The Wolf Finds The SheepdogPosted: April 26, 2013 Newer readers – this is one you might need some context on. You can get that context here…and here.
The Wolf was a block and a half away when I turned toward the coffee shop. There’s a sunny spot on the street where I see him on cool mornings. That’s where he was, sitting on his walker, soaking up a little extra warmth.
I make a point of not driving up to him in a police car when I spot him. Back in the day, me pulling up in a police car was often the start of a bad evening for at least one of us. It just works out better now to let him come around on his own.
When I walked out of the shop with my hot chocolate (with blackberry syrup, trust me on this one) he was out near the driveway. “Good morning, Sarge, God bless you.” I returned the blessing and he turned back toward the street.
I walked toward him. As I got close I spoke quietly – “coming up behind you.” He laughed and asked why I didn’t warn him like that twenty years ago. “You know damned well why I didn’t” I said. He grinned and admitted that he did.
We spoke about how he’d beaten addiction. The Wolf reminded me how long it had been since he’d left prison and “got right”. He covered all his “little jobs” he was working to make ends meet. He added in how he’d been “banned” from one location because he “made too much money there.” Each time I talk to him we review those topics until I think that he doesn’t know who I am anymore. Then he says something to make me realizes he knows precisely who I am.
“I been looking for you” he said. “Im’ma be straight up with you about something I want you to know.I gave you a hard time when I lived over off of Tuckaseegee. I was a bad man, mentally ill in the head and I was bad on crack. I tried to hurt your officers, and I’d a hurt you bad if I coulda. We talked before, and I never told you how sorry I was. I am. I’m very sorry. I’m not like that anymore though.”
I thanked The Wolf for what he’d said and reminded him that neither of us were who we were back then. “I’m fifty-one now, I do things different than I did back in the day” I told him.
“You fifty-one? You’re lookin’ good Sarge. I’m sixty-one now.”
“You’re looking good too man, sixty-one, wow!”
“You lie like a rug.”
“Ok, how about you look better than last time I saw you?
“Yeah, that’s good.”
It was time to get back to work; I told him we’d talk again. “How much longer you doin’ this?” he asked. I told him I was retiring in six months. “God is gonna get you out safe, I already asked him when I prayed for you.” I thanked him and said I’d pray for him too. He smiled big.
“Pray harder, I’m quitting smoking.”
“I’ll do it brother, good luck with it. Be strong.”
He was walking away, but turned back and said “did you forget? I got off crack. This ain’t shit.”