Sunday, June 2, 2013

Game Warden Files--Staten Island, part 2

We quickly grew to love our life on Staten Island.  We found Bethel Evengelical Free Church and quickly became embedded into it.  It is still home to us in many ways.  Peggy did some office work for the pastor and made some great friends there so she was comfortable.  It was also close to New Jersey where we had some friends from her childhood.  They were now within about an hour's drive, closer than they'd ever been. By the time we moved there, I'd become the senior--no, make that the only--ECO in the region.  I was now the game warden for the entire city.  There was a captain, a lieutenant, and me.  Everyone had either transferred out or was in the academy along with the replacements for those who had transferred out.  I got to run all five boroughs of the city.  Actually, one day I did answer complaints in all five boroughs of the city!  In spite of the overload, it was fun.  I got to know a little of the culture and geography in each of the areas.  When the new guys all came out of the academy, I got to do the break-in for most of them also, that also took me to all over the city.  It was a time of great exploration.
Staten Island also brought me another boat.  I'd had the 31 footer in Brooklyn, and now I had a 19 foot Mako with twin 75 horsepower outboards.  I was also about the only officer who could operate the big boat, so I still ran that quite often, also.
One part of myself that I discovered while on Staten Island was that I'd finally grown into myself.  I was confident, competent and had become a good communicator.  I started to realize this when I went to open an account with the local fuel company and was turned down because I was a renter and not a home owner. I was offered the chance to speak to the owner of the company, a very down to earth gentleman who looked over my application while we spoke.  We talked about many things: the nature of my job, which interested him; the nature of society; even the fact that I had once delivered fuel oil and serviced furnaces for a living, including that I'd had to collect before delivering on all too many occasions.  After a few minutes of pleasant conversation, he smiled, told the girls behind the counter to give me an open account and thanked me for my time.  I found that if I took the time to let people know what I was about, they were far more likely to be trusting and agreeable to my desires.   My supervisor, Jim Molenelli noticed that ability in me also.  He once commented that he was surprised the city had not yet made a personal exit for me on the West Shore Expressway, since it did run right by my house.

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