at the bottom of it. I easily put this pokey car in my rear view window and continued on. It was kind of raining at this point, but this did not deter me as I was almost there.
Suddenly, as I was approaching the turn off to my destination a car came up behind me in my rear view mirror. I was confused because I could not imagine it being the car I just passed. I felt like kind of a jerk because I thought I had passed someone and was now going to be rude and turn left causing the car behind me to have to slow. I hate that when people pass me or cut in front of me and then immediately turn left.
Then the cherries came on behind me, and the mystery of the car behind me was solved. My spirits immediately sank. The policeman identified himself as a member of the Richland County Sheriff's department and informed me I was speeding and I passed in a no passing zone. "Crap," I thought. I am going to get two tickets. Crazy numbers filled my head as I have heard horror stories of getting tickets in Wisconsin.
I meekly gave him my driver's license and merely said, "O.K." I had no excuse. I was just in a hurry for really no reason. After about ten minutes my dread started to increase. He finally returned and announced a figure of $360. It was actually not as bad as I feared although still a substantial amount. He asked if I had it. I fished in my wallet to start counting. He then said, "I don't want your money." I looked at him and he said, "I am giving you a warning. SLOW DOWN." With that he told me to sign the warning ticket, and told me to take my Dad out to dinner with the money I had saved and was gone.
I of course thanked him profusely, but how do you thank a police officer? I was thinking of writing a letter to his superior officer telling his superior how great this cop was and how lucky Richland County was to have him as an officer. Then I thought a letter like that might land him in hot water for letting me off and not gathering funds for Richland County. I of course could not offer any payment or gift of any sort. So, what to do?
It occurred to me that what a policeman wants more than anything else is peace and quiet in his community. Therefore, I will never break the law in any way in Richland County again. In fact, I am so grateful I am going to take this vow further and apply it to moral behavior as well. I will not sin in Richland County. I will not look for loose women (only in Richland County), I will not drink, I will not fart, and I will not swear in Richland County. I will never go to a strip club in Richland County. I will not talk behind people's back in Richland County. I will not make a mean face at anyone in Richland County and I certainly will never give anyone the bird in Richland County. This means that I have a lot of sinning to do in other areas to make up for my church like behaviour in Richland County.