I can only imagine how emotional it was to be at any of the services. I spent a good part of the day watching the funeral and the motorcade on television. A few times when things got a little emotional for me, Stuart (my therapy dog) hopped up on my lap. He seemed sad when the television announcers talked about Deputy Pickett’s canine partner, Brik.
We all have memories of events that are forever in our minds. I’m sure that the loss of Deputy Pickett and Southport Police Lt. Aaron Allen have been added to my list. My oldest memory of the loss of a police officer goes back to when I was about 12.
I was attending Edgewood Grade School and had a newspaper route, which started on Epler Avenue just after I crossed Madison Avenue. I then traveled back and forth on the first three streets between Epler and Thompson Road.
One evening as I was finishing my route and approaching Madison Avenue, I started seeing state police cars driving south on Madison, which was a two-lane state highway (Ind. 431) at the time. The cars were traveling at or below the speed limit, but the big red lights on the top of the vehicles were lit and rotating.
I had never seen anything like that before. I believe it was the following day before I found out what had happened. A state trooper, Sgt. Hubert E. Rousch had been killed in a traffic accident at the intersection of Madison and Epler avenues. His car was struck by a truck that made an illegal left turn. If the wreck had happened 45 minutes later, I would have been right there.
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I received a telephone call last week from one of my former high school classmates, Judy Snyder, who called to inform me of the death of one of our classmates, Larry Unversaw, who had been having some health problems.
Whenever I heard Larry’s name, the following story always pops in my mind.
In the late 1950s my dad opened his Sunoco service station on Madison Avenue. One evening – I think it was after dark – I was restocking things at the fuel island. I was walking toward the fuel pumps when someone jumped up from the far side of one of the pumps and screamed a goofy version of my name.
I had no clue that any human was within 30 yards me. I jumped back, dropped stuff and screamed some bad words. Larry was walking to his destination and decided to stop and say hi – boy, did he get me. I have no memory of anything that happened after that. I think I gave him a ride after we closed the station for the evening. Memories are precious.
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We have a special robin that has come back to nest in our front yard for the third year. She knows that I will provide her some earthworms within a couple days of her arrival.
We also have a pair of ducks that nest on the creek bank near us. They have learned that we have a couple of bird feeders that always have some really tasty seeds under them. On Sunday the male duck arrived and spent some breakfast time outside our window. He and his mate seem to like me, my wife, Lyn, and Stewart.
OK, I’m off to purchase some worms.