At 11:15 a.m. Friday, my tour of duty ended with the closing session of the conference. After quick trip to my room, a change to shorts and after dropping my luggage off with the concierge, I joined the midday rush to lunch. During the walk I took on my first night in town, I passed by the Wells Fargo museum and found the Phoenix Police Museum, which I had planned to visit if time allowed. I first stopped at the Wells Fargo museum. It is typical of a small corporate museum, but in perusing its exhibit I learned of Arizona’s own little gold and silver rushes and spent time looking over a collection of guns accumulated by one of the banks former presidents.
Thankfully, it was cooler today, so my stroll through Patriots Park was nice. But again, I found it odd. Patriots Park is one block by one block plaza. It’s relatively new, with trees, brick walkways and planters, and a lawn in front of a stage covered by sweeping canvas panels. It’s quite nice. But it is used by only a few souls, some homeless, to get out of the sun. Kitty corner to the opposite end of Patriot’s Plaza is the Phoenix Police Museum.
This is a stop I can recommend to anyone who even has a passing interest. The Phoenix Police Museum is small, but full of interesting tidbits related to the history of Phoenix law enforcement. I was lucky enough to visit on a day during which the first female police officer was working as a docent. She and her daughter personally regaled me with tales of her experiences; tell me how the first uniform for women police officers was based on the uniform used by the WACS, but when she was told that her uniform was going to cost $167 (an there was no uniform allowance), she prompted made her own, which was accepted by the department. As she was required to wear a skirt and could not wear a belt, all her gear ~ gun, sap, flashlight, ammunition ~ when into her purse, which tipped the scales at 47 pounds! Also, the high-heeled shoes she wore pretty much prohibited running, so she became adept at throwing her sap or flashlight to stop fleeing suspects. She also solemnly showed me a room in which officers who fell in the line of duty are memorialized. Quite a woman.
After spending more time than I expected a the Phoenix Police Museum, I headed back to the hotel to catch a shuttle to Sky Harbor. The shuttle company also runs Lincoln Towncars and, apparently, it is first-come/first-gives-the-customer-a-ride at the top of the hour, I rode in luxury back to the airport, where I grabbed a leisure lunch.
Airports can be great places to people watch (and listen). An old couple argued over the solution to a Soduko puzzle. A young lady consoled her boyfriend about her leaving, blaming her departure on her mother. Folks of all shapes, sizes and ages bee-bop to music fed to them via Ipods. Cells phones sprout from the ears of just as many folks. Another couple seemed to revel in their new-found ability to pick up and head out of town, now that their youngest child was out of the house. It was a good thing that people-watching kept me entertained…my flight was 30 minutes late. Out my window I can see topside of fluffy clouds kissed by the last rays of the setting sun. We’re plying our way home at 30,000 feet. For a trip that I viewed as disruptive to my routine at work and at home, it sure had some highlights.
P.S. It is a funny site to see folks, who are waiting for the bus in the late afternoon, scattered about in a seemingly random manner until one realizes they are all seeking any shade they can find.