The Beyond Novelette Experience continues – Harry looks back

Harry woke up Saturday morning—always a good day for pancakes with a lot of melted butter and syrup. Round that out with Chock full o’ Nuts coffee, orange juice, and the sports page from the New York Daily News, and you had all the four food groups. He frowned. Chief would be happy, but the Yankees had already taken games 2 and 3 of the World Series. Harry really wanted his Philly’s to win. It would only be their third pennant. They really needed some momentum back, and Harry hoped the fans at Citizen’s Bank Park would help. Harry thought back to his time in Pennsylvania, before he’d gone to New York and joined the force.

He’d grown up in Lancaster County with his Aunt Sophie after his parents had been killed by an intruder who broke into their home when he was just six years old and asleep in bed. Sophie, his mother’s widowed sister, had raised him until he was old enough to be on his own. Sophie was a wonderful lady, who comforted the confused little boy, taught him right from wrong, and took him to church every Sunday. Her late husband’s cousin, Jake took Harry sledding on the Susquehanna River with his boy Jimmy, and Sophie’s pastor used to bring Harry to the Father and Son, Senator’s baseball games on City Island in Harrisburg.

When Harry was ten he made a lifetime friend in Tim Donnelly. Tim had lost his dad to heart disease at the age of nine, and he and Harry met in Cub Scouts. When they weren’t scouting, Uncle Jake took them camping in New Holland and in Holtwood. After high school, Tim, who couldn’t fulfill his dream of being a pilot due to his low frequency hearing loss, went to Lancaster Bible College to become a military chaplain. While Harry, who somehow did not desire vengeance against the man who killed his parents, decided to become a policeman to protect others from criminals. He went to the Reading Police Academy, after which Jake’s old army friend who was from Brooklyn, New York, got Harry a job as a beat cop in Sheepshead Bay, near Brighton Beach and Coney Island.

Harry met his wife, Greta at the nearby Roll-N-Roaster restaurant. Greta had emigrated from Cologne, Germany, and she had an accent that drove Harry wild. They courted for about a year and got married at the Boat House in Prospect Park in 1989, just two days after his 29th birthday. They had always been very happy together, but they had not been able to have children due to an illness Greta had battled in her early childhood.

Tim married a girl named Amanda right after Bible College, and they were stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where Tim was chaplain to this day. Harry and Tim still trekked back to Pennsylvania every few years to camp and fish. Tim started to bring Amanda and their son Jacob, named after Uncle Jake who was still living in Lancaster County. Young Jacob was now at Millersville University, studying to be a journalist.

Harry sure missed his family. He especially missed Greta, who was making her annual visit to her elderly widowed mother in Cologne, Germany. Her mom’s name was Sabine, and she stubbornly refused to accept their offer to have her move into their small Riverside Drive walk-up apartment, so while Harry had been able to go visit her a few times; it was her daughter Greta who faithfully made the trip each winter. Harry was glad that Greta could visit her mom, but always missed his wife a great deal.

In the meantime, he had to focus on his case-load. Harry leaned back on a nice worn recliner in the small make-shift office and looked out the Mansion window at a row of pigeons on a telephone wire…winter had come early, and there was snow in Riverside Park by the Hudson River. He looked over old case files and unsolved crimes, filing some things away that he couldn’t make sense of, and noting cases he thought he and his partner could take action on. Wondering why people did turn to a life of crime, he thought about his own great fortune in having been blessed with such a good life. He thanked God for that, and returned to his notes, stopping only for a coffee or a snack.

Satisfied that he had been productive, he headed to the gym for an afternoon swim.



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