We were almost ready to go when we heard the back gate slam. She was burgled a few months ago, so as I turned around, I hoped it wasn’t some bad guys. It turned out it was quite the opposite: the police.
“What are you two doing back here?”
I stepped forward and told him that this was Hillary’s house and she had given us permission to garden in her backyard.
“And where is this Hillary right now?”
“Teaching Spanish class at high school. I don’t have the number to the direct line in her room, but I’m sure if you call the school they will transfer you. I do have her dad’s phone number, and he can tell you that we have permission to be here.”
“One of the neighbors called in saying there was suspicious behavior in this backyard.”
I told him it was good that he came because her home had been broken into a few months ago, and it was great that they were checking it out.
He thought for a second. “Do either of you have ID on you?”
“Mine is in my purse in the car. I’ll gladly go get it for you.”
DH2U had already reached for his wallet and provided it to the officer, so the officer turned me down on the offer. That was probably a good thing since I look like a serial killer in my ID!
While that officer was calling in the information, his partner asked about our garden. I showed him our planter box, our big (to me) plot at the ground level, and then all our tomato plants waiting for transplant.
The officer running the ID information then asked, with a hint of a smile, if the huge lemon tree was ours.
I laughed and said it was Hillary’s. It would be a bit too big for us to carry.
Finally we were told we could carry on with what we were doing. I think it helped that throughout this time I was carrying a container filled with potting soil, and I was covered in dirt. He did mention that he didn’t think anyone who planned to break in would be pulling weeds.
I thought this whole thing was hilarious. I knew I was in the right, and I’ve always been relaxed around the police. Just in case, though, I did arrange with Hillary to write a permission slip for us signed by her that includes her work number put in a place where DH2U or I could access it if it ever happens again and the officers are having a bad day. That was the one piece of that would have removed all doubt.
Have you ever been questioned by the police? or Have you ever been caught in a completely innocent situation that could easily have been perceived otherwise?