A lot of time is spent in the police department looking for missing persons. Some of the people go off on their own and don’t want to be found. Some will get mad and run away. Then there is the young couple who left to get away from Mom and Pop. Regardless, a lot of hours are used hunting them.

I remember a case that was given to me to work when I was in plainclothes. The head of the investigators gave me a report of an old gentleman who was missing. I looked at the photo and recognized him. He lived in East Rome in the projects. I had talked to him on several occasions. I knew him as Amos.

Amos was a lively character for his age. He liked to tell jokes and when you saw him he usually had people around him. I took the report and got in the police car to try to find him.

I went to his home in the projects to talk to his wife. I was met at the door by a large lady with a broom in her hand. She kept referring to him as “the old griper.” I asked her why and she gave me a disgusted look. “That man is the world’s biggest griper. He gripes about everything and anything.” She paused. I waited. “He can gripe about one thing for a week, never changing the subject. I don’t know what to do with him.”

She looked at me and scratched her head. I could see she wanted to say something else. I could see tears in her eyes. “Mister Policeman,” she said. “Find him and send him home. I give him a clean house to live in. I keep him plenty of food and all the loving he wants.”

I opened the door and stepped out onto the porch. “I will find him and see if I can get him to come home,” I said, going back to the car.

Amos was usually over at the corner of Myrtle and Hardy at a small store with a bunch of old cronies, telling jokes. I came in from the lower part of Hardy and could see several old men sitting outside, under a tree. As I pulled in, I saw Amos.

He shook his head as I got out of the car and began to talk.

“Mister I am not going back over to that woman. She nags from sun up to sun down. It goes on all day.” I began to laugh. “Amos, she said that it was you who did all the griping.” I watched his face as it changed expression. The others that were there was laughing as hard as they could.

I decided to try something on him. “Amos,” I remember saying. “She loves you and wants you to come back home. You know a good woman is hard to find. I could tell when I talked to her that she cares about you. I can’t tell you what to do but if it was me I would let no grass grow under my feet until I went home.”

I watched as a tear rolled down his cheek. This made two people that had cried while talking to me. “Come on Amos, get in the car and I will take you home.” He picked up his hat and put it on his head. Then he walked over and got in. On the way to the projects he never said a word. I pulled into the front of the house and she was there.

Amos was a small man and I smiled as she helped him from the car. He walked to the front porch and sat down in a chair. The woman touched my arm and said, Mister, you will never know how much what you have done means to me.” As I headed back to headquarters to make out a report, I remember that I felt good.

There was another case that was handed to me. This was a small boy that had been missing from home. It seemed that no one knew where he could be. It was on a weekend and I figured that he was at some of his friends’ home so I began to check.

I saw two small boys playing in the yard as I drove up. One of them fitted the description of the missing boy. As I walked up to the house, a lady came out. I introduced myself. She pointed to one of the boys. “I called his mother and told her he was over here.”

The parents knew where he was but would not come and get him. I could not understand what was happening but would find out.

I asked him why he ran away from home. I was not ready for the answer. He said his father called him his “little son of a ###.” I almost wrecked the car when he said it. I remember I was at a loss for words. I pulled in to the driveway and his father came out. I watched as the little boy went into the house. Then I turned my attention to the man who would call his small child that.

When confronted he smiled and said, “Officer this is the way it is. His mother is a ### so that makes him a son of a ###.” I shook my head and got back into the car. I have often wondered what happened to the small child who took the brunt of this marriage. What kind of a man did he grow up to be.

Lonie Adcock of Rome is a retired Rome Police Department lieutenant. His latest book is “Fact or Fiction.”

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