Here’s how to build community

North Davis Park was packed with people on the Fourth of July, waiting for the fireworks. Two of Davis’ finest strolled through the crowd making sure there was no alcohol, no disputes — that no one raised the already high temperature. Then they encountered a 10-year old, and they stopped.

The boy was waiting impatiently for the fireworks. To while away the time, he played a game of his own designing. That morning he had made a tall, stovepipe hat out of construction paper and decorated it with patriotic insignia. That evening, he placed the stovepipe on the ground as the base for a ring toss game and was trying, from 10 or more feet away, to toss a ring of glow tubes over the hat’s crown. Occasionally, he succeeded.

One minion of law and order, eager to demonstrate his own hand-to-eye coordination, asked if he could have a turn. The boy said yes. The officer tried — and missed. The other officer said that it was now his turn, but the first policeman claimed two out of three. All three were failures. So the second officer tried his hand, also without success.

Back and forth the two strove, gathering a small crowd eager to witness their prowess, many giggling with delight. Finally the first officer succeeded, the crowd clapped: Davis police had triumphed, and went on their way.

The boy resumed his game until the fireworks started, saying to his family, “See, I can make friends with the cops!” The event was a testimony to the building of community.

Peter Hays


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