Lunch today with an old friend and a new friend. I spent most of it catching up with Sean, listening to the changes at the old agency; the mistakes and politics and much of it, it seemed, was about broken people. Some good news, as always. Good people shine in shitty situations... but others seem to enjoy making shitty situations worse and murkier.
Then I stopped by the range to see another old friend. I should have expected it, but there were many old friends there. I caught them on a break so we were able to talk for a few minutes. The nostalgia hit hard driving home. These are extraordinary men* doing a dangerous, difficult and thankless job. They are the best of everything it is to be a man: intelligent, dedicated, trustworthy, courageous. MR will have his doctorate soon, may have it already, and teaches at a local college... at the same time he has been a father figure to new officers, a tactical operator and a fighter. Each of them is a story like that.
I know these men as efficient fighters; cold, level-headed planners; and good, friendly people. Dedicated family men. Those who have been thrust into the position are leaders. Not managers, but true leaders. Every last one of them has risked serious injury again and again to help others, and often the people they were helping are the kind of people that most civilians pretend not to see when they ask for lose change, or get outraged when they hear of their crimes.
I miss it. I miss the job and most of all I miss these people. If brother was a matter of choice, MP and SC would be my brothers. I hope my son grows up to be the kind of man that BW projects so effortlessly. If I were to be stuck in a room for years with one voice to talk to, it would be MR.
*Just so happened everyone there was male... trust me, the ladies who do this job can more than hold their own in every way.