We were in one of our largest cities. The work was hard and dirty but very satisfying. The people we were working with were dedicated and – being local – knew all of the bad guys and bad places and good people and good places. Being with the local staff was like being with a tour guide – so much to see and talk about and experience.
“Tomorrow is going to be a special day,” they told us. “We won’t say much,” they said, “but when you get there you will be amazed.”
“Ok,” we said with some trepidation.
On the next day, we left the city and drove across the river to another city and then started meandering through industrial complex after industrial complex. Off in the distance was a world-known football stadium. Where were we going?
After a few more turns, we drove up in front of a very nondescript two-story industrial building. There was a homeless dude sleeping in the doorway – out of the weather – in front of an otherwise banged up and heavily rusted steel door to the building. We, obviously, were at an off-site. As we pulled up, the big chain-link fence with concertina stretched across it opened up for us. We drove in. We waited in a holding area – the gate behind us closed then the gate in front of us opened. And in we went.
This was unlike any off-site I had ever been to – it was huge. Easily a block in size. A little town in the middle of this vast industrial park. High walls with fences and wire across their tops. It was really something to see.
But this wasn’t the best part. Off to the back we could see smoke rising from – hold it – a huge BBQ trailer. I mean, the smoke was billowing out like there was no end. And people were standing around and laughing and talking and seemed to be having a great time.
We were told, “This happens every year but this year is special. Mr. __ is retiring. He has cooked keilbasa – every shape and flavor you could want – on his rolling grill for as long as he has been the supervisor here. This will be his last, though.”
We parked, got out, shook some hands, and made it through some introductions. And we were handed some paper plates and drinks and told to go get in line – all with laughs and back-slaps. This was a good place to be.
After an hour or two of tasting the keilbasa and listening to the stories of these career law enforcement people and laughing along with their hearty laughs and putting up with their banter, I decided that I had arrived. This is where some hard-working and seriously professional people had come to let some steam off – all around the keilbasa trailer – and they had invited me to come along and be apart of this final and very special event.
I wonder what they do each year now that Mr. __ is gone? But I can’t imagine that it would be as awesome and cool as the one I was invited to be apart of – I was welcomed into the brotherhood on that day. Thanks.