Hello and welcome to The Creative Corner. This is a new addition to Jabber Log and will highlight poems, short stories, and artwork. The work placed within this category will not just highlight work I have done but will highlight anyone who would like some sort of exposure. If you would like your work highlighted here please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All credit of original author will be given and if longer stories happen to be submitted, the work will be split into sections to make each post short and sweet, leaving the readers wanting more. Happy creativity to all, cheers!
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By Ricardo — 1 year ago
Written by –
Ryan Dedmon, M.A.
Outreach Director, 911 Training Institute
It’s raining in Southern California. Again. It has rained here 3 days a week for the last month, breaking only long enough for things to dry out before the next storm front rolls in. It has rained more in the last month than it has the last 3 years. I suppose that’s a good thing. California has long suffered from a drought, but rain makes everything more miserable.
We Californians love our sunshine and we expect the weather to be a tropical sunny and 75 all year long, so we are often ill-prepared for rainy weather. A little water falls from the sky and we all seem to forget how to drive; we navigate around countless traffic collisions and stalled out vehicles; traffic congestion, as if not already bad enough in California, becomes a living nightmare; and most of us don’t own a quality umbrella. Thus, we arrive late for work soaking wet.
Earlier this week was one such day for me. There I was stuck in heavy traffic because the intersection up ahead was on 4-way red-flash due to flooding from an apocalyptic rainstorm. My commute was taking me three times as long as it should. The car in the lane to my left pulled up next to me and I witnessed the most precious moment.
There was a 5-year-old little girl sitting in a booster in the rear passenger seat. Her little head, covered under a big yellow rain hat, kept turning back-and-forth from the window to her mother in the front seat. The girl seemed to look right through me as her face and palms were pressed up against the window. Suddenly, she spun her head around with the biggest smile on her face and was bouncing up and down in her seat as her mother rolled down the rear window. The girl immediately stuck both her arms out the window palms up, as if trying to catch the drops of water falling from the sky. I smiled at her innocence, but then she surprised me. The girl threw off her hat, showing off two brown ponytails, and stuck her entire head out the window. She giggled uncontrollably as she stuck her tongue out catching raindrops, her hair and face getting soaked in the downpour. The smile on the face of that child depicting pure elation gave me pause to think… at what point in my life did I lose that childlike innocence when I felt so much joy from simply getting wet in the rain?
I was sitting in traffic on a rainy day thinking about the conference call I would be on later that afternoon, the emails I needed to reply to in my inbox, the upcoming project deadlines I needed to meet, and my calendar availability for the following week. I don’t have time to stop and enjoy the rain. Life is busy. “Adulting” is hard.
As a former police telecommunicator, I hated the rain. Working rainy days were always the worst. The attitude of callers unexplainably reflected the gloomy weather. Callers never failed to extend their personal sense of self-entitlement. Calls for police response were either traffic collisions or false burglary alarm activations, both caused by the rainy weather. Stupid rain. The ironic part about all of this: I now teach stress-management training classes for public-safety telecommunicators helping them to optimize their health and wellness.
As we grow older and transform into adults, we fail to find joy in many of the simple things from our childhood that once brought us happiness. We get busy; we have responsibilities. Our perspective becomes distorted by noise. We need to reshape our perspective if we want to improve our wellness. Stop and make time to smell the roses, roll in fields of grass, dance in the moonlight, enjoy the simple things we often take for granted… and maybe, just maybe, then even our rainy days will bring us rays of sunshine happiness.Post Views: 154
By Ricardo — 2 months ago
“To walk among heroes”
Guest blog post –
Written by –
Billy Short – Technical Trainer with RPSS
It was the last class of my training assignment for a PSAP in Louisiana. The training part of my class was over, so I broke into my post class “appreciation speech.” Since becoming a technical trainer for 911 dispatchers, my eyes had been opened to things that I guess, I had always taken for granted. I shared with the class how that I, as a citizen, truly appreciated the work that dispatchers perform. I had come to realize that most dispatchers were never truly recognized, or honestly appreciated for their work. I shared with them how that I had come to believe that they were the “first”, first responders. I had witnessed many community organizations and churches having appreciation events for other First Responder heroes, but I noticed that the members of the dispatch teams were never given a seat at that table of honor.
I shared how that now, I somewhat understood the roller coaster of emotion that a 911 calltaker could be on, simply by answering the next ringing telephone. I knew that one minute they would be able to feel their blood pressure rise in aggravation to a caller wondering when the electrical power would be restored to their neighborhood, or a caller wanting the phone number to the local tax office. To answering the next call and experiencing the desperate cries of a mother that had just pulled the lifeless body of her toddler from a swimming pool. I shared with the class my appreciation for their professionalism when taking a call from someone who just seemed to be having a difficult day, and needing to complain to someone, to the next call from someone that is having the absolute worse day of their life because their mate of 52 years was lying in the floor unresponsive.
I thanked them for doing the often-thankless job of giving CPR instructions over the phone until EMS arrived at the scene. I thanked them for trying to comfort a scared child, who left alone in the house, hears a scary noise outside. I tried my best to express my love, admiration, and appreciation for the job that they do, day in, day out, around the clock, and through the holidays. I also extended to them my friendship. Even though it would probably be limited to social media, or text messaging. I told them that if they ever needed someone to listen, someone to pray for them, someone to talk to, that I would be willing to be that guy.
I ended my speech with another, heart-felt “Thank You!” After the group began to file out of the room, one guy, kind of hung back a little. I could tell that my “speech” was having some sort of emotional effect on him. When the room emptied, this hulk of a dispatcher walked up to me, with tears now beginning to roll down his face, he asked if he could give me a hug. Of course, I obliged, and bear hugged him right back. With a soft voice he began to thank me. He simply stated that the job had begun to get to him, and that he didn’t know if he could keep going on. But that my speech had reminded him that it wasn’t a job that he performed. It was his calling! He told me that he was fired up and ready to get back out onto the floor and be the professional, the call-taker, the first responder that he was called to be. By this time, tears were in my eyes. I thanked him for sharing part of his story with me. And I thanked God for the little part that I had played in this First Responder Hero’s life calling!
Through social media, I found out a few months after that day, that my dispatcher friend had gotten off work, went home, went to sleep, and never woke up again. I felt the tears coming again! That scene at the door of the training room played back over in my mind. I felt an unexplainable sense of loss. That may sound strange. I had only spent a few hours in a training class with him. I never knew his life story. I never knew his family. I never knew his favorite food or color. But in his death, I knew that the world had lost a hero. To some, he was just a voice on the other end of a phone line. To some, he was just somebody that answered phones for a living. For some, he was just an operator that would give out a phone number. But I can’t help but believe that there were countless people whose lives had been saved, broken hearts comforted, and fears calmed, by this straw haired colored man. I believe that there were firefighters and police officers, that were made heroes of situations because this dispatcher sent them on their way. I believe that the world was a better place, and a safer place because of a that faceless voice on the other end of a mic, or telephone. And I believe that a dispatch team, lost a brother, that could never quite be replaced. And to me, I am reminded that my job is more than a job. It is a calling. A calling to walk among heroes! A calling to play my part in the training of giants! I want to be the best trainer that I can be, so that heroes and giants can be the best dispatcher that they can be!Post Views: 1,113
By Ricardo — 2 years ago
A Guest Blog Post By:
This morning I woke up as my husband was getting ready to head into work. Today is his normal day off, yet he is going in to work some overtime and to lead the range training for the other officers. I saw his range uniform laying there. He got dressed, I gave him a kiss, told him his butt looked good in those pants and off he went. I proceeded to start laundry, and I see his uniform needs washed. I broke down. Why? I can’t tell you exactly why it was that moment that sent me into tears, all I know is that, that moment sparked a million thoughts running rampant through my head.
What if this is the last time I wash this uniform? What if I get “the call”? What if something bad happens?
Then my mind turns to hate; Why don’t all these idiots understand? Why are they killing MY family? If I had it my way, I’d just… and I stopped myself. Hate is powerful, and in a matter of seconds, I had so much rage inside of me against these Officer Murdering Cowards. (Okay, maybe there’s still a little bit) I should not give these monsters that satisfaction.
Back to more questions that run through my head as I’m in tears. Why does he do it? Wait… HOW does he do it? You can ask any officer WHY they do their job, and you will likely get a very politically correct answer of, “to serve my community” which for most is VERY true. However, “WHY” is a very loaded word…
Why?- I can’t speak for every officer’s “why”, or even my husbands, but what I can tell you is how I interpret my husband’s “why” from what I’ve seen, so I’m going to throw out a few scenarios of what I think drives my husband to be a Police Officer.
First off, children. There is no doubt that helping children is a driving force behind my husbands service to our community. Example: I receive a phone call from him, “Babe, do we have any of the boys old gloves, hats, scarves that don’t fit them anymore and are still in good shape?” Me, “Yah.” Him, “Could you run them into the PD now?” Me, wondering, but without question, I take them in. He thanks me, gives me a kiss and goes back inside. He returns home that night to explain that he had a woman who was caught stealing gloves and hats from a local store. She was stealing them for her children, because it was cold outside and she did not have the means to afford them. So he gave the bag full of hats, gloves and scarfs, to this woman for her children. A selfless act of kindness and support in what is possibly this woman’s worst day. All for the children.There is a distinct difference in his facial expressions when he returns home on a day that he has had to handle any case where children are being mistreated. Children that are beaten, children that are sleeping in homes full of cockroaches, and the only bed they have is a rug on the floor. It kills him to see this, knowing that this is a reality for some children.
Another reason, to help others. A couple months back, and some of you Marshalltown people will remember these people, there was a group of 3 “train hoppers” traveling through Marshalltown. They had two dogs with them, and no where to stay. One of their dogs was hit by a car. My husband, in his squad, picked up the dog, took it to the vet, contacted a local rescue personally, that paid the bill for the dog’s treatment. A few days later, these 3 individuals had to spend some time in jail. My husband arranged for placement for the dogs, while the individuals were in jail. Once released, he took these people dog treats, and dog food, before they left town. It turns out these people ended up causing a lot of trouble in town after my husband’s kindness towards them, however, he did not doubt his help for them.
Another that will sit with me for a long time; mostly because it scared me & I told him he should no longer do that. After a long shift at work my husband returned home, slept then got up early to go help a fellow officer on a home project. While returning home from said project, my husband drove past the jail. He saw an individual that he had arrested the night before walking on the highway, headed towards town, after being released in the morning. My husband, the arresting officer of this man, the man who took this individual to jail, stopped and offered this guy a ride back to town. The individual got into the car, not realizing it was the officer that had arrested him at first, thanked my husband for picking him up, then looked over… silence. Followed by a “holy crap, your the officer. Wow, Thank You SO MUCH! That is so amazing, I can’t believe”…. and so on.
So to answer my own question of why. That is “WHY.” To help people to help children, despite their background, their color of skin, their age, their looks, their lifestyle.
Now, onto the hard part, HOW?? I struggle with this, because I can guarantee you, that I absolutely could not be a police officer. There is just no way. I do not have the ability to keep my calm and cool in situations that they deal with.
How do they day after day, experience people at their worst moments, and return home at night to their families and say, “Oh work was good.” ?
How do they go to a job where they know that there are people out there that want to murder them, because they wear a uniform?
How do they miss endless holidays, birthdays, family gatherings etc. all to put on a uniform that is all too often met with hate.
How do they, get spit at, hit, screamed at, called names, and stand their ground without yelling back, without screaming back, without holding a grudge?
How do they face evil daily, and get up early to go in and work extra shifts on their day off?
I don’t have the answer. I simply do not understand, how. I can tell you that if you ask my husband his answer will likely be a very downplayed response like, “Oh, it’s just part of the job. Not that big of a deal. Ya get used to it and don’t take it personally.” Again, I can’t explain how, and I assume most officers do not want us to know, how, because their version of “how” is too intense for us to handle.
I do know that being an Officer’s wife has changed me. Any Officer’s spouse that tells you otherwise is lying. It’s not a bad change, but a “new normal.” What is normal for your family on your husband of wives day off, differs slightly for my family. Before I knew my husband, I never had a strong tie to law enforcement, I knew a few officers and I respected them, but was still pissed at them when I got a speeding ticket….or 5. I met my husband, I still had a very misconstrued view of how they do their jobs. After awhile I learned, that what I had thought, from all of my years of experience watching Law & Order, was well, all wrong. I’m sure I asked a million questions that my husband thought were annoying, but he answered them. After awhile you stop asking. You realize that, the last thing they want to do is answer a million questions about work when they are finally home from work and able to relax. So you learn to ask the simple, “How was work?” get the typical, “Oh it was good” and then move on. No details needed. My husband needs to know that home is the place where he doesn’t have to relive the evil, tragedy, and anger that he see’s while at work. As an Officers spouse you will also experience a new “normal.” Suddenly people you barely know or talk to, believe that you are now their personal police person. If I had a quarter for everytime someone asked me a police related question, well my husband wouldn’t need to be a cop anymore. Or people that automatically think it’s okay for them to tell you what they think about your spouse. My personal favorite, An individual I work with, and was meeting for the first time, asked what my spouse did. I hesitantly responded, “He’s a Police Officer.” She explained her son had been into some trouble. I changed the subject. I return to work the next day and first words out of her mouth, “Oh I asked my son about your husband. My son says your husband is a real dick!” (Now most wives, may walk away, try to downplay it, or give some nice politically correct reason…I’m not so good at that, and at this time I had been working for 20 hours already and had 10 more to go, so…) My response, “Well then your son must be a real piece of shit! Cause my husband is only a dick if ya really earn it!” Needless to say, she didn’t have much of a response. This is an example, of how your life changes as the spouse of an Officer. People think this is okay, they think they have to tell you. Luckily all of us spouses are stronger than anyone knows and we get used to this banter and with time, (I’m still working on it) you learn to ignore it.
I don’t want people to think that their job is completely unappreciated, it isn’t. There are most definitely people that do support them. All sorts of people in our community have shown an outpouring of support to our officers in these past few weeks. Simply telling an Officer, Thank-You, may be the one and only positive experience they have that day. I can tell you that all of our Officers are hurting right now, not just in Marshalltown, but Nation wide. Some cover the hurt with strength and attitude, some with laughter and smiles others do not cover it, but meet it with anger and resent while trying to maintain a professional demeanor and appearance. So remember that when you see an Officer and they don’t have a smile on their face, or they aren’t dancing in the street with people. Their family, their co-workers, their brothers and sisters are being hunted & murdered, and they don’t know if at any second, they are next.
So be compassionate, listen, and show your support.
Time for me to put that uniform into the dryer. This is a load of laundry that I will never forget. I only hope, that I get the honor of washing that uniform for many, many years to come.Post Views: 135