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Ex-police chief finds himself with unlikely hobby: poetry

December 10, 2016 GMT

LEBANON, Pa. (AP) — At the age of 70, retired Lebanon City Police Captain Richard Heverling has found himself involved in the most unlikely of hobbies — poetry.

From working the city streets to putting his pen onto sheets of paper, the former captain has roughly written more than 200 poems over the span of his life so far. And there does not seem to be an end in sight.

“I just sit down and start writing,” Heverling said.

For his entire life, Heverling has lived and been a part of the Lebanon community where he sometimes draws inspiration for his poetry.

After graduating from Lebanon High School in 1964, Heverling first began his career path as an assistant shipper in a local factory. He worked there for a few years before he was convinced to apply for a job at the Lebanon City Police Department, where he began his 30-year law enforcement career in 1968.

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That year was also the year that Heverling believed he started writing poetry.

Shortly after joining the police force, he was also married and began his volunteer work with Chemical Fire Company and First Aid and Safety Patrol. Needless to say, 1968 was a busy year for Heverling.

Over the next 30 years, Heverling progressed from patrolman to detective. For the next 18 years until he retired, he would move up in rank from sergeant, to lieutenant and finally to captain until he retired in 1998.

Being a well-known member of the community, it did not take long for Heverling to find more employment opportunities for himself after his retirement. From security at Hershey Lodge, to management at Blue Mountain Golf Course, to briefly returning to police work at the Cleona Borough Police Department, Heverling eventually found himself at Lebanon County Career and Technology Center.

After five years of working at LCCTC, it was time for Heverling to once again retire and give his poetry a few new topics.

“I wrote about the holidays, seasons, trout fishing, hunting and baseball,” he said. “Most of it just comes to me.”

Sometimes Heverling will even write about people that influenced him and gave the poems to them as a means of gratitude, specifically a few doctors over the years. He even had someone tell him to write a poem on a specific topic, which he sat down and finished in 15 minutes.

“It was easy, and I don’t know why it was easy,” Heverling said.

While currently none of his poems are published, Heverling said that he would be open to the idea if he “thought they were good enough” and if he “thought it was worth it.”

In the end, though, Heverling’s poetry really comes down to one thing for him.

“I like to write,” he said. “I’m going to keep on writing — it keeps my brain moving. It helps me remember.”

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Here’s a sample of one of Heverling’s poems titled “Christmas Eve,” which was written on Dec. 24, 2013.

As I am sitting here by my window remember Christmas past

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I recall it was all about the family and how time flew by so fast

The memories of old that were often shared on Christmas Night

As a child I lie waiting for Santa while trying to keep out of sight

When my parents would check on me I pretended to be asleep

And when I heard any sounds down the stairs I would creep

I remember checking for Christmas presents over and over again

Exhausted I fell asleep and Santa came and I never knew when

Mom’s milk and cookies were gone that I left in an open space

There wasn’t any sign or clue that Santa was here at my place

Mom told me Santas’ magical; that he’s always gone in a flash

He can go down and up the chimney without disturbing any ash

Soon I quickly forgot because I had so many presents to unwrap

Gifts appeared that I had requested while sitting on Santa’s lap

I remember my first life like pistol with shiny pearl handled grips

It was one like the Lone Rangers that I often saw in his TV clips

It’s funny how you can remember things now almost like yesterday

It was so very different back then as a kid and I liked it that way

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Information from: Lebanon Daily News, http://www.ldnews.com