November notes from the police chief

Chief Gerry Scherlinck Well here we are in November.  In my experience and opinion, November can be one of the best months of the year in terms of traditions and celebrations.

The first for many is Deer Camp, which traditionally marks fire arms gun season.  Although some may not participate or even support this activity, in our family’s past this was one of the most significant traditions and “comings together” of the year.   My in-laws lived up north.  Every year the generations would gather – gramps, fathers in law, several generations of nephews, friends, sons, and sometimes wives and daughters.  Everyone would bring up their favorite deer camp recipes and food to share.  In was a time of coming together, sharing stories from the past, keeping memories alive, teaching the younger generations what it meant to respect and enjoy the bounties of nature, connecting among ourselves and our kids, and planting a seed in the hope that our sons and daughters might similarly come together in the future.   Sometimes there would be success in terms of the hunt, sometime not, but there was always laughter, friendship, food cooked outside, bon fires, and stories to weave from one generation to the next.  We tried to teach our kids a sense of connection between the generations, an understanding of tradition and ritual, and an appreciation of being outdoors.  There was this experience of how the simple things could be the most rewarding; of how relationships were more important than material things.  So many of those voices have passed on over the years; some way too soon.  Yet, because of those few days every November and the traditions that surrounded them, those voices remain, as do the connections, and the lessons passed on from one generation to the next.

Thanksgiving approaches as well; probably the best holiday going, in my opinion.  There’s travel, re-connecting with friends, family, and sons and daughters that have seemed to travel so far away in their lives’ journeys.  The day is not riddled with gift giving; the gift is the coming together – the gathering.  Again, we see tradition and ritual connecting us with the past, keeping us in the present, and insuring those who are no longer with us are remembered long into the future.  The numbers around our Thanksgiving table unfortunately have dwindled over the recent years, as grandparents and parents have passed away.  Yet there’s’ something in the constant gathering that keeps their memories and their presence current in our hearts and minds.  There’s something in the simple ritual of gathering around a table that brings meaning; meaning well beyond the gift giving, buying, and selling of the next season.

Although filled with tradition, joy, and celebration, both of these times of the year can pose health and safety concerns.  Both represent significant travel times, often under time constraints or challenging situations as people battle traffic, crowded airports and the like.  They can sometimes represent opportunities to overdo it, especially in regard to intoxication.  In fact, the night before Thanksgiving has become one of the largest bar nights of the year.  Unfortunately, we sometimes see these “comings together” bring stress, conflict, bad memories, and struggles for some.  Designated drivers, avoiding situations that lead to conflict, patience, sobriety, and reaching out to those that might be struggling are just a few of the ways that we can come together as a community to take care of and watch out for one another.

On behalf of all of us at Milan PD, we wish all of those heading out into the woods a safe and rewarding experience; we wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  Finally, we would like to take this opportunity, to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation for all of the support we have and continue to receive from our community as we celebrate Thanksgiving.  It is an honor and privilege to serve you.  We remain dedicated to providing the best law enforcement service possible, and we know that what we do would not be possible without the resources and support that comes  from you our partners and constituents.

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