Now that the story that came to me on Christmas morning in 1994 is coming true -- the one that begins: "One day, Terry packed up all his important stuff and ran away" -- I suppose I should tell you just what that "important stuff" was.
I'm traveling very lightly burdened because it's just a bunch of words. But they were given to me by the people I love best in this world.
From Joe Strojnowski, I have a note in which he compliments me for having "a bright and crafty mind."
From Ed Culhane, I have a letter of recommendation he wrote when I aspired to be the IACP coordinator for the State and Provincial Police Section. He described me as being "an extremely intelligent, creative, resourceful and energetic individual . . . extremely focused, capable of considerable and varied output . . . and an excellent problem-solver".
From Bob Leu, I have a greeting card with a picture of two bears wearing Stetson hats and the message "Words cannot express what a great time we had. Thanks for all your help and friendship the past two years."
From Al Crary, I have the memory of a converstation we had after I returned from the 1993 IACP meeting in St. Louis. I told him that Tom Constantine had come into the Chiefs' hospitality room where I was entertaining our friends. He went around glad-handing everyone and as he passed me, he tugged good-naturedly at my beard. Al said: "Sounds like he's getting used to you."
From Pat O'Reilly, through his wife Jackie, I got the message that "Pat always enjoyed the funny letters you sent him."
From Jack Kirshberger, I have a voice mail message informing me that Pat was gone.
From Morey Gavin, I have a gray polo shirt upon which is embroidered: "Former Troopers' Helping Hands."
From the Association of Former New York State Troopers, I have a copy of Norman Rockwell's The Runaway on which they have written their autographs.
From the Gray Rider State Trooper Monument Committee, I have the words "Honor", "Integrity", "Courage" and "Tradition" engraved on a 12,000 pound piece of granite.
From Paul Richter, I have a pen certificate commemorating Governor Pataki's approval of Chapter 338 of the Laws of 1998 bearing the words: "AN ACT to amend the public health law, the public officers law and the state finance law in relation to establishing a spinal cord injury research board."
From Ray Kisor, I have a letter in which he writes: "I'll just close by saying how grateful we all are -- those of us who have, do and will wear the proud, gray uniform, to you. You are a decent man and our dear friend."
From George Infante, I have the word "star" with a whole new meaning.
From Vince Tobia, I have the story of the Raven.
From good sir Tom Constantine, I have a beautiful picture of himself on which he wrote: "To a loyal and good friend of the State Police" and a speech he gave to some college graduates that contains everything there is to know worth knowing. Oh, yes, and the most important gift of all -- a letter from him that says: "Terry, I hope my sponsorship helps rather than hinders." That's my commission and that's my true heritage.
From George Fletcher Chandler, I have the "fine old tradition" that he sent out in the world newborn in 1917 and that I have now "gathered from the air" so that we may all fully appreciate "the unconquered flame."
From Trooper First Class Joe O'Neill, CSP, my Dad, these words chiseled on a stone in a seaside graveyard in Surry, Maine: United States Navy, World War II.
From Constable George Stephens, my great-grandfather, these words chiseled on a stone in a graveyard in Stradbally, County Waterford, Republic of Ireland: Royal Irish Constabulary.
And from Billy Dooley, I have "The Parting Glass" never more sweetly sung.
And that's all.
What thou lovest well remains,
the rest is dross
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
What thou lov'st well is thy true heritage
. . . . .
[T]o have done instead of not doing
this is not vanity
To have, with decency, knocked
That [such as these] should open
To have gathered from the air a live tradition
or from a fine old eye the unconquered flame
This is not vanity.
Here error is all in the not done,
all in the diffidence that faltered,
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