***It seemed like I was back in fifth grade, only instead of "How I spent My Summer Vacation," I was writing a report on how I spent my day, finishing with a not-too-detailed projection for weekend.
Dang but it was cold Thursday morning! I went over and let friends' dog out to euphemistically *avail himself of the facilities,* returned home to do so myself, then crossed town and picked Skinny up at the yard. While driving eastward, mentioned the incident a week prior when a helicopter had flown over and I'd had a momentary thought regarding guilt by association. We simultaneously recited the adage, "A person is known by the company they keep."
Arriving two counties over, I parked same place I had previously, noticing several vehicles parked on inside lane. I admitted that, were I the paranoid type, I might think they were trying to hem me in and block my exit. Skinny told me when he drove, he parked so there was nothing in front of him. As we were against a raised curb, I offered to move my car. He said we were fine.
We entered courthouse and I wondered if this visit would prove as pointless as our last. At least he'd been given more than 24 hours notice this time. Skinny went into district clerk's office, paid his $411 fine, and got his receipt. Clerk was friendly and made small talk, saying after living in a metropolitan area, coming to work here was like stepping back in time 40 years. [Ain't that the truth.] Skinny told clerk judge had told him if he paid fine before court convened again, he wouldn't have to come back: Skinny said he'd like to have it in writing. [Erring on side of caution, don't ya know?] We kept our eyes on that receipt as a copy was made; it was then taken down hall and filed with clerk. Finally, judge came out, shook Skinny's hand and said he was good to go. Skinny replied, "Nothing personal but I hope I never see you again." Judge said maybe he could stop and just pay a social call next time he was in town. Right.
We went upstairs to courtroom. In 'same old same old' department, saw a hefty blonde in same red and black argyle-patterned sweater she had worn in February. I wondered aloud if it were her *official* courtroom sweater and Skinny figured probably so. A shackled prisoner was brought in: I leaned over and whispered, "If it were me, I'd probably be asking, 'Do these stripes make my ass look fat?' " Then I inquired, "Who's the guy in the red tie?" Skinny told me that was his lawyer and to be nice. When am I not nice? (Don't answer that.) so I just observed it was an improvement over pukey green tie he'd worn last tie he'd worn last time. Judge read off, "Docket number ...: State of Texas versus Steve Martin."
Skinny and I turned to each other and, sotto voce, said "Well excuuuuuuuuuuse me!" One has to find comic relief where one is able.
Skinny's court-appointed legal counsel came over and said he was going to ask for "Ten for ten," which would put Skinny on probation for ten years. Skinny said he would rather spend a year jail. Anyway, presiding judge finally called his docket number and I learned Skinny's middle name - which I have long since forgotten. Skinny approached the bench, lawyer said he had made all his dates so far, and even the one time he had not received prior confirmation, he had come virtually at a moment's notice. Judge said Skinny would be taken off county docket but should appear before this court, 14 May. We got our coats and left.
During our drive westward to our home county, Skinny made a couple calls: work - to let them know he was on his way back; his housekeeper, to let her know he would call her later; then he briefly contemplated a third call but decided against it because "She'd want to talk ..." I commented, "Hey, I'm just the chauffeur." Skinny assured me I was an integral part of this, not just his ride: I was a credible witness that his comments about *the way the courts operated* were true - and I had documented it.
Took him back to work, he gave me a $20 for gas and said he'd call me later. I went home and had lunch, including Milky Way Dark I'd had Skinny buy at convenience store. Then I went up to library and started work on my report.
Around 2:00 that afternoon, went over to let dog out again; spent a little time wrestling with him, then played fetch with squeaky bunny toy. Friends came home and after we'd visited a while, I returned to my humble abode. Rest of my evening was pretty quiet: watch TV and crochet.
Friday dawned cold and wet; sun was not visible behind cloud cover but sky got lighter. After 30 minutes of mentoring, bought a few items at Walmart, got four gallons RO [reverse osmosis] water, and cashed check from last article I'd sold to newspaper.
Recently decided to purchase one newspaper each week, as my contribution to keeping the industry alive. after all, I make my living - meager as it is - from working at a newspaper. as an aspiring journalist who occasionally sells a story, it is in my best interest to assure longevity of medium in which I work.
Here is "planning ahead" part: decided to gas up car, then buy Friday paper, to read Saturday morning; I was already cold and wet so might as well have something tangible to show for it. Now I wouldn't have to get out in the morning unless I went to library. Saturday is one of the few days I don't have to set an alarm, so can rise at leisure. Perhaps I'll fix a pot of Earl Grey tea, toast a slice of pound cake and, if wind is blowing, listen to my chimes while reading newspaper. Life's simple pleasures really are best.
I don't recall if I drove Skinny to his May date. In September 2011, I returned to my native Michigan and am now happily retired. Every now and then I ponder and muse - a pastime which brings pleasure, bemusement, and sometimes a degree of wistfulness.
'Til next time, I'll be wandering and wondering ...