They say as you get older, policemen look younger. But it’s also vicars, even bishops.
That’s no bad thing, turning the ‘establishment’ on its head. We ‘seniors’, who’ve done it all before and should be wiser, need their freshness and vigour to revive and support us.
Fortunately, they also kindly indulge and even respect us, though perhaps out of pity or amusement. Take the police officer once nominated Blackpool’s top cop. She smiled patiently when I bumped into her at a Whitegate Drive mini-market and thoughtlessly asked, “Not on duty today?”
“Actually,” she said quietly, as curious heads turned, “I am, but supposedly under-cover.”
More recently I met her at our cricket club, having a family meal, and asked if she was back at work yet after becoming a mother.
She responded, “Yes – but stuck at a desk,” adding regretfully, “I’m still not fit to kneel on chests then quick-cuff them!” The enthusiasm of youth.
In our Marton parish, the Bishop of Blackburn hasn’t yet appointed a new vicar to our neighbourhood church of St Paul’s. Last Sunday, All Saints’ Day prompted one of my all-too-rare visits and a tennis friend only just retired was giving the sermon.
He had a winning humour, adding that retirement from teaching now meant he could read more – such as Graham Greene’s novel The Power and The Glory.
It was about a worldly ‘whisky priest’ on the run in Mexico, who finally finds his own unexpected sainthood when facing a firing squad, but also his salvation.
The lesson was that we all have a role to play or, as my friend had reflected while strolling along South Promenade by that giant glitterball, our chance to shine. But just how?
Then, in a friendly aside afterwards, he told me, “Now I’ll have time to read your books too!”
* For Roy’s books visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.