Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Day Not Ordinary

What a strange day it's been here.

Today began with a trip to traffic court for jury duty. I was picked to serve on the jury. I'm always picked. I just did this in the same court about a year and a half ago. I'm not complaining, though, as I really do believe it is not a duty, it's an honor to serve on a jury. I don't mind paying my dues for the system.

I even served on a Grand Jury in Lafayette which was a 6 month commitment, one day a month for the duration. Now that was some interesting stuff. I'll wander down memory lane with that sometime.

Today's case involved two 17 year old high school students, rushing to soccer practice after school one afternoon last December. Fender bender produced somewhat greedy father of one boy and there you are. In traffic court. The police report showed that both were equally at fault so we awarded the plaintiff some monetary damages, but not the whole amount he was going for. It only took about an hour to get through so I was home by lunch time.

I was cooking dinner in the crock pot since I had no idea how long I'd be gone today. I had no way of knowing I'd only have to stay for one case. I did, however, assume I'd be picked. Turns out it was a good idea as it was done relatively early. The guys had a scout meeting tonight and as we were about to eat, the power went out.

It was a dark and gloomy evening. The sky darkened, thunder rumbled the low, window shaking variety, and the lightening crackled. The clouds opened and rain poured. And poured and poured. Hail spit across the yard, too. We watched it bounce into the pool in the backyard.

The street flooded in the front of the house. The power went out.

Good times.

The guys and I ate in the candlelight and the room was a little more illuminated with the help of the battery operated light used for camping purposes. The guys left for the scout meeting as the water in the street in the front of the house slowly receded. Max, Oreo and I sat in the great room and listened to the radio. We listened to some classical music and I read my book by the camp light.

About 45 minutes after the guys left, the power came back on.
The book I am reading is really interesting. It is called Three Cups of Tea . The sub-title is One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time. The man, Greg Mortenson, was a mountain climber and an emergency room nurse in San Francisco. He almost died attempting to climb K2 in Pakistan. He was cared for by villagers of Korphe and he vowed to return and build a school for the village children. There was no school there, as there were none in any surrounding villages.

Mortenson's father built a school and hospital in Tanzania while he was a teenager living there with his family. So, growing up around the world and seeing how schools and hospitals change the people of the world made an early impression.

The three cups of tea comes from a Pakistani tradition of offering tea to a visitor. It is a ritual and the belief goes: "the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third, you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything - even die", as told to Mortenson by his mentor in Pakistan, Haji Ali the Korphe Village Chief.

Mortenson offers an interesting perspective.


AC said...

I have never been summoned for jury duty although I would love to do so. Terry did a session on Grand Jury and found it fascinating. Can one volunteer for duty? My mother has been requested several times, but the last two she was excused for health reasons and never had to show up.

I think I'd be really good at it -- I'm a good listener! I think I can follow rules of law! I only have a *few* preconceived notions!

Paul is a Hermit said...

The culture, the rules and regs of people in so many different areas has always been curious to me.
What they produce is a wonder if we, or they, have a right to change a people's culture.

Must they live like me or I like them? Who is right and is it usually us? Or is that conceit?

Hospitals or schools - who can argue with? As long as there are no liberal books or teachers.
:) See? I'm weighed heavily with quandaries.

Beverly said...

I thought Snoopy was writing this when I got to the sentence "It was a dark and gloomy evening." :-)

When I lived in Haiti, there was one family, who in order to save on power in the evenings, would eat their dinner by candlelight. Danny said one day, "We eat dinner in about a half a candle."

That sounds like an interesting book.

srp said...

I have been summoned once and they quickly dismissed me. No one wants a physician on the jury, although Dr. P did have to serve on a jury once... I believe it was a robbery case.

I have had to testify on two cases... and boy, do the lawyers ask stupid questions!