Jury Duty…OH MY!!

USA constitutionTuesday 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.

The BEST Food is at First Monday, Canton Trade Days !

Canton Trade Days First Monday, the country’s oldest flea market, is widely known and appreciated for many reasons. There is even a parallel between Mardi Gras and First Monday. Everyone should experience each at least once. The next First Monday Trade Days will start on October 29 and go through November 1. This market is so Texas sized big that one can get lost while walking around the grounds.

First Monday Canton Trade Days

Wood working marvels, hats , clothes, music of all kinds, antiques ,hardware, candles, books, kitchen items, dishes, knick-knacks, saddles, tack, leather works and many many more items. But….the best thing for a lot of people, including myself,  is the FOOD!

First Monday’s Arbor Food Court, at the East entrance on Highway 19, which comes in from Interstate 20, sells everything from smoky barbecue and Greek salads to grilled corn and baked potatoes with all the fixings. The variety of foods is overwhelming. Homemade ice cream, to corn dogs and hand-cut fries, a delicious chicken fried steak to shrimp. Food concession vendors in the Original First Monday Park are cooking up something tasty for all shoppers, whatever their taste or preferences. My personal favorites are the crepes, especially the banana and chocolate crepes. Oooooooo….the food just boggles the mind!

Some of Canton Trade Days, First Monday’s other  delicacies that have become favorites of mine include fresh-squeezed lemonade, smoked turkey legs, funnel cakes (pancake-like batter drizzled into hot oil through a funnel and covered in powdered sugar), sausage on a stick,  kettle corn (mildly sweet popcorn), and wonderful homemade breakfasts. You can snack your way through or sit down to a complete meal. No alcoholic beverages are allowed on the Canton Trade Days grounds… water, coffees, teas, soft drinks and fruit juices abound.

During  First Monday, Canton Trade Days, there are parking lots directly across the street. The normal rate for parking is $4.00 per vehicle. Be advised that there is no free parking on the streets near First Monday on Trade Days.

Once you leave First Monday head on over to visit my little city of Van, Texas. We are only a 10 minute drive and we have plenty of unique restaurants and lovely Bed and Breakfast’s that you can stay in. Come early, stay late!

Homecoming Parade

Van High School Band

What a lovely evening here in Van, Texas. Cars and people lined Highway 110 leading to the new Van High School Stadium. The annual Homecoming parade was on it’s way.

The children lining the highway were thrilled when the first firetruck blasted it’s horn and siren. The parade was heading our way. We could hear the band playing, the cheerleaders yelling and the music was blaring! There were people parked in the church parking lots, at Hilliards Funeral Home and at New way convience store. The highway fairly crackled with excitement.

With the lights on the fire truck swirling and blinking, first came the Van High School Vandal Marching Band! The drums were beating out the rythm and the horns were swaying to the beat! Next came the cheerleaders, yelling their little lungs out! HAPPY HOMECOMING were the cheers along with GO VANDALS!!

Van High School Drill TeamNext came the drill team…in all their red and white finery! Prancing and strutting down the highway. Then came the football players with their hulking forms throwing candy and beads to the kids along the way.

The Homecoming float had the Queen and her court, smiling and waving to everyone. Kids were laughing , old folks were reliving their youth…it was truely an amazing sight.

There were floats from all different things that make up Van , Texas. The oilfield was represented,a lighted derrick with oilfield workers, young and old. The Van High School  Lady Vandal Volleyball team were showing their spirit. The United Methodist Church had a sweet float with members of the church throwing candy and waving at old friends along the route.A group of children from the grade school represented all the Little Vandals.

The Van High School 2010 Seniors were all decked out in the Vandals T-shirts…..the Van Soccer Association were there…..and 30 motorcycles revved their engines. The last big fire truck blared it’s horn  and with lights flashing the Van High School Homecoming parade passed us by and  ended the way it began.

Van High School Football TeamAs I sit here munching on some of the candy that was thrown, I realise what a good life is to be had in small town Texas. Where most of the town turns out on a Thursday night to watch and cheer on the Home Town team and watch their children, grandchildren and even some great grand children in a parade.