Today I did something different: I saw a dead white guy floating face-down in Crystal Lake. I mean, usually i don’t.
Tim and i were out there because we’d just visited the Snake Hill Cemetery where, i’m proud to say, i put the padlock on the newly-built gate last week. When we pulled up in my car, there was a white city police SUV parked at the trailhead on Temple Ave., and another, unmarked, car next to it. I parked behind them. We only spent a few minutes there because Tim had to get back to Long Island, but on the way back to the car, right about in the middle of the path to the cemetery (in other words, at just about the middle of the long shore of the lake), there were two tall young men wearing black T-shirts and jeans. They were just hanging out, no fishing poles or anything, and the wording on the T-shirt one was wearing was very juvenile and 8th-grader-ish (something about, “Your girlfriend told me to tell you…”) and i figured they were just two hoods from the ‘hood, enjoying the sunny afternoon. We all said hello to one another, and one very pleasantly asked us how far up the trail we’d gone, and i said, “Just to the cemetery,” and he said he didn’t even know there was a cemetery there, but the other one did. So i started telling him all about our Jewish cemetery that we had finally cleaned up and fenced off, and they seemed greatly interested in it, its age, etc.
Then i asked them what they were doing there and Tim, always observant, said, “Genie, they’re policemen! Don’t you see their guns?!” And only then did i notice that they had police pistols on their hips. They looked at each other and one said to the other, “Is it OK if i tell them?” And the other one just shrugged and smiled and said, “OK, sure,” and so the first one said, “Well, look over there: There’s a man in the lake.”
Sure enough: There was a dead white guy with no shirt, floating face-down, near the opposite shore, and on that shore stood about 5 uniformed officers and three guys dressed in regular clothes. Then our two cops asked us if our car was the blue Civic at the trailhead, and i said yeah, and one said, “You probably better move it, because there’s gonna be a lot more cars parking there in a few minutes.”
So we ran the remaining 30 yards or so to the trailhead, but: Too late! We’d been hemmed in by about 8 cop cars, marked and unmarked. So i ran back to them again to ask them to move a car or two so we could get out, which one of them very quickly did.
Of course, i asked Tim to drive home, so i could call Doyle, the Record’s ace Newburgh reporter. Doyle thought it was very cool, and I’m sure he’ll have the whole story by the time i get to the office tonight.
For a moment there, the idea crossed my mind to not brag about how i’d seen a dead body, but that idea was — much like the white guy — dead in the water.