The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Those Who Serve

By Pat Hadley Davis © 1996

Issue: Spring, 1996

Those among us whose job it is to assure our wellbeing could write books on the human events they witness, both happy and sad. Some of them are always ready and willing to share the humorous and touching episodes they have encountered in their jobs.

Sgt. Valentine was a tough old police sergeant who had been a sergeant in both World War I and World War II. He had worked on the police force all of his life except while he was in the armed service, and he was admired by his fellow police officers for his guts and military bearing. He worked with my husband, Brad Davis, on the North Wilkesboro, North Carolina Police Force for several years.

When Sgt. Valentine got a few years on him he became quite crusty and sometimes it was hard to convince him he was wrong. He even got a little careless with his gun and occasionally became somewhat dangerous. When he came to work one day, Brad noticed the safety was off his gun. Thinking fast, Brad went to another office in City Hall and called Sgt. Valentine on the phone to tell him about it. Brad didn't want to take any chances around a cocked gun.

Sgt. Valentine's wife was known to be the best cook in town. She was a sweet lady who was always ready to help her neighbors and take some baked goods to them in times of need. She also packed Sgt. Valentine's lunch each day and he ate at his desk.

One day he found a big piece of pie in his lunch and complained that the crust was so tough he had a hard time chewing it. Brad could see that Mrs. Valentine had cut a piece of paper pie plate along with the pie so it would pack better in the lunch pail and Sgt. Valentine was eating the paper plate as well as the pie. Brad told him about it, but reluctant to admit his mistake, the Sgt. went right on eating pie, plate and all, still complaining that his wife made tough crust that day.