Part of the duties of a seasoned trooper is to train rookie troopers. Trooper Bob had the auspicious duty of training a Rookie named Randy while stationed in El Paso Texas in the early 1960’s. Trooper Randy hailed from Tyler, Texas which is in East Texas He was squeaky fresh and new to trooper-dom and was stationed 800 miles away in El Paso Texas which of course is in far West Texas.
Trooper Bob had schooled the new recruit in all the fine arts of Trooper-dom. He had taught him where the best donuts and coffee were served, where the tastiest enchiladas were found. He made sure Rookie Randy knew who regulars at the county jail were and who carried what weapon where. There were only a few things left for Rookie Randy to learn. Rookie Randy was a quick study and picked up on some of Trooper Bob’s quirk’s and tongue in cheek humor.
One afternoon Trooper Bob handed the keys to Rookie Randy and said “son, it’s time you take the wheel.” Rookie Randy was as excited as a kid in a candy store and all but skipped to the patrol car and slid in behind the wheel. Trooper Bob climbed in the shot-gun seat and settled in for the ride. He set his hat low on his head leaned back arms crossed and feet out in front of him. Yes friends and neighbors he had assumed full nap in the car position. They drove along Rookie Randy whistling a happy little tune while Trooper Bob kept time with his snores.
All of a sudden Rookie Randy spat out an expletive slowed the car and made a three-point turn. Trooper Bob ever aware awoke with a “What the Hell?” He straightened himself up as the car sped back in the direction it had just come. Rookie Randy stuttered “Boss I think there are some people in need of aide. I mean theys pulled over on the side of the road. I’m gonna check it out.” Trooper Bob grinned and said “All-hight son. You do that.” Rookie Randy drove just past the stopped motorist in the big Lincoln with California tags, then made another three point turn. He gingerly pulled up behind the California motorist made like he was calling in something on the radio and looked at Trooper Bob. “Is it all-hight if I take this one boss?” he asked Trooper Bob. “Sure kid.” Was Bob’s reply as they both dismounted the vehicle.
Rookie Randy approached the autoist and said “Whyat sims to be the problem chere?” The California man said “Well, officer, we are on our way to Tyler, Texas and we were just wondering the best route to take. Could you please be of assistance?” Rookie Randy passed a knowing look at Trooper Bob and said “Why shore. Let’s see that there map you got.” Then Randy took out his pen and drew a straight line from El Paso Texas on interstate 10 to interstate 20 right on through the middle of the state to Tyler. Then he said “Whar in Tyler are you headin?” The Californian looked at the trooper a little confused and replied “Well you see we’ve come from Hollywood, California and we are going to see friends.” Randy pressed on “Waell ain’t that nice. Where xactly are you goin in Tyler. What street?” Mr. Hollywood looked at the officer and pulled a piece of paper out of his jacket pocket and handed it to Rookie Randy. He looked at it and then turned it over and started writing while saying “Now you are gonna come into Lindale, Texas you are gonna take highway 69 south. You got that? That would be a right turn offin the interstate. Go on for a piece and when you get to Hank’s Exxon you’s gonna take a right. That will bring you on down til you get almost to EyeZela that is spelled a-z-e-l-a. Now when you get there you gonna see Ima Jean’s Cut and Stuff, it’s a little pank building with some womens faces paynted on the weenders. Now y’all take another right and go down about a quarter mile and that’s whar you’ll find y’alls friends house. You have a nice day now yahear?” Mr. Hollywood stood there with his mouth open staring after the officer. Trooper Bob looked at the Californian and said “Is there anything else we can help you with sir?” Mr. Hollywood shook his head no then asked “How do you know exactly where to go?” Rookie Randy quickly piped up and replied “Wail Sir, they learned us that in the academy. We have to know whar everythang in this big old dadburn state is. It’s a lot of learnin but you can’t gradiate if you don’t.”
The man from California shook the troopers hands and headed own down the highway to his destination. The two troopers heehawed at their good fortune for some afternoon fun and went on about their way. Just before the shift ended Rookie Randy looked at Trooper Bob and said “You know that really was a stroke of luck. Those people are visiting my Mom and Dad’s next door neighbors.” This of course was cause for a few more guffaws.
The weeks went on and more adventures and misadventures occurred in Rookie Randy’s quest to become a full fledged trooper. Then one day the Lieutenant called Rookie Randy and Trooper Bob into his office. They were nervous and curious because as far as they knew they had not openly offended anyone nor had they used excessive force in the act of any arrest. They timidly walked into their superior’s office ready to take whatever lumps were due. He handed each of them a carbon copied letter from Colonel Garrison, the then acting director of the Department of Public Safety. It was sort of like getting a letter from God himself. The letter contained a copy of another letter. It was a letter of commendation from Mr. Hollywood. He waxed poetic, he raved, he praised and he generally wrote how Rookie Randy and Trooper Bob had to be the most knowledgeable, helpful, gracious and all around hospitable Troopers in the whole Department. He went on to say that Rookie Randy had given him exact directions to his destination. He stated he didn’t know how they were able to impart all that knowledge on their officers but that it was commendable and impressive. The Colonel too was impressed with the two officers because hand written on the bottom of each of their letters was a personal message to keep up the good work.