I was in my bosses office last week to ask for clarification about some Jury Duty stuff. She gave me some sound advice and then told me that she was going to give a talk to a local Kiwanis group. She then asked, “Hey, Bernie, do you want to go with me and talk about Jury Duty?” Being the shrinking violet and shy person that I am not, I agreed. I have to tell you that I felt honored to be asked. I think that I may have squealed at some point in the discussion, but cannot confirm nor deny that actually happening. The talk was going to be the following Tuesday. This is where it gets interesting. She either told me Tuesday or for some reason I wanted to hear Tuesday. Either way, in my head, it was going to be on Tuesday.
Fast forward to today, Monday, not Tuesday. My Boss sent me a note at 6:30am asking, “Are you ready for our talk this morning?” I think I started hyperventilating. Mr. Bernie and I were on our way to work and I was dressed for office work. I was business casual, not “I want to impress you and look uber professional.” I replied back, “Ummmmm I thought it was Tuesday. Sure, I’m ready.” I’m also a big fat liar. I had Mr. Bernie turn the truck around so I could quickly change into something more appropriate, like a dress. I also started to recite to Mr. Bernie what I thought I was going to talk about. We flew into the driveway and I rushed into the house. I said a little prayer to the Fat People Gods that my dress would fit as I plugging in my hair straightener. Thank goodness that the dress fit nicely. I got all put together and we are ready to go to work.
For those of you who do not know my husband, Mr. Bernie, he is a very smart man. He likes things like math and statistics and so on. I do not. I told him that I wanted to mention the fact we sent out 15,000 questionnaires during my talk. This excited him and he started babbling off stats. “Well Bernadette, considering the amount you sent out and the population of Yellowstone County, if you have 20 people at this talk, 2 should raise their hands.” All I could do was stare at him. I was talking about making a fun talk and he was talking math. Those two things do not mix, at least not in my world. I told him I would keep that in mind as I frantically scribbled ideas on some graph paper he gave me.
Later in the morning, my Boss told me that it was time to go. I swallowed hard and agreed that I was ready. I looked at my scribbled graph paper, hoping I could read it. Her papers were readable, she has pretty handwriting, and nice bullet point ideas. Those were things I planned on doing Monday night for a Tuesday speech. I crossed my fingers and followed her into the building and thought this will either go fabulously or she is going to wish that she never suggested I go with her.
My Boss started her talk. It was very interesting with facts and fun. Yellowstone County District Court was founded in the mid/late 1800′s. We have marriage licenses that go back that far. Records of Billy the Kid and Calamity Jane. She invited folks to stop by if they were interested in looking up older records. She talked about the kinds of cases and situations that our office is involved in. I was impressed how she stressed that many times people who come to our office are going through some bad times. IE: Divorce, Children being removed, suing or being sued and so on and so forth. She then talked about the happy things our office sees as well, Adoption and Marriage Licenses. Both good things that round out the sad. Then she started talking about Jury Duty and introduced me to the room. Yikes!
I walked up with my scribbled notes and didn’t look at them once. I did ask how many folks ever served on Jury Duty, a few raised their hands. I asked how many received a questionnaire and about 3 or 4 out of perhaps 40 people raised their hands. (Darn that Mr. Bernie for being so smart) It was a fun group of Seniors. I actually got a couple laughs. At one point I told the group, “Now I’m sure you all are too young for this, but you might know some older folks. If you are 75 or older, then you can be permanently excused from Jury Duty.” That got a big chuckle. I talked about some excuses that folks have used to get out of jury duty which went over well. I reminded them that not everyone looks forward to Jury Duty. Yet, if they had to go on trial or their loved ones had to go on trial, they would want a Jury so things were done fairly. I decided to take a chance and have a mini Question and Answers session. I was pleased that several folks asked questions. Then they started asking about things other than Jury Duty, those I couldn’t answer, so I flew to my seat and let my Boss take over. Whew!
When it was done everyone seemed to enjoy it. Quite a few made a point to go up to my Boss and compliment her on her talk. They told her how they learned something new today. I had two sweet older gals hand me their names, addresses and phone numbers to see if I could get them out of Jury Duty. I told them they didn’t look old enough but I’d check when I got to the office. They just beamed. Another sweet gal asked if I gave talks like this all the time. I told her, “Nope, this was my first time.” She asked me if I wanted to come speak to her Senior group this fall. So I thought that was cool. My Boss and I might end up talking with some other groups. I honestly think it’s a good thing. I didn’t know what District Court did before I started working there. I also was pretty clueless about Jury Duty stuff. It’s nice to be able to educate others on the whole thing.
I was honored that my Boss trusted me enough to ask me to join her today. I was pleased that she is confident in my ability to visit with folks and try to show them that Jury Duty is not the end of the world. I do know if we ever do this again we will have both of our calendars out at the same time to synchronize the date.