Van, Texas Dodges a Bullit

Our fair city, Van Texas, dodged a bullet last night.Tornados ripped thru Van Zandt County, wreaking havoc as they dipped and receded back into the sky.

The warning sirens went off around 5:30 p.m while the tv weathermen were telling all in Van to take shelter immediately. It was still light outside, so what did I do? I went out to look to see if I needed to rush into the bathroom where we had made a little nest.

Mother Natures fury could clearly be seen. Although no tornados were in sight, the clouds hung low and looked very ominous . Shades of green and black danced in the sky. Hail stones the size of nickels pounded the roof and air conditioners and rain pelted the windows. But just as quickly as it began it was over. We lucked out and didn’t hear the eerie sound of a train coming. That’s the sound I have heard when a tornado is just outside your door. Mother Nature sparred Van,Texas that night.

Not so true of Canton , Texas to our west. Or of the small communities of Sand Flats and Silver City to our north. Homes and businesses blown apart like a bomb had gone off. Clothes and children’s toys twisted and broken. hanging off limbs Trees that resembled match sticks were strewn across the landscape like they had just fallen out of the matchbox. Pieces of metal roofs laying twisted in the fields. Mother Nature at her wildest and most furious.

We treat our world like a trash bin and Mother Nature comes in with a blast and tells us we are just a small micro organism that she just lets live in her world. What’s that old saying? “Don’t fool with Mother Nature”. Last night truer words were never spoken.

Just 18 miles to our west and then 10 miles to our north,devastation ran rampant. So, yes, we dodged the bullet In Van, Texas.

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.