The house is empty of everyone but me. My husband is in Virginia for work; my girls are on a mission trip to Boston.

So little time, so much to do before they return.

I helped friends in the morning and afternoon. In between I wanted to visit two libraries. On my way to the first one, I too-late-to-do-anything-about-it zipped past a police officer. A glance at my rearview mirror confirmed what I assumed: he pulled out behind me with his lights on.

When I imagined this moment countless times before, I thought I would tremble and cry. I didn't. I slowed to the side of the road, opened my window, and reached for my license. Calm and cool.  Oh yeah, and I whispered, "Please, God, help him to be merciful."

The police officer approached my van, my hand already poised out  the window with my ID. I said sheepishly, "This is the first time I've ever been pulled over."

He needed to know that. I've been driving for thirty years, after all.

He took my license and addressed me sternly: "In the winter, the speed limit through here is 25. In the summer, it is 15.  You were going 43. Whatever season it is, 43 is way too fast. You know why it's 15 in the summer, right?"

Yes, I know. A park is on the right side of the road, a public pool on the left.  "Children," I replied.

He continued: "Because it's your first time to be pulled over, I am going to give you a verbal warning--not even a written warning--but you need to slow down.  Have a good day." 

Thank you, Mr. Police Officer, for showing me mercy today. You saved me time and money and kept my record clean. I'll try to remember not to forget to drive slower next time. If not, at least I'll remember I was warned.
 


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