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.
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.
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!!
Next 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.
As 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.
TYLER POUNDS FIELD
Airports certified for carrier operations nearest to Van:
TYLER POUNDS RGNL (about 21 miles; TYLER, TX; ID: TYR)
700 Skyway Blvd., Tyler, Tx, 75704
P.O. Box 2039, Tyler, Tx, 75710
Phone: 903-531-2343 Fax: 903-531-9843
Davis Dickson, Manager
This airport is the closest to Van. The new terminal was built in August 2002. It has the most beautiful Rose in the floor as you enter.Tyler is known as the Rose City. American Eagle and Continental Connection are there to serve as your connection to the rest of the world.
American Eagle provides daily airline service to DFW Airport
Continental Connection is now United , and Parking rates are as follows
$1.00 per hr or 8.00 per day in short term parking, .75 per hour or 5.00 per day long term.
Handicap parks in Short Term and will be charged Long Term rates, Disable Vets , Purple Hearts , Medal of Honor , and POW park for free.
M-F 8:30 am – 10:00 pm
Sat. 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sun. 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
M-F 8:00 am – 8:30 pm
Fri 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sun 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
M-F 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sat. 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sun. 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
M -Th 8:00 am – 8:30 pm
Fri. 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sun. 12:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Short-term parking is $1.00 an hour with a
maximum of $6.50 per day.
Long-term parking is $ .75 an hour with a
maximum of $4.50 per day.
EAST TEXAS RGNL (about 66 miles; LONGVIEW, TX; ID: GGG)
COX FLD (about 78 miles; PARIS, TX; ID: PRX)