Friend In Blue
Rosco picked up
the phone. “Hazzard County Sheriff Department… Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane
speaking, yes Gussy, I’ll take the call.” He paused and listened to the voice
on the other end of the line. “Sure Lacey, I’ll be right over. Ain’t like I am
the only one here.” The last words more a friendly jab than a snicker. Hazzard
was a small, quiet, country town in
Welcome to Hazzard where Commissioner JD Hogg runs things around here.
Rosco set the phone down and walked over towards the door that said Commissioner Hogg.
JD or Boss, as most folks called him had been in office only a few weeks after a special May election, when the previous commissioner had to step down. He had ambition and drive. He was hard working and honest.
JD Hogg had begun his work career as a moonshine runner at the age of 14 in 1934. He moved on to shine making in the forties. In the fifties, he began to buy land, seeing a chance to improve his wealth. He started dating Miss Tri Country of 1953, Lulu Coltrane. They wed in 1958, which made him not just Rosco’s boss but also his brother in law.
“Hey Boss, I gotta run over to Springville.”
JD Hogg looked up from his stack of papers at the open door and the Sheriff who stood in the archway. He was still getting use to all the regulations and laws that he had to know to be commissioner. Hazzard was such a small town, it really didn’t need but one public elected official, the hours were long but a good job well done meant happy towns folks who were more than happy to pay their fines and taxes on time. “That’s fine.”
Rosco nodded and shut the door. He picked his black hat off the desk and walked outside to a 1960 Ford Thunderbird, the only patrol car the county had at the time.
A short time later the Ford pulled up outside the Springville Orphanage. Rosco got out of the patrol car and saw Lacey on the steps waiting for him.
“Now what could be so important you couldn’t tell me over the phone,” Rosco asked.
“We have a young girl here that none of the other Sheriffs recognized her, and I was hoping you might be able too.” Lacey escorted the Hazzard lawman inside the building.
Part of being a good sheriff, was knowing the folks in your county. So except for the occasional visitor, most sheriffs did.
“I’ll be happy to help if I can.” Rosco followed him to the first room just after the entranceway.
Lacey quietly pointed to a girl, sitting in a window alcove. A book in her hands was covered slightly by the long straight brunette hair that hung down. Rosco wasn’t sure but from just a glance she looked familiar. She appeared to be the eleven-year-old niece of Boss’s longtime friend Jesse Duke and his wife Martha Livonia. “Can I use your phone?”
“I take it you know her?”
“That’s Daisy Duke,” Rosco stated.
The little girl hopped down from the alcove with a curious expression.
Lacey didn’t look surprised. Rosco’s skills as a law officer
were second to no one else. Many folks considered him to be the best lawman in
the state of
Rosco smiled, there were so many dang Dukes. Jesse and his wife hadn’t had any younguns but Jesse was the oldest of nine siblings. They were raising Daisy plus two nephews… Seven year old Bo and thirteen old Luke. Their parents had all passed on. Luke had been the first to come to the farm when he was three in the fall of 1955, his parents and new baby brother killed in a hospital fire.
Daisy’s father and mother had been killed in a car accident when she was six. Bo’s folks had been killed when he was only one. His father had stopped at the bank where Bo's mother was a teller, so the two could have lunch together since he had a moonshine run that night and wouldn't be home. There was a hold up and they were the only two people killed. Though it hadn’t been proven, Rosco had always wondered if any of the deaths was the result of the Duke family’s moonshine success. There were a lot of moon shiners but few could make the quality that
Jesse Duke made. Jit Jit. “You’re not Daisy, you're Daney.”
The eight year old smiled at the lawmen. Lacey frowned. “Why didn’t you say so?”
“I told the lady that but she wouldn’t listen.” If there was one thing all the Dukes seemed to have in common, it was a stubborn temper and not being afraid to speak one’s opinion. Daney didn’t have the traditional blue eyes that 99 % of the Dukes had or brown like a few of the others, she had green brown hazel. It was what made her unique and set her a part from shy blonde Bo, pretty pixie Daisy, or serious brunette haired Luke and the rest of the cousins.
“Have a seat. I’m going to make a call.”
“Ok.” She turned to go back to the alcove while Rosco followed Chief Lacey out of the room. They went into the main office. Lacey picked up the phone and asked for the extension.
Rosco peered around the office, his gaze finally rested on the desk. A sheet of notebook paper written in child’s cursive caught his attention. He picked the sheet up and began to read.
He looked up to see Lacey handing him the receiver, he in turn handed the paper to Lacey. He listened to the person on the other line for a few minutes, before speaking. “Would you rather I call Jesse and see what he can do?”
Lacey went through the folder that had been under the paper, by the time Rosco hung the phone up a few minutes later he was done.
“Interesting ain’t it?” He held the folder out to the Hazzard County Sheriff, the notebook paper on the top.
“Call the Duke farm. I’d bet a meal of Mama’s, Jesse’ll take care of this.” Rosco said quietly, blue eyes scanning the documents quickly.
Lacey picked up the phone again. He waited while he was connected to the Hazzard Country operator, then finally to the Duke farm. He spoke for a moment and then handed the phone over to Rosco.
“Probably be best if y’all came today. Alright, we’ll see you in a little bit then,” Rosco hung the phone up then. He turned and took a seat to wait for the Dukes. Lacey meanwhile begin to make a few more calls.
Meanwhile at a farmhouse located off Old Mill Road, 18 miles from the town of Hazzard.
Jesse Duke looked hesitantly at his niece and nephews after Martha had told him about the phone call. “I have something I want to ask you.”
11-year-old Daisy asked. "What is it?"
“Would you like Daney to come and live with us here on the farm?”
“Doesn’t she like
A brunette haired teen with light blue eyes hit him on the shoulder. “Bo, you don’t say stuff like that. Of course we do.”
"Luke, you shouldn't've done that to him," Daisy said.
Jesse gave them each a look and Martha gave them a smile. “Well it’s a long story. Rosco got a call from Chief Lacey over in Springville. I want y’all to be good while your Aunt Martha and I are gone. If you have any trouble, call Miss Lulu and JD.”
They echoed in agreement watching him and their aunt walk out.
Daney was nervous looking at the man in the uniform sitting at the other end of the table from her. Could she trust him? Timidly she stood up. “Mr. Sheriff sir, can I talk to you?”
“Well of course,” Rosco smiled.
“I don’t want to go home,” Daney spoke quietly.
Rosco looked at her as she walked closer. He was pretty sure the paper he had read had been written by her. Not just from what he read but her cheek had what appeared to be a faded bruise on it. He frowned and rose from his seat. “How did you get that mark on your cheek?”
“I fell off my bike yesterday and hurt myself,” She fibbed.
“Would you mind showing me?” Rosco asked, concerned.
“Sure.” Daney pulled her shirtsleeve up just above her wrist. There was a welt, the kind a belt would make.
“You didn’t fall off your bike, did you?” He asked.
"No sir," Daney paused as tears slipped down her cheeks, onto her shirt. "I'm sorry I fibbed.”
“It’s alright. I'll be back,” Rosco answered. He then walked out of the room, into the hall and to the next room. He threw the door opened and looked seriously at the stern looking fella in a black robe at the head of the table.
“Excuse me your Honor, I need to bring something to your attention,” Rosco said in a firm voice.
“Yes Sheriff, what is it?” The judge asked.
Rosco stepped closer to the table. “Daney’s life is in danger if you send her back home.”
“Do you have some information, Sheriff?” The judge inquired curiously.
“What’s wrong, Rosco?” Jesse asked, after the younger man didn’t speak for several moments.
The dark haired, blue eyed Sheriff had regained control of his anger when he finally spoke. “You ever take a belt to Daisy?”
Jesse shook his head. “No, can’t say I’ve ever had to yet, thank the good lord.”
The judge rose
from his seat. “Sheriff, Mr. and Mrs. Duke… I’d like y'all to wait in the hall
while I speak to her.” The law said she was suppose to
be sent home but the Sheriff's words disturbed him enough that he felt the need
to see the girl. He led the threesome from
Martha, Jesse and Rosco had been sitting quietly for a few minutes when the judge came back out. “Sheriff, can you come in here? She won’t talk to me.”
“I figured she wouldn’t.” Rosco stood up and followed the judge into the room.
“Daney, Jesse and Martha can’t take you home if you don’t talk to the judge here.” Rosco waved a hand toward the gentleman.
“He’s just gonna send me home,” Daney paused and bit on her lip, she was all cried out.
“No, he won’t- C’mon you can tell him. I know you can,” Rosco encouraged.
Daney scooted the chair back and stood up. Without a word, the child lifted her shirtsleeve up like she had done earlier. She searched the judge's face for some sort of emotion that would tell her what he was thinking. She grabbed the Sheriff’s arm when the judge walked out without saying anything.
Rosco looked at her. “Don’t worry.”
Daney looked unsure.
The judge came back in a few minutes later. “I’d like you to take the young lady to her house and get what ever she wants to take to her new home. It’s going to take Jesse and Martha a bit of time to fill out all the papers for guardianship like they had to do for the other ones that are in their home now. I want to process them before they leave.”
“Yes, your honor.” He paused and took Daney’s hand. “You ready to go?”
Daney's green brown eyes shined bright. “Yes.” She waved to Jesse and Martha when they got out into the hall before going outside to the patrol car.
attentively to Daney talk about school and things she liked on the way to a
house on one of the main streets in
He followed her inside. When you walked in there was a living room to the left, a dining room to the right. The kitchen was on the other side of the dining room.
“If you’re thirsty Sheriff, there might be something in the refrigerator. I doubt it… They were hardly ever home.” Daney said shyly before turning a corner and running up a flight of steps. Rosco wasn’t thirsty so he did a bit of snooping. Trying to see if he could find anything that would indicate why this had happened. Parents were suppose to love and care about the offspring they choose to bring into the world.
Besides the steps to the second floor…there were 3 doors in the kitchen. One to the cellar, one to the small backyard where a small carport was. The other door led to a small bathroom that had a bedroom off of it. He walked through the bedroom and found himself at the foot of the steps.
He ran up the stairs when he heard a sound like something was being thrown against a wall. On the stair landing to the right was Daney’s room. To the left was another bedroom that had a window where you could see the cars passing by on the street. “Are you ok?” he asked, seeing her standing in the middle of the room.
“Yeah… I feel better.” Daney replied, her gaze resting on a smashed vase a few feet from her. She looked at it for a brief second and then grabbed a rope that was the handle for a small cloth bag. “I’m ready to go.”
"Don't you want to take those books?" He gestured to the wooden board that was nailed to the wall next to the window that overlooked the backyard.
She slung the plaid bag over her shoulder. "No room in here for 'em."
"Well that isn't a problem." He walked over and picked up a large white wicker laundry hamper that was sitting under the window. Faster than Boss and Lulu could eat a seven course meal, all the books had been packed to the white plastic bin's top and carted to the patrol car.
The Sheriff listened to his sister talk about one of the kids at the orphanage. “There might be some one you could call. I don’t know how willing she’d be but you could ask Daney.”
“Oh Rosco, I don’t know.” Lulu sighed. It would be nice, the child needed someone to talk to and the Duke teenager had been though the same thing.
Rosco picked up the phone. “Gussy, get me the Duke farm… thank you,” He paused. “Hello Jesse, how are you? Do you think Daney might be willin' to talk to one of the orphanage kids?” There was another pause. “Sure, Lulu will be glad to come out and pick her up. Let her know Lulu will be there in about 30 minutes.” He glanced over at Lulu with a raised eyebrow, as if to say is that ok.
Lulu nodded and listened to the formal goodbye. “Thank you, baby brother.” She said and got up from her seat.
“Khee, no problem. That’s what I’m here for,” Rosco smiled and leaned back in his chair to look out his office window.
When Lulu pulled up to the farm, Daney was standing on the porch.
“Hi Miss Lulu,” The brunette teenager paused for a second and turned toward the house. “I’m leaving, Daisy. Be back soon,” She sprinted down the steps.
Lulu could barely hear the other Duke’s goodbye as Daney came toward the car. She smiled, "I'm glad you were home."
“Jesse said something about the orphanage.” Daney closed the door on the passenger side.
“There is a little girl there age 9,” Lulu paused. “I think she needs someone she could open up too.”
“Like a friend?” Daney asked.
“Well what are we waiting for?”
Lulu chuckled and drove the car back out on the road.
“How is school going?”
“Great, I think with Bo on the team, the boys will win state championship.”
“They might. The last time Hazzard won… that was when Luke played?”
“Yeah, doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.” Daney smiled and looked out the window, her brown green hazel eyes watched the scenery go by and listened as Miss Lulu recounted her latest shopping trip to the city. Soon the vehicle pulled up in front of the Sheridan Orphanage.
Kids waved and yelled hello as they got out of the car. “Now you boys get away or I won’t take y’all to the ice cream parlor later,” Miss Lulu reminded the group of children. Daney smiled at the wide eyes and innocent grins. The ice cream parlor had only been open a few months and Miss Lulu took the kids once a week. Boss had a fit about the cost, but it made Miss Lulu happy and that was what mattered.
“Daney, I’d like you to meet Season.” Lulu said, after they entered the living room of the home.
It was plainly decorated with the drawings of the children taped to the walls. The orphanage was run mostly by donations, the biggest contributor being Lulu Hogg.
“Howdy Season, it’s nice to meet you.” Daney smiled and reached her hands up to brush some hair out of her eyes.
“You’re Bo’s cousin,” The little girl’s brown eyes lit up.
Daney wrinkled her nose up. Not that she minded but for one reason or other, girls of all ages were attracted to the lanky blond Duke with dark blue eyes. “He ain’t my only cousin- Why don’t we go for a walk and talk about our cousins. You got cousins don’t you?”
“Yes and yes,” The little girl giggled and slipped her hand in the hand that was extended to her. The two girls left while Lulu and Mr. Sheridan began walking toward the kitchen where Mrs. Sheridan was waiting to go over the food budget. Lulu was having a discussion with Mr. Sheridan about the utilities when the door opened and the kids came running through.
Several small voices echoed each other. “It started rainin'!”
Lulu frowned after glancing around the crowd. “Did any of you see Daney or Season?”
A giggle came from the doorway. Lulu held her hand up to her mouth as she saw both girls soaking wet. Mr. Sheridan frowned, he liked to run the orphanage much like the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Forces ran their boot camps. Very strict rules and one of them was not playing in water, another was not to get anything on the old worn out carpets.
Season smiled as Daney stooped down to let her off her back. “We went down to the gazebo. It’s real pretty downtown.” She looked up at the older girl. “Thank you.”
Daney hugged her. “You're welcome. Maybe I’ll stop and see you after school tomorrow.”
Mr. Sheridan cut off the little girl’s reply. “Children, go up to your rooms, please.”
“But Miss Lulu was suppose to take us to the ice cream parlor.”
“It’s not nap or bed time.”
“I said now!” Mr. Sheridan's voice was gruffer than normal.
Lulu glanced from the empty eyes of Mr. Sheridan to the anger on Daney’s face as the children filed out of the room.
Mr. Sheridan could see both of them wanted an answer. “I just don’t think it would be right for Season to have a visitor, when the others don’t. I think you can understand that.”
“I understand… maybe you should try organizing things for them. There are the girl and boy scouts, stuff like that.” Daney replied and crossed her arms over her chest.
“We don’t have the money for those things,” Mr. Sheridan retorted.
“If its money you need, why didn’t you just say so? I’m sure JD would gladly put up some of the cost,” Lulu said matter of factly.
Daney added. “I bet you’d have all kinds of volunteers for the kind of things these children need if you let folks know.”
“How would you know what they need?”
“I was a kid not long ago and Season told me.”
“She doesn’t talk to anyone.”
“She talked to me. And I’ll tell you if I was old enough, you’d be out of a job, Mr. Sheridan!” Daney was not about to hold back now. She looked at Lulu. “Season told me one of the reasons, she doesn’t talk is because he tells them not to. What these kids need is activities and support, not shut up in rooms or left to run wild outside for hours.”
Lulu looked over at Mr. Sheridan. “Do you need a break or vacation?”
“Mrs. Sheridan and I run things fine, thank you.”
“I’m sure you do, but wouldn’t you like some helpers to take the kids hiking and fishing, simple things that don’t cost anything if you got all the right stuff. You could teach them about farming and nature. I’m sure you don’t want to see the kids of these kids in here someday, do you?” Daney took a deep breath, knowing she may have made him angry.
Lulu smiled. She had seen the classic Duke with a plan expression so many times on Jesse and Luke’s faces, it was natural to see it on Bo, Daisy or Daney’s. “She has a good point.” There was a benefit of being the richest and most powerful man in the county's wife. People didn’t argue with you as much as they would other person.
Mr. Sheridan nodded. “Yes-- you think people would volunteer?”
Daney smiled. “I know Daisy would and with some persuasion, Bo probably will, all our buddies. Miss Lulu has lots of friends who I am sure would help.”
“Yes, they would.” Lulu agreed.
Several weeks later after permits and papers were filled out and ok’ed with Boss and who ever else needed to see them, the first part of the plan started. The children were taken camping and fishing by some of the high school kids and the Duke family.
Rosco chuckled when he saw the group come into the office. Season walked up and handed him some wildflowers wrapped in brown paper.
“Jit, Jit, you know there’s a law against pickin' these things when they’re on private property.”
Season giggled and looked over at Daney with a sly grin. “She made me do it!”
“You Dukes are always up to somethin', khee.” Rosco smiled. Today was always the day every year that the younger long haired brunette Duke girl stopped in with the same flowers. Then he got up from his seat and led the group on a tour of the Sheriff’s Department.
The day ended with Boss and Lulu taking some of the kids in their new convertible caddy, Rosco and the other kids in the patrol car to the ice cream parlor.
Daney smiled at the boys and Jesse taking a break at the picnic table before continuing with the rest of the stuff they needed to do for harvest time. It had been a year since they had went on probation and an agreement with the government had been made. She finished putting the clothes on the line and headed over to the General. It was time to head over to the Boar’s Nest to help Daisy with opening duties. She was glad to have family like she had and friends like the Sheriff and his cousin MaryAnne she could confide in when she was feeling troubled or had a problem and needed an opinion. Or when she had doubts about being in Hazzard…or when she got sidetracked and needed to focus on something.
Bo frowned as he saw the streak of orange pull from away from the side of the house. “Did you tell her, she could take the General!”
“You probably left the keys in it again,” Luke teased.
Jesse glanced at them. “I told her earlier she could since we need the truck for work and Daisy took the roadrunner.” Both young men smiled and Jesse returned it with one of his own.
“Are you sure we should be doin' this, wouldn't it be better if we just knocked on the door?” Daisy whispered to her cousin.
"Yes but it wouldn't
be a surprise." Daney checked over the brown paper bundle one more time
that had been laid in front the Coltrane's barn in. “C'mon we're gonna be late
for the lunch rush!” She exclaimed and ran back toward her favorite vehicle
when she had to borrow one…
Daisy hesitated for a second because she was curious to peek at the card attached but she knew it was a thank you to the person who Daney would always see as a Friend in Blue. Now they had to take one to the Hazzard County Sheriff as well. Daney cared for her family but her comrades were just as important to her.
Dedicated to Lisa Philbrick for always being there, listening when she didn't have too and never complaining. That is a true Friend In Blue.