I entered the neatly manicured neighborhood in Toms River. Though it was a section 8 development, laughing children congregated on the streets and waved to me as they saw me pulling in. They saw my white calico, Baby-Baby in the dashboard and followed me to the end of the cul-de-sac. As I flipped down the door to unload my hand truck and telephone books, about seven children flocked around me asking to see and pet my kitty.
It was one of the high points of my route delivery for PDC Phone book company. That was about eight years ago and my, times have changed!
This year, I noticed very few children on the sidewalks or playgrounds. During the hot month of August, I was delivering near the Osborn area of Brick Township. The street I parked on was an upper middle class development. A group of girls watched me with scorn as I started up the street with my hand truck and books. I felt uneasy, noticing they didn’t smile and I felt unwelcome d. Regardless, I turned and smiled. Two older teen girls stood staring me down as one little girl on a bike circled me. I had never had such an uncomfortable feeling before.
The little girl circled me again and I faced her.
“Hi, would you like to see my kitty cat?”
No answer. I approached the house where the older girls were still eying me seriously. I smiled again and don’t remember ever feeling so ill at ease. I finished the street and was putting my hand truck in the back of my truck and noticed a police parked several houses up the next street. My first reaction was someone had complained about me being in the neighborhood. I decided I wasn’t going to scurry away like a frightened squirrel. I was doing my job and for twelve years!
I sat quietly and waited for the officer to approach me. When he came up to my truck, I asked him, “Can i help you officer?”
“License, registration and insurance,” he answered. I gave him my papers and shook my head. he walked back to his cruiser and I sat waiting for him for ten minutes. When he came back he looked inside my truck.
“Do you have a cat?”
“where is it?”
“She’s sleeping in the back of this seat here?” I nodded to the back of the passenger seat.
He asked me the question two more times.
“Officer, She’s in the back there sleeping. There is a tiny seat that she rests on. He walked to the passenger side and looked.
“Where is it?”
“I’ll get her for you’. I walked to where my cat Peewee was sleeping and pulled her out.
“Okay. we were called to investigate someone who asked the kids to look at her cat.”
“Officer” I said, “I have delivered for this company for 12 years and I have never had anyone call me about harassing their children. In fact, every neighborhood, both parents and kids alike were excited to meet me and my cat as I delivered to their neighborhood. I don’t understand this world. Those kids were very weird and I’m sorry I ever talked to them.”
“Well, miss you have to understand what’s going on in this evil world. I’m a parent two of a small daughter…so I understand. There are child molesters everywhere and if I was a mother and saw a truck with a spider on it and a woman asked my child to see her cat, I would be suspicious too.”
“Yes, I’m sure you would. I am a youth mentor and have spent my whole life mentoring kids and serving both Ocean county, Monmouth and Burlington. I am very disappointed to see people become so suspicious and kids be so unfriendly. Have a good day, Officer”
So, this is what perverts and child molesters have done to our communities. Good people who love children can’t even talk to them or smile. Thanks to taking prayer out of our schools, God’s hedge of protection has lifted and today, 2011, anything goes with malicious adults molesting, kidnapping and murdering children.
People, we had better start looking at our apathy and deluded ideas that religion/prayer should be edited from our nation, schools and communities. Pray has always been edifying, inspiring and strengthening to the human spirit and is applicable to all things, secular and sacred. We had better start praying that goodness and kindness of strangers won’t be seen as an act of aggression or charity.
This nation truly has declined in its quality. This incident with the police officer has shaken me to the core . I feel as if something precious was taken from me, the gift of friendship and inspiration of reminding children about kindness to animals.
May God help us to go back to days were children decorated our streets and playgrounds, reminding us of the days when our own childhoods were filled with memories of laughter, joy and friendship!