Jury Duty…OH MY!!
Tuesday I had jury duty……..Ugh….I know what you are thinking.
I thought the same thing. What a waste of my day off?….yep……why me?
I tried to think of ANY reason to get out of it. Nothing I thought of was good enough, so I went , grudgingly.
I drove the 18 miles from Van Texas to the Van Zandt County seat, Canton Texas.
Instead of being in the County Court House, where I am used to going for everything from getting my car registered to paying my taxes, I had to report to the Annex. I had no idea where that was…so I called in advance. Of course I was hoping the person that answered would tell me not to bother coming, that the court was not meeting that day after all. NO such luck. The very pleasant woman that answered told me where to find the Annex and laughed when I asked if the session might have been canceled.The Annex, just for future reference, is directly across the street from the Canton Trade Days, First Monday , VIP entrance.
I got there early. In fact.too early. I walked into the building to find the only person around was the janitor. The court was closed from noon to 1 for lunch. So I had 30 minutes to spend. I drove up the highway past the First Monday , Canton Trade Days, main entrance to get a burger. I was still resenting the fact that I had been called for jury duty on my day off. I got my lunch and ate it in the parking lot of the Annex.Cars started arriving. I was counting….hoping there would be more than enough people to show so I could be sent home.
We began to collect outside the courtroom doors. I counted as they arrived. There were 20. YEAH me!! I wouldn’t be chosen…I could go home!! Each one of us had to sign in, and then were directed into the courtroom.
A very nice woman came in and handed us all a sheet of paper to sign. It was for the money that we were to get paid for showing up. Everyone laughed, we were to get $6.00 just for showing.
Time seemed to drag. I kept wondering what was going on. Finally the Judge came in, he thanked us for doing our civic duty. He then proceeded to tell us that 25 more people should have been there. And how lucky we were that we had shown up, as the others were to have bench warrants sent out for their arrests. WOW!! I was happy that I had shown up.
The presiding judge, I won’t mention his name because I don’t have permission, was what a judge should be. Compassionate, by the law, and amusing when the need arose. But the best trait he had, in my personal opinion, was the way he made each and every prospective juror feel. Wanted and appreciated.
He reminded us that “this is what Democracy is all about” We all have the right to be judged by a jury of our peers. He made me remember what patriotism is and how privileged we are to live in a country like the USA. How most of us take these rights for granted.
I know that I won’t be guilty of forgetting the importance of jury duty again. I will not go grudgingly. I will remember, that jury duty is a privilege, a right. A right Americans have.