Another year, another New Year’s Eve, and at my age, just another night except for the shotguns and fireworks that some here in the neighborhood feel compelled to discharge at the stroke of midnight rousing me from a peaceful sleep. Oh, I used to get out there and party with the best of them. No more, in fact I can barely remember those days.
With all the usual annual warnings about drinking and driving and designated drivers and being safe out there, an incident came to mind. It wasn’t New Year’s Eve, but it did involve drinking as well as the late, great, Bobby Bracken (who else)? Some of you have heard the story (it gets better with the telling), but you can follow along if you want.
The four of us, Bobby, me, and two boys from Kansas City, Doug and Pressler, were on our way to Lake Texoma for yet another go at striper fishing. We were in Bobby’s pickup, a nice GMC crew cab, with the bed loaded to the rails with supplies. We had enough food to feed forty; steaks, taters, eggs, bacon, biscuits, cooking oil for a fish dinner, ice, vodka, and beer…lots and lots of beer.
Believe it or not, we did have enough good sense (a rare event) to pick a non-drinking driver before leaving Tulsa. Pressler reluctantly took the wheel while the rest of us laid back and settled in for the three and half hour trip to laugh, joke, tell stories, and drink Bloody Mary’s out of red plastic cups. Good times. There was one problem. Mr. Pressler had a little trouble keeping it under the speed limit. We made it as far as Okmulgee.
We were doing maybe twenty over, when we topped the hill just outside of town. The Sheriff’s car was right where you might expect it, on our side of the road, waiting for someone to make his day. Pressler tried to shut it down, but it was way too late for that. The deputy was already smiling. Pressler didn’t hesitate. As soon as the deputy moved out, Pressler pulled us over even before the red lights came on. When you’re guilty, you’re guilty. No sense fighting it.
Bobby kicked the bottle under the seat while the rest of us casually covered our red cups with baseball caps. Pressler lowered the window.
He gave us a quick once over and then returned to his car. We could see him talking on the radio. We’re all thinking the same thing, speeding by a bunch, open container, this could get ugly.
The officer returns, this time checking out all the gear in the back.
“Where you guys going in such a hurry?”
Bobby speaks up. “Lake Texoma. Striper fishing.”
“I’ve always wanted to try that,” the deputy replies.
“Well hell,” Bobby says in that big booming voice we all knew so well. “Get your ass in here and let’s go!”
Oh crap, Bobby.
The cop addresses the driver. “Mr. Pressler, would you do me a favor?
I knew what was coming, not a doubt in mind. The next words out of his mouth were gonna be, “Step out of the truck and put your hands behind your back.”
Instead, “Sir, would you promise me to stay under the speed limit for the rest of the day?”
We all know that answer.
Some days you hit an inside straight. Some days you scratch a lotto ticket and make ten bucks. Some days you meet a friendly lawman that likes to fish. All unlikely, but it does happen.