Friday, August 12, 2011

A Man of Character

Fiddling with the remote control, I clicked on “On Demand,” and queued up Entourage. Finally, James and I get 30 minutes of down time watching one of the few shows we seek out. It’s 10pm Wednesday night, and while late, we are looking forward to this mindless drama.

As James walks past the end of the bed and past the windows, he notices a truck slowing down alongside the road, gravel crunching in our driveway. I wasn’t looking out the window, instead fast forwarding to the beginning of the show. Seeing the headlights and hearing the motor, I asked if it was headed up our neighbor’s driveway.

“No.” Opening the window further, James sticks his head out and watches the headlights dim and the truck go in reverse into our other neighbor’s driveway.

“You got Ross’s number?” James asks as he checks his phone.

“Yeah, I think so, let me get my phone.”

He tells me turn off the TV and the lights.

Heartbeat accelerating, I get my phone in the kitchen and amazingly unplug it from the charger after having just put a TON of hand cream on my hands. Fumbling through my contact list, I call the home and cell numbers to no avail.

“Call 911,” James tells me as he is pulling on pants and shoes. He heads downstairs and out the front door. He tells me he’s heard a voice his doesn’t recognize and he thought he heard a scream.

I place the call tell the dispatcher what I know and ask them to send an officer out to investigate. Throwing on pants and grabbing Mom’s sandals, I head out the door too. If James is going outside, well I’m going too.

The motion light in the driveway blazes brightness; I walk through the light and off to the other side so as not to trip it again. A police cruiser pulls up, no lights and an officer gets out. James is across the street, standing in the bushes near the truck. He walks across the street, talks to the officer and then goes back by the bushes and trees. The police check out the truck, check both doors of the house and then go ahead and knock yelling loudly, “Normandy Park Police.”

Our neighbor opens the door, talks to the officer, and then they check out the truck. We hear him say, “I just bought the truck….yeah, I know I need to get current tabs….”

A few minutes later the officer walks past James and says, “Seems like everything is okay.”

I yell across the street, “Hey Ross, I need your number!” We visit for a while and James apologizes for calling the cops. He said he didn’t recognize the truck, and then when it backed up with no lights in the driveway he got concerned.

“You did the right thing, thanks for keeping an eye out.”

“Yeah, and then I heard a loud knock and this voice that sounded like it had an accent. And I thought I heard a scream.”

Ross laughs, “I guess it’s not funny now, but I knocked because I told my daughter not to answer the door. She asked me if it was me, and I did respond with an accent that of course it’s your Dad.” The daughter must have laughed and screamed or something to that effect.

Walking across the street to go back into our house I asked James what he was doing across the street hiding in the bushes and trees.

“I really thought I heard screaming and I wanted to be close by until the cops arrived. I was pretty sure the kids were home by themselves.”

It was in that very instant I saw the very inner core of my husband; that I realized I married a man of such strong character. He willingly crossed the street to protect our neighbor’s children. If he heard another scream he intended to go in the house. How selfless is that?

So as the days go by faster than a Google Search, the pace of daily life so quick that you can’t seem to appreciate any of it, I have a flash of clarity. A flash of the good in people, the protector instinct in James.

Moments like this don't happen very often. Where you an ethic or moral talked about but rarely put to the test. I mean, you see that a person is nice, caring, giving, a good person. But rare to see the very essence of who a person is, what they believe in.

I am awed to be a part of James's life.