Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Friend Indeed


A Friend Indeed

Jury duty is just that, a duty.  If you happen to open your mailbox to find an official looking letter summoning you to a week of jury duty, be aware:  this is not an invitation to be weighed; it is a requirement.  Therefore, when I received such a summons for jury duty back in March, my mood clouded over as I saw my service was set to begin on the one day out of three hundred and sixty five that happened to be the very day I was born.    To spend my birthday on jury duty seemed cruel and unnecessary at best, particularly since I was already booked into my favourite inn at the beach for that week.  So I wrote a  very nice letter, and lo and behold the very nice people at the very nice courthouse postponed my service until June, which was how I found myself up much earlier than usual on a morning last week, stifling a yawn as I waited in the security line for my handbag to be searched.

Having heard there was a lot of waiting around when one serves as a juror, I’d brought along a fat and wordy book as well as the crossword puzzles from the morning papers and a freshly sharpened pencil.  Turns out I didn’t get very far in either diversion, for I was called to a courtroom within the hour of my arrival.  This just might be interesting, I thought, as I followed my fellow potential jurors into the courtroom.   A great opportunity for observation and character study.  My heart fell to my espadrilles, however, when I heard the judge announce that she was beginning jury selection for a criminal trial involving charges that made me shudder just to hear them read.  Forty-two potential jurors had to be interviewed which, much to my amazement, required them to speak at intrusive length about horrors in their own lives.  I had no idea this happened in jury selection and felt the weight of sadness growing heavier as I listened to seemingly ordinary people recount parts of their past that were painful to hear and no doubt excruciating to relate.  Hours passed.  We were finally released at six o’clock and I drove home feeling quite low.
  
There were dark clouds moving in from the west as I pulled into the drive, indicating the approach of a summer storm.   The house was still.  Obviously the dogs were out in the studio with The Songwriter.  But just then I heard a familiar thump on the back door and it swung open wide as Edward bounded in.  Being of excellent hearing, and having recently mastered the art of opening the screened porch door of the studio to let himself out when needed (something Apple has yet to work out), he came running when he heard my car.  

Too dispirited to manage an effusive greeting, I merely patted him on the head and fell across the bed in a heap.  Thunder rolled in the distance as the first fistfuls of rain began to hit the roof.  The curtains over the window seat blew in and out as the wind whipped up and the room grew dim.  Edward sat watching me; I could feel his brown-eyed stare on the back of my neck.  After a long minute he jumped lightly up on top of the bed.  Snuggling up as close as he could get, he placed his big head on my shoulders and sighed a heavy sigh.  

For those unfortunate enough to have never known the comfort a dog can bring, I can only say it is unsurpassed on the earth.  Words are superfluous; explanations, irrelevant.  I lay there for a good while - listening to the rain pound the garden as the wind blew sweet scents of wet honeysuckle into my room, all the while with Edward never moving from my side, his breathing slow and steady.  One of my favourite quotes is by C. S. Lewis who said, “Man with dog closes a gap in the universe”.  I felt that gap gently close that afternoon as  once again, I felt a measureless gratitude for my good furry friend.  I can only hope I make his life a fraction as sweet as he makes mine.  

Next morning, I was not selected to serve on that jury.  It was probably because the detective is a neighbour of mine, but I didn’t stop to ask questions as I scurried out the door, feeling somewhat guilty over the relief rushing through my veins. I drove home quickly and took Edward for a long, long walk in the sunshine.  I needed it, and goodness knows, he deserved it.  

If you don’t have a dog of your own, go get one! 
 Or as Edward and Apple would suggest, go rescue one!
You will never regret it.
Promise.

14 comments:

  1. What a lovely tender post. I still miss the comfort of my childhood dog, Rusty. He was my best friend in all the world.


    Jean x

    ReplyDelete
  2. I could never ever be without a dog by my side Pamela - I have had untold love and comfort from all my dogs - hopefully they have all felt the same about me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How lovely and splendidly intuitive of Edward. Yes, I truly do believe they know when we need that little extra bit of love and support - such a blessing. My dear friend Betti ( who is now doing very well) had awful breast cancer treatments some years when her labrador was still young and wild - but, lo and behold, on the days she got home feeling quite miserable - her pup would lie peacefully beside her on the bed. She swears the dog helped her get through it all.
    As for jury duty, your potential case sounds grim and disturbing, so I'm rather glad you got out of it. We, who lead relatively fortunate lives, must count ourselves lucky.
    Not sure if you have read or recommended Kate Atkinson's unputdownable Life After Life. I'm gobbling it up. She is back to her old form. It's almost as good as her first - Behind the scenes at the Museum.

    ReplyDelete
  4. PON therapy. If only it could be synthesized !

    ReplyDelete
  5. We waited for 5 years, after our beloved Quinn died, and now have a large black Lab puppy named Duke. Aside from dealing with the usual puppy issues (potty-training, chewing everything in sight), it is pretty wonderful to have a dog back in our lives.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, this is so relevant on so many levels.............VERY GOOD ADVISE!
    I conquer!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. As I sit reading your post, my sweet dog is stretched out at my side on the sofa...there is a miracle that is better than any mood elevators where a dog's love is concerned.
    Xo,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sent this to my son in San Fran who had jury duty on Monday. We are all dog lovers and have never been without at least one dog. Keep sharing your lovely way with words with us! Give Edward a big pouch smouch for me.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree with you but as I write this my once in a lifetime ginger cat is on my lap. He is a rescue-he rescued me! Don't overlook the cats in this world if for some reason you aren't able to have a dog.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I usually don't get picked for a jury when summoned because of how I make my living (paralegal, and the attorneys conducting voir dire - questions to prospective jurors, your "personal horror stories" mentioned, don't want anyone on a jury who actually know something about the law). But I have a funny story for you from a trial about ten years ago. I was the plaintiff's attorney's paralegal and he was just starting down the line of prospective jurors. He asked: "does anyone here know the plaintiff or any of the defendants in this case?" One juror, a tall just-past-middle aged and rather formidable woman raised her hand and stood up. "Yes!" she said, "and furthermore they are ALL liars! SCRATCH THAT. They are all DAMNED liars!" Of course she was excused but that seemed to be the start of the three-week circus that was that particular trial which over the years has become sort of mythical in its multiple vagaries and excesses in this community (we did win our case, however!).

    ReplyDelete
  11. They are the best comfort - dogs and cats - my darling rescue dog is now 12 and I don't know how I managed before I got her, she is the most loving dog.

    There isn't a day when she doesn't make me laugh.

    Sue

    ReplyDelete
  12. Pamela, it seems you were reminded of some of the worst and best of life that day.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was called for jury last year and then they didn't want me at the last minute. I am still dogless, lately I am drawn to rescue one but neither M nor I can bear the thought of losing another. Perhaps your post was a sign?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Get Hourly profit for 200 hours on every hour without any risk and without any work, best business plans ever
    AllTimeProfit.com

    ReplyDelete

I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!