It was two days before Thanksgiving, and my family was all a flutter. We love Thanksgiving; it’s always been my favorite holiday of the year. It’s such a simple holiday, just a meal with the ones you love.
For the past few years, the boys and I have made goodies for our friends and family as little “Thank You” gifts, and although I wasn’t feeling well, this year was no different. The day before, we were busy making apple butter and pecan pie muffins, and now it was the fun part–delivering the goodies!
We also had plans to drive 45 miles to a nearby town to visit my grandmother. I wasn’t going to be seeing her for Thanksgiving, and the boys and I were going to meet her for lunch to get some quality time in.
The day went on as planned. We started off with Mass in the morning, delivered apple butter and muffins to our loved ones nearby, then headed off to meet my grandmother for lunch. We visited with her for a few hours; the day was going so well! The weather was very cold and wet, but our hearts were warm and happy.
But then…disaster. (Not really, but wasn’t that dramatic? Cue the music…)
We had to go to the church to meet a friend who was donating canned goods for The Younger Boy’s food drive (more on that later), and I was running late. She was going into Adoration, and I wanted to meet her before she entered the chapel, so as to not disturb those praying.
Now, there is a road in our town that is a well-known speed trap. The speed limit is ridiculously low, and there are usually cops hiding on the side of the road. I know this and am usually really good about watching my speed, but I failed terribly on this day.
As I’m racing down the road (really not meaning to), I see the familiar white hood of a police car. I uttered a “Crap!” under my breath and hit the brakes. And, at first, I thought I had slowed down in time. I passed the cop, holding my breath, and he didn’t turn around.
He didn’t turn around at first.
Soon after I passed him, I looked in the rearview to see him quickly coming up behind me. I’m watching to see if he’s going to put on the lights or siren, but so far, nothing.
Nothing except my kids acting like nuts. They’re both on their knees, turned around, waving like maniacs at the cop.
“What are y’all doing?!? Turn around and sit down! He’s going to think you’re not wearing your seat belts. You are wearing your seat belts, aren’t you? And quit waving at him, we look guilty!”
We kept on for quite a little while, and I really thought he was going to let me go. So, I pull into the church parking lot (which is where I was going anyway), put the car in park, then notice he has followed me.
And now he decides to put on his lights.
You’ve got to be kidding me. Really???
The ringing church bells signaled 4pm, which is what time the rectory closes. I quickly look in the direction of the office, which has a full view of the parking lot, and I see that the lights are still on. Any other day, they would’ve been gone already.
Great! Now, I’ll get a ticket in front of my friends. This just keeps getting better.
The cop signals for me to meet him between the cars, and he asks the usual questions:
Hi Ma’am, you want to tell me what your hurry is?
I’m sorry. I was trying to meet a friend here for 4, but as you can hear by the bells, I’m late. (Shut up Amie!!! He does not care that you are late! He’s about to give you a ticket, you dummy!) At this point, I actually considered telling him that I was picking up food for my 8 year old’s food drive, but I figured he would never believe me. Plus, I was speeding, so I guessed I would take my ticket like a big girl.
I know the speed limit is low on that road, and I’m usually really good about not speeding on that road, I just wasn’t paying attention. Oh, dear Lord, shut my mouth! I am now admitting to the cop that I usually speed, just not on this particular road. I swear, it was like I just couldn’t stop my mouth. I guess my filter was broken.
Hmmm. Well, you were going 40 in a 30. I need your license and proof of insurance.
I turn to go back to the car to get the requested paperwork, and I can see my two kids waving at the cop like he was some long-lost family member. Didn’t they know he was the enemy?
Plus, I see the rectory lights are still on, as well as the Ninja-Priest-Friend’s office. Oh Geez… I will never live this down–isn’t he supposed to be on vacation this week?
I get into the car, and now I have to deal with the kids’ questions:
- Mommy, are you getting a ticket?
- He’s not going to take you to jail, is he?
- What did you do? Did you run over someone? (What?!? Why would this even be a question???)
Guys, please be quiet. Mommy is a little busy right now. I’m getting a ticket because I was speeding. It was my fault, I should’ve been paying more attention.
After I say this, I noticed the cop had appeared at my window, which was down and heard what I said. He smiled. Hmmm…maybe an admission of guilt will win me some brownie points…
So, the cop is at my window, I’m frantically looking for my proof of insurance, and the kids are still waving at said cop, even though they thought he was going to haul my butt off to jail just seconds earlier.
And, of course, in true Amie fashion, I cannot find my proof of insurance. I had just paid the bill online, so I knew it was in good standing, but apparently we never printed the proof last time we renewed it. The cop tells me he’s going to run my plates, and I tell him that I am calling The Husband to see if he knows where the proof of insurance is. Of course he doesn’t–I love him, but he never knows where anything is. He did, however, take the time to point out that I always criticize him for speeding down that same road. Oh hypocrisy, you are an ugly one!
While the cop is running my plates, I tell the kids that they can go inside the chapel to get the food donation–the whole reason we’re here in the first place.
Then the phone rings. It’s the Ninja-Priest-Friend.
Are you ok?
Oh, yeah. I’m great. I just decided to get humiliated today, and I felt the best way to do that was to get a ticket, and to get that ticket in front of my friends.
He laughs. Ok, well do you need any help?
Nope. I can handle this one all on my own, thanks. Cop’s back, I gotta go.
Cop: Is that your husband?
No. That’s actually my priest calling to see why I was getting pulled over in his parking lot.
Kids come running out of church, laughing and giggling, carrying bags of food donations. The Older Boy yells “Hi Mr. Policeman!” as he hops in the car.
Cop looks at me a little crazy. I’m thinking there is no way he is believing any of this…he pulls me over at the church, a priest is calling to check on us, and my boys are acting as if they are trying to win some “friendliest kid” award.
Well, I ran your plates, and your car is actually flagged as not having insurance, which is illegal in this state.
Are you serious? It has to be a glitch! I really do have insurance, and it is currently paid in full! Can I–
So, what I could do is to give you a ticket for speeding, give you a ticket for no insurance, put a neon sticker on your car marking it illegal, and you’d have to go to the DMV to get it fixed.
I am fighting tears at this point. All I could think of was “how much is this going to cost?” I cry easily, but there was no way I was going to cry in front of this guy. I was just so angry at myself for being so careless.
He continues: That’s what I could do. But I’m not. Your record is clean, I’m off for Thanksgiving, and I’m in a good mood. Here’s your license.
Wait, what? Is he really letting me off??? This kind of stuff never happens to me!
Thank you so much! I’m really not lying, we really were coming to the church.
I know. I figured that when I saw you actually park in a spot. Drive carefully.
Whew! That was a close one! He was a little arrogant, but I didn’t care. I truly was thankful that he let me go.
He drove off, with the kids still waving to him. Except this time, I was waving as well. If I’m going to be viewed as crazy, I might as well live it up, right?
As we drove off, and I was starting to regain a little bit of pride, The Younger Boy tells me, “You know why you probably got off? Probably because the people in the chapel prayed for you. John went in there and told everyone you were getting a ticket.”
And, pride was gone again.
Thanks God, for the lesson in humility. You always keep me grounded.