Westside Story – A Train Ride

Story & Photo – Joseph Boyle

I can’t believe it.  It seems like just yesterday when I started my career with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.  On Friday, March 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm I walked out the door of the County City Building – Sheriff’s Headquarters for the last time.  For 8440 days, my career was a giant part of my life.

It is official.  I am retired.

I do not have a key to get back in.

My office is cleared out.

My replacement starts soon.

If I look backward, I can see that my wife retired; my father retired; my grandfather retired and my father-in-law retired.  It should not really be a big deal.  Most people retire, eventually.  I suppose it is a natural part of our life cycle.

Still, it is a big deal for me.  I have been working since age 11.  For me it is like moving through what I can only describe as a black hole.  I have to wonder what is on the other side of the black hole.


Now it is the next morning, Saturday and I am doing ok.  I have always looked forward to the weekends while enjoying my workweek.  During the weekends, as I enjoy my time at home, I looked forward to going back to work on Monday.  My life has been a pleasant work – recreation cycle.  The cyclical design of my life has ended.  Now I will straight line 6 Saturdays and 1 Sunday every week.

Another way to look at my experience is to visualize that I have been riding on a train, a work train.  I have had a seat on the work train for 23 years.  Friday, I had to get off the train.  The train does not stop for me.  The train will not slow down for me.  The criminals keep committing crimes.  The cases keep being assigned for investigation.  On Friday, all I could do to get off the train was jump off and roll.  Soon my selected replacement will take my seat on the train.  It has always been this way since the beginning of the Sheriff’s Department, which was founded in 1853.

When you get right down to it, what I have to do now is get on another train, the retirement train.  There is now a seat for me on the retirement train.  My new train is leaving on Monday.

It is now time for me to celebrate the past and to embrace the future.


  1. Wally Baade says

    Congratulations Joe. If you get bored,Come join us at Starbucks. As an official retired person; you get the retiree discount.If you get super bored,my house needs a coat of Bright White Paint. It’s amazing what there is to occupy those retirement years. You never run out of things to do. Don’t forget to take a nap every day.You earned it.

  2. Paul Webb says

    Congratulations Joe! PCSO is losing a great officer. Welcome to the club and enjoy your retirement!

  3. Sandy Mazzei says

    We wish you a great retirement. We are at Starbucks. Where are you? You should be here!!!
    Sandy and Jeanie

  4. Mary Hammond says

    Joe, I’ve been thinking about you all weekend, wondering how you’re adjusting. What I really want to know is: How late did you sleep in this morning? Did K. serve breakfast in bed? Hope to see more of you, now that your time is your own. Again, congratulations! Remember that avocations (and vacations) can be just as important as vocations.Your work ethic can be applied so many places to enrich the community.

  5. John Adams says

    Joe, congratulations, you made it to the golden age of retirement. The bad part is that you no longer get days off, no more vacations, and no more sick days off. It is now time to put the top down and reflect back on all the things that you have done to get to this point. Like most of us retired folks you will find that you “didn’t retire, You just quit working for money”. Enjoy life, for noe it really speeds up. John

  6. Lynn Geyer says


    Congratulations on your retirement! I know you’ve been waiting for it — so have at LSP!

    Looking forward to your call to say you are ready to join us!


  7. Nancy says

    Best wishes, Joe. Just because you’re retired, though, doesn’t mean you should stop submitting to ST.


  8. Old Centurian says

    Congrats, Joe…By the way, does this mean you’ll have to remove the blue light and siren from your Harley?

  9. says

    Congratulations on your retirement Joe. Even tho you have retired from law enforcement You probably will still react to some extent when you hear sirens going in area where you happen to be.
    I remember you when I first came on as “Neighborhood Block Watch Captain in the Lake City Area back in the early 1990’s. I tried to resign twice during those 18 years. Larry stated that I would never retire from it. I did finally after around 18 years Felt it was time someone else took over, but I still listen when I hear a siren going off in this area.

  10. Edra Zook says

    Well,first I want say CONGRATULATIONS Joe! I remember hearing about this day coming in the not to distant future. Yes it would be in 2013 and on April 1,April fools day of course. I woke up this morning and this was the first thing on my mind,seriously. I found myself wondering how you were feeling at this landmark time in your life. I didn’t feel like playing a joke on anyone, I felt very moved and very serious about the whole thing. You know how you want to make a friend feel good yet you feel the time is fragile and your not sure if you want to laugh or cry, well that’s how I felt for you today. It is a time of mixed emotions, much wisdom of things past and a like a newborn on the eve of birth. I’m sure glad you like trains and thank goodness they go in both directions. I know your going somewhere very wonderful,enjoy the ride my friend. Sincerely, EDRA