Dear readers, thank you, thank you, thank you. Due to your unwavering, though misguided support, our little blog (olb) reached another milestone yesterday, our first day with over 100 views. You people are crazy, and I love you.
I do have tractors news, and as usual it’s one of those “good news/bad news” things, but I have to “till” some other ground first. The author spent the morning up in the county seat, Hillsborough, plodding through the legal machinery in order to plead his case. And yes, as you are now fearing, I’m going to flashback about six weeks to fill you in on the heinous crime I committed and how I ended up in court, so settle in.
There was nothing unusual about the day; it was a Friday, mid-afternoon and sweltering. I was driving, The Princess sitting next to me. We’d just exited the by-pass and entered the quiet residential neighborhood that sits right next to ours. I hadn’t gotten too far down the street when behind me I saw the flashing blue lights; no, this was no mobile blue light special, it was one of our local police officers in an unmarked car (that sneak!). There were no other vehicles in the vicinity, and he pulled-up behind me, so I figured that for some reason I must be his target. I was confused, because I had no clue as to why he had pulled me over. So when he came up to my window, I said, “Hey officer, what’s up?” I know, I know, that doesn’t sound too dignified (maybe a bit like Bugs Bunny too), but by now you know me, and that’s just the way I talk. Acting quickly to cure my confusion he stated that I had not stopped at the stop sign just behind us. Before this even had a chance to sink in, to my surprise The Princess started to speak. I’ll digress just a second to say that during our 41 year marriage, The Princess and I have always stood strongly behind each other. In times of need, sorrow, fear, insecurity even trouble we’ve seen it all, and helped each other through those times; marriages don’t last 41 years without that kind of support.
So, getting back to the story, in some unit of time even shorter than a second, let’s call it a nano-second, The Princess blurts out, “Your right officer, he didn’t stop!” I turned my head to look back at her, my jaw now down in my lap, and after staring at her disbelieving for a second I turned back to the officer and said, “Well, officer it seems you’ve BOTH got me, I give-up.” I’m not messing with you, this is exactly the way it went down. Whatever happened to life-long help mate, etc., etc.? It was all down the toilet; as judge, jury and executioner, she had shot-down any chances I had, any possible defenses.
Based on this incident, here is some advice, “free for nuttin” as the idiotic brother would say. Discuss this scenario with your loved ones, particularly your own Princesses. When the officer comes to the window, all mouths are to remain shut except for that of idiot behind the wheel.
Thus began a bit of a rough patch between The Princess and me, nothing major, but more like a cooling-off period. From her comment to the officer, it was obvious that she had this attitude of “See, finally you’ve been caught for one of your many, many driving transgressions of which I’ve been making you aware (painfully aware) for lo these many years.” This attitude changed quickly, however, as we sat in the drive-way at home and she got to the place in the citation where it indicated that the cost of this particular transgression was going to be $186. You know the Princess and dollars. She was thinking, “There goes a real nice pair of actual, dimonique earings on QVC!” I was thinking, “That’s a lot of actual, not faux, tractor parts for The Pony.” Its a dang good thing that the officer was no longer present, because there is no telling where this all would have ended-up if The Princess had seen this tidy, little dollar amount earlier.
Back to the officer for a second, he did do me one favor. He, of course, had witnessed The Princess’ total bail-out, with what I’m pretty sure on him went for a smile, so he said that although he would not be in court, he would make a note in the file to the effect that I had acted like a gentleman at the scene. By this I think he meant that he was proud of me that I had not actually launched myself across into The Princess’ seat to clap my hand over her mouth.
Thus began an uncomfortable period. During the first couple of weeks, I received 13 letters (I kept them) from lawyers; all wanted to represent me, pointing out the probable, nasty outcome in court and the lasting financial hardships to ensue should I go to court unrepresented. Although not promising, they pointed to other, better outcomes if I engaged their services, and at my goodness, prices ranging all over the place, from $89 up to several hundred. This only served to heighten my worry over my eventual “day in court,” which (ta da!) was this morning.
I want to say unequivocally that The Princess does not snore. But last night, fearing an outbreak of “not snoring,” and wanting to be fresh for court in the morning, I relied upon a “pharmaceutically-induced” coma. It worked, and I awoke fresh, fearsome and ready to tackle the judicial system single-handedly. The way it works in our county is that once a week on Wednesday, you and hundreds ( this was a light day, only 500, next week they expect 1200) of your fellow criminals show up in the county court-house at 9:00am. After registering, you sit down to wait (a very long time) to speak with one of half a dozen or so Assistant DA’s who stand behind the court rail in the front. It is there, with the ADA that you will actually plead your case, and the next step depends on the outcome of that discussion.
As I waited I watched the various ADA’s interacting with my fellow criminals and started hoping I’d get the nice looking, middle-aged woman who seemed to smile a lot when talking to her criminals. My name was finally called, and I didn’t get the lady I’d hoped for; I got the tall, young guy who also seemed to be guiding a rookie ADA through the process. Rats!
I walked up to the rail, and waited. The ADA stood reading some information for a moment, and then looked up. I quickly said, “I move that all charges be dropped on account of mispronunciation.” This got small chuckles from both, but they were probably thinking, “Oh boy, a comedian.” “Says here you acted like a gentleman when you received your citation.” “Yes,” I said, I really had no choice.” And having started in like that, I related the story that I just told you. He and the rookie started laughing, and he asked me how long I’d been married. I told him and he volunteered that he’d only been married four months. “Well, I said, “Good luck!”
With that, he scribbled something on the sheet, said he’d reduced the charge to driving with improper equipment (I was thinking, “Yeah, The Princess.”) and sent me up to another court room where I eventually plead guilty to this lesser crime (a non-moving violation). I knew I was in good shape when the judge pronounced my name correctly (only my people from Minnesota get it right), and asked me to step up to the bar. She asked me to confirm that I had an otherwise clean record, and after I did so, she said she was dropping the fine and waiving the court costs. I was free to go.
Woo hoooo! I had that wonderful, euphoric feeling, just like the last day of school, when you’re let out and the whole summer awaits. Well, listen, I’ve gone on way too long, and in our case the whole rest of the tractor story awaits. We’ll get back to that in the next post.