We file our tax returns on time, exercise our right to vote and try not to exceed any speed limit by more than five miles per hour (unless it’s a long road trip and Zac is driving).
The only policeman who has ever showed up at our door was not even interested in us.
Oddly enough, we had just turned off a crime show one night several years ago when Zac heard a knock at our exterior door. After he had been outside for several minutes, I followed to see if I needed to call the police.
A Cordova cop was chatting with my husband about an investigation of some illegal plants that were (allegedly) growing in the neighborhood. He wanted to search parts of our property in case any of the plants had crossed onto our side of the line.
We told him that we had nothing to hide, and that is the last we heard of it.
Maybe it was because we don’t have enough experience breaking the law that we were bound to get caught when we decided to throw caution to the wind a few months ago.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and our little family needed an outing. Zac selflessly offered to dust off his rod and reel and tackle box if Wyatt and I wanted to go fishing.
We had already loaded up the truck when Zac remembered that he had not renewed his fishing license yet.
Zac’s work keeps him so busy that he barely has time for household chores, much less hobbies. He paid for a license last year that he hardly ever used, so he had put off getting a new one.
“I don’t think it will matter” were my famous last words.
We ended up at the Memorial Park pond, which happens to be one of Wyatt’s favorite places. I figured that the chances of that little body of water being patrolled were extremely remote.
Plus, Zac just wanted to teach Wyatt the fine art of casting. We wouldn’t really be “fishing” since we wouldn’t be trying that hard to catch anything.
Unfortunately, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources does not make such a distinction.
I staked out a spot in the shade while Zac and Wyatt went about their non-fishing.
Across the pond, a group of teenagers were taunting the Memorial Park geese, several of which are downright mean and possibly possessed. I laughed as the ill-tempered birds turned the tables on their tormentors and chased them around the park.
It wasn’t long before I brought out my trusty Canon Rebel and started taking pictures.
I was in a black and white phase at the time. Without the distraction of color, I found beauty in images that I otherwise might have missed — Zac holding a fishing pole while Wyatt reeled in the line, a flock of birds flying over the Natatorium, the canopy above me providing protection from the sun’s rays.
However, I quickly realized that monochrome was not an appropriate setting for getting shots of the water. There was something about its ripples and inky blueness that both fascinated and relaxed me.
By the time I put the camera away, Wyatt had grown bored and was amusing himself by throwing pine cones. Zac got in some extra casting practice while I laid back and closed my eyes.
The troubles that had been on my mind earlier in the day seemed far way until I heard, “How y’all doing today?”
I opened my eyes and saw a nice man with a badge approaching Zac. We were as sunk as the pebbles that Wyatt had started hurling into the pond.
Thankfully, the game warden was very polite, and Zac responded in kind by being truthful and completely cooperative.
Our second surprise of the day came when he asked for Zac’s driver’s license in order to write out the citation.
“These expired in February. Might want to take care of that as soon as you can,” he said.
After catching us fishing without a license and driving with an expired one, he probably wondered if we had plans to knock off a gas station on the way home.
I could have tried to explain what upstanding citizens we are, but I don’t think he would have believed me.