Wednesday, June 27, 2012

ain't it Grand?

Title: Grand Jury at Capt. Walsh's
Creator(s): Bain News Service, publisher
Date Created/Published: [between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915]
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

I am taking a pass on Old Postcard Wednesday this week (and maybe next) because I am serving on the Grand Jury in my county for the next two weeks. Our group looks nothing at all like the gentlemen in the Grand Jury photo above. A bit over 400 people had been summoned on Monday morning to report for jury duty and they were all wearing pants except me. No, I was not the only woman in the room, not by a long shot, but I was the only woman who had selected a dress from her closet to wear to court that morning. And all wearing pants were in totally casual attire, looking nothing like the Grand Jury members in the photo. When the judge released everyone else and swore in the 14 of us (two groups of seven members each) he then told us to enjoy doing our civic duty, etc., etc., and to dress so that "victims will feel comfortable" testifying in front of us. Wednesday morning, therefore, I will be wearing jeans like the rest of them.

We were warned that we will be hearing some "terrible things." People do awful things to one another, and life is damn hard for so many......which leads me to this old song below. Life is short so let's make this day a positive one. Smile at a stranger, make a donation to charity, give your kid or your pet an extra half-hour of your attention, and give yourself some moments of solitude. Take care, my friends.

(Leslie Sarony) - 1932

Lately there's nothing but trouble, grief and strife.
There's not much attraction about this bloomin' life.
Last night I dreamt I was bloomin' well dead.
As I went to the funeral, I bloomin' well said:

        Look at the flowers, bloomin' great orchids.
        Ain't it grand, to be bloomin' well dead!
        And look at the corfin, bloomin' great 'andles.
        Ain't it grand, to be bloomin' well dead!

I felt so 'appy to think that I'd popped off.
I said to a bloke with a nasty, 'acking cough:

        Look at the black 'earse, bloomin' great 'orses.
        Ain't it grand, to be bloomin' well dead!
        Look at the bearers, all in their frock coats.
        Ain't it grand, to be bloomin' well dead!
        And look at their top 'ats, polished with Guinness.
        Ain't it grand, to be bloomin' well dead!

Some people there were praying for me soul.
I said, "It's the first time I've been off the dole."

        Look at the mourners, bloomin' well sozzled.
        Ain't it grand, to be bloomin' well dead!

        Look at the children, bloomin' excited.
        Ain't it grand, to be bloomin' well dead!
        Look at the neighbours, bloomin' delighted.
        Ain't it grand, to be bloomin' well dead!

"Spend the insurance," I murmured, "for — Alack! —
You know that I shan't be with you going back."

        Look at the Missus, bloomin' well laughin'.
        Ain't it grand, to be bloomin' well dead!

        Look at me Sister, bloomin new 'at on.
        Ain't it grand, to be bloomin' well dead!
        And look at me Brother, bloomin' cigar on.
        Ain't it grand, to be bloomin' well dead!

We come from clay and we all go back they say.
So don't aim a brick — it might be your Auntie May.

        Look at me Grandma, bloomin' old hay-bag.
        Ain't it grand, to be bloomin' well dead!



Rob-bear said...

Life can be short, brutish, and nasty. But it can be a wonderfully beauty experience. Yes, you will see some unhappy things. But please don't let them change your view of life i all its joy and richness.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

14?? I thought it was 12 angry men? Has Henry Fonda been lying to me all these years??

My dad has been a juror 2-3 times now, but i have never been asked. Probably just as well considering my inability to make any kind of decision and keep sitting on the fence.

I would definately be the Fonda character, sitting there and saying "yeeeess, i can see the evidence but..."

Hattie said...

Yes, it's jeans everywhere these days. Every time I come to the Mainland from Hawaii I notice the gradual descent into drabness, the subtle signs of America's economic decline.
Good luck with jury duty and glad you are doing it. I got called once in Washington County but was excused.

kj said...

Ah Lydia what an all over the map post and how well you tie it together! Do you feel like you win a popularity contest to be one of 14 of 400? And to be the classiest girl? :-)

The song is hilarious. I swear a blimey accent can sing anything

I wish you were on Donald rumfeld's trial.

Just sayin'

Love love

susan said...

I often got the feeling people dressed down when they were called for jury duty in hopes they wouldn't be chosen. Good for you to present yourself in a classically respectful manner that first day. I think you should continue doing so and elevate the tone of the proceedings to where they belong in a real democracy. Maybe your good example will encourage the powers that be to indict Cheney, Rumsfeld, Dimon, Blankfein, Paulson and a few dozen more.

Good luck.

Kathe W. said...

well said Lydia and it's interesting I bet to be on the Grand Jury....I am sure we will hear some bits about it later on...and I appreciate your last line about doing something positive!

Lydia said...

Rob-bear~ Well, the first week is behind me and my outlook on life hasn't changed, just widened a bit. Two separate cases involving teen girls just pulled at my heartstrings and I will be thinking of them this weekend.

Pixies (i.e., Fonda character)~ You are right about the number in a jury. I am on the Grand Jury, which has seven people and is not in court but in a separate Grand Jury room listening to district attorneys, witnesses and victims prior to deciding whether or not to indict. Here's some official language: A grand jury is a body of seven persons drawn from the jurors in attendance upon the circuit court at a particular jury service term, having the qualifications prescribed by ORS 10.030 and sworn to inquire of crimes committed or triable within the county from which they are selected. [Amended by 1985 c.703 §22]

Hattie~ Wow. What an interesting slant on jeans and casual dress (including even some in the audience at the Oregon Opera): the gradual descent into drabness, the subtle signs of America's economic decline.

kj~ It was really the luck of the draw to be in the group of 30 from the larger gang that was ultimately whittled down to the 14. My juror number was 8, but someone with a number in the 300s made the cut too. I'm glad for the interesting!

susan~ I think your take on why people would wear jeans is a good one. Most people really don't want to serve. But the jeans prevailed and I must admit that it is what I wore after the first day. I wore nice shirts, however, and good shoes. Two women were in sandals on Friday, way too casual for me. I think I'll wear a dress once next week just to keep it fresh. :)

Kathe~ Some bits will undoubtedly appear in a poem or some observation because the experience is intense. And, yup, we gotta keep it positive (you always seem to do that so well)!

Anonymous said...

I hope your grand jury experience isn't too harrowing, especially if you'll be hearing terrible things.

It never occurred to me to wonder how to dress for a jury summons. (Is that what they're called?) Now I know!

Lydia said...

Amber Lee~ Yup, they are called jury summons. Your comment made me wonder if dress protocol varies among states. I rather doubt it, but you never know. The women attorneys appearing before the grand jury have also all been in pants (not jeans, however), some outfits more classy than others. The men attorneys have been much sharper in their attire, actually.
All this may make me sound like a stickler about proper dress....which is not me at all in my daily life. :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails