Paladini Potpie

Adventures within The Crust!


Civic Duty

I always walk out to the car with John when he leaves for work in the morning…help him carry his stuff, last minute chatting, a wave…maybe blow a kiss. Then I walk leisurely back into the house. I might stop and fill the birdbath or put some water on the roses.  But yesterday morning as soon as his car disappeared around the corner I was running like a madwoman!  There was so much to do before I had to leave for the courthouse!

 I emptied the dishwasher and folded the laundry from the dryer and put the wet load in to dry. I put frozen pieces of chicken in the crockpot, dumping chopped garlic and onion and curry powder on top.  As I locked the lid down, I wondered if I should set it for high or medium.  I had no idea what time I’d be back home.

 I groaned as I looked at the pile of paperwork setting on the kitchen table.  I’ve been trying to get that done since before the end of the month…I even took it off my desk and brought it out here so I’d be reminded to do it.  But no time today.  I ignored the pile of spices and various jars and cans I had dumped into a basket in the corner of my kitchen – part of my ambitious task of putting new shelf paper in every cabinet.  I’d have to get that project finished.  But I probably wouldn’t get to it today.

 As I dashed around I thought, as I often do, about all the women who juggle a job outside of their home along with a career as a homemaker.  They must go through this every single day!

 I quickly proof-read something I had written for my blog and posted it.  I had promised myself to do my best to write or post something every day – even days that promised to be busy. I resisted the temptation to look at Facebook – well, okay… maybe one little peek.

 I ran into the bedroom to do something with my hair and put on a little bit of make up, and then I labored about what to wear.  I had decided to walk the nine blocks to the courthouse so I wouldn’t have to think about parking. I hated to wear tennis shoes but I didn’t want to walk all that way in dress shoes.  Oh, my gosh!  Look at the time! 

 I stuffed a paperback book and my phone and my Kindle and a notebook into my purse. I’d better get a water bottle…  Oh yeah, and I need to take that little pocket knife out of the zippered compartment.  I once had a large fancy safety pin on my key ring confiscated.

 Okay! Ready.  A final approving glance in the mirror and I was out the door. My timing was perfect.  I had 25 minutes to walk there and get checked in and get settled.  I felt confident and relaxed and ready for whatever rational consideration might be expected of me today.

 As I strolled along in the spring sunshine I thought about the last time I was on jury duty.  It was a seven-week case involving 10 felony charges against a public official.  Seven weeks! And in the end, our jury couldn’t come up with a consensus on a single one of those charges, I thought wryly.  I hated that.  If I was drawn to be on a jury today one of the lawyers would probably dismiss me when he found out I was on a hung jury. Oh well. I’m really too busy to be on a jury in this season of my life. 

 But I do love jury duty.  I like and appreciate the system, even with its flaws.  I have been on more than “my share” of juries – at least six cases. I remember most of them very well.  And a couple of other times I’ve been called into the courtroom and interviewed for a case, then excused.

 Last night I phoned to see if my juror number had been dismissed or if I would have to come in.  I wasn’t sure what I was hoping for.  As much as I like jury duty, I’m heading into a very busy time, so it would probably be better if I did not have to serve.

 At ten minutes till nine I stood in line outside of the courthouse door.  I was waiting to be frisked…er…I mean, waiting to check in with the security team, and walk through the metal detector and put my purse on the belt to go through the x-ray machine.  I looked at the people in the slowly moving line, wondering which would be my fellow jurors…and which were there on serious criminal matters…who was there for traffic citations…who were the attorneys…?

 Past security, it became more evident who the prospective jurors were as an uncertain trickle of people ambled toward the jury assembly room.  I noted that the county had painted attractive direction signs on the walls since the last time I was there. But I felt a little smug, knowing that I, seasoned juror that I was, did not need their nicely painted directions. I knew exactly where to go.

 As I approached the jury assembly room, I could hear a man begin to speak on a microphone.  “Good morning.  Those of you who are new jurors can come up here to the window and check in. After you check in I’ll call your names and you will be released.  We had a case on the calendar this morning, and we were assembling a jury for that case, but we just got an e-mail from the attorneys and they have reached a settlement.  We want to thank you for coming in. This will fulfill your obligation for the next two years.”

At five minutes after nine I walked back past the slowly moving line of people and the X-ray machine …outside into the sunshine with a beautiful day of freedom stretching ahead of me!