The negative image of grandmother from my childhood and early adolescence stayed with me when I reached adulthood. As I became more independent, my dislike of her ways reached the point where I purposely saw little of her. In part because I could not stand any perceived criticism, and also because seeing her made me feel guilty for my periodic dislike of her.
Now we all know that Mr. Chase takes his life seriously, but what we donít know is that life sometimes takes Mr. Chase humorously. The incident was a quaint comedy of errors, but one he would never ever want to live through again.
Had the events of the day been allowed fruition, several important performances would have been cancelled, namely the final performance of the Butterfield production of the play “Over the River and Through the Woods,” and the October 24 issue of The Journal of North Texas. Because Mr. Chase would have been in the local hoosegow.
It began on a Sunday morning and everything was clicking along par ordinary for the Chase household. The daughters were preparing for church, the son was at work, and Mr. Chase and I were in the normal chaotic skirmish trying to get the paper put together for that week.
It was important to get as much done before the evening, because Mr. Chase would be gone, giving his last performance for the Butterfield play. He would be gone longer than usual because of the set strike to do after the show.
What many donít know is that Mr. Chase is an integral part of putting the Journal together. He gives it a professional polish by making sure the type is lined up, the corners meet where corners should, and page numbers are correct. Just the little things one might overlook, but which, in the end give a newspaper that final shine.
Then there was a fateful knock at the door, just like out of one of those B-grade thriller movies of the Ď50s. And just like a B-grade movie, I answered the door in my robe to two police officers.
They were asking for Mr. Chase and they werenít inquiring about his health. They said they had a warrant for his arrest.
Immediately my eyebrows shot up into my hair. My Mr. Chase, My Mr. Chase had a warrant out for his arrest? Impossible. Unless, doubt stole into my mind, he had been living a double life under an alias.
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I told the officers they had to be mistaken.
Double-checking by radioing back to the station for confirmation, one officer said there was a warrant for Mr. Chaseís arrest over a dog-at-large ticket issued two years ago.
Hah! I thought, and was seriously thinking of telling him we didnít have a dog, even though she was inside the house barking.
Mr. Chase came to the door. They wanted to take him away right then and there even though he was barefoot and in a T-shirt. Oh mercy me, I thought, this was worse than a nightmare; this had to be a B-grade movie.
ďBut he has to help me put out the paper for this week,Ē I wailed loud enough for the neighbors to hear. ďWithout him there will be no paper.Ē
Visions of Mr. Chase standing on cold concrete floors in his bare feet behind steel bars flashed across my mind. Fear like icicles froze in my blood.
Mr. Chase -- keeping his wits about him -- asked to see the warrant. They said the warrant was at the station.
But we wanted to see it immediately and asked again for the warrant. They said they didnít have to show it to us, that Mr. Chase could see the warrant when he got to the station.
First perplexed, then outraged, our voices raised -- no raced -- into the area known as yelling.
“You canít do this.”
“This is Sunday.”
“We didnít get any prior notice.v
“Iíve never been in trouble before.”
“Itís been two years ago.”
“Youíre treating me like a criminal.”
This was getting us nowhere. The police officers kept staring at us with deadpan faces.
Meanwhile, our tender daughters -- who were still in the house -- never missed a stride in their preparations for church. They took all the yelling and stomping on the front porch by their parents as par ordinary for the Chase household.
Really in turmoil now, I marched inside after the phone to call the Chief. Mr. Chase had to stay on the porch in full view of the officers. They were not to lose sight of him. It was part of their training manual: when a suspect is located, donít lose him.
I came back to the porch with the phone and an officer was gracious enough to give me the Chiefís number since I didnít have my glasses on and was fumbling in the phone book.
I was going to get the cavalry, since none of the neighbors were coming to assist. In a B-grade movie, the entire neighborhood would have joined in the argument.
Cutting to the chase (not Mr. Chase) the Chief asked to speak to the officer in charge. He promptly issued orders and hung up.
The officer in charge told Mr. Chase he was to report to the municipal judgeís office, 8 a.m. sharp the next day.
Putting my nose in the air, I said weíd be happy to do so and whirled my robe around as I marched back into the house with My Mr. Chase.
I wasnít going to let on that the officers were more professional acting than we were.
Wait a minute; I canít believe I just wrote that. After all the acting classes and stage productions weíve both done, I am not going to let the police get top billing. Of course Mr. Chase and I were the more professional acting out on the front porch. After all, we are theater par excellence.
Back to the story: we were to be blessed with twenty-four hours grace. Enough time for Mr. Chase to do his final performance and help get the paper out.
We thought our rights were badly trampled, but in the course of events, we found out that the police have every right to show up any time if they have a warrant for an arrest. They donít have to show the warrant either; itís written in the law that way.
We also found out that the police and municipal judge are doing some housecleaning with their files and paperwork. They are pursuing old warrants. Or, as Mr. Chase mentioned, they are simply doing their jobs.
There is a moral to the story. As soon as I get the dog to stop barking, I can tell it . . .
The moral of the story is to keep the family dog out of B-grade movies.
BIO: Kit Chase lives in Gainesville, a small rural town in north central Texas. She is married to Tom Chase and together they have four children. Her career in journalism didn't begin until after she reached forty and walked into the town's only newspaper office applying for a job as a reporter. Five years later she created a position as managing editor at a newly formed weekly paper, The North Texas Journal. Kit's interest in writing has always been part of her life, fostered by her mother when she was younger. She and her family participate in the local community theater Butterfield Stage, and have appeared in numerous productions. She has written a murder mystery comedy for a dinner theater, which was produced by Butterfield in 1998. A favorite hobby of hers is the card game euchre.