The freeway had little traffic, a beautiful dawn was lightening the sky, and I had a van full of teenagers I was driving to the dreaded zero hour talking about their weekend plans. I saw a highway patrol motor officer coming up behind me and instinctively checked my speedometer to confirm I wasn't over the limit, then I continued on listening to the chatter of the kids.
I felt him rather than saw him slow down a bit as he passed me and looked over just in time to see him turn and give me a prolonged half-salute/wave. I smiled, returning the greeting, touched by the moment. As I watched him get smaller on the horizon, I swallowed the lump in my throat, reciting a little prayer that no matter what his day might bring him, that at the end of it, he be returned......safely home.