Mack Williams: Traffic Court
My old Chevy Lumina’s motor “locked up” shortly after getting a ticket for expired inspection sticker, so getting it inspected and taking the paperwork to court was impossible.
For a month, I took advantage of the City of Danville’s “reserve a ride” to get to work at the Danville Science Center; my work-friends kindly giving me rides home.
After a month of this, I purchased a 2000 Oldsmobile Alero from a work-friend, whose daughter had previously owned it.
My old car was a 1992 and this one is a 2000, so I moved 8 years into the future, but still 17 years in the past (there’s fodder here for some kind of math problem; and although never really good at math, I’ll take a chance and say “subtraction!”).
I decided to go to traffic court with my new (of sorts) car’s inspection receipt, title, and registration, hoping the judge would be lenient and dismiss the prescribed $90 fine.
“Fixing up myself” for court (one should look his best there), I noticed my hair was approaching that “George Washington hair” I had when singing for George Washington at the May, 2016 Rowan Museum commemoration of my second cousin’s 1791 Salisbury visit. I figured it couldn’t hurt, just so long as it resembled Washington instead of an old hippie.
So, before heading off to traffic court, I fixed my hair in my “best Washington,” (which, with its bright white, also resembled my “best Lorraine Williams,” my late mother).
Since my arthritis was acting up, I took my Fritz cane with me. The style got that name from being invented by a 16th century German count. Get it? “German!” “Fritz!”(those of you with me back at Granite Quarry and East Rowan will understand my cane choice).
After parking my car in the District Court parking lot, I grabbed my handful of paperwork from the glove compartment. As a strong wind tried to take charge of them, I felt it was trying to make me into an “accidental” criminal!
At the courthouse, I put my keys into the tray and passed through the metal detector. The officer kept my cellphone instead of making me take it back to my car. A young lady, evidently just coming back in from having been told to put her cellphone in her car, “irritatedly” said: “Why are you letting him do that?” The officer said: “Because he’s having some difficulty walking (in the vast majority of cases, the police return respect).
Because of my arthritis, I was glad to see the public’s “seat of justice” was cushy; well, maybe not “cushy,” but “cushiony.”
A group of 10 people were called first and asked if they wanted counsel. Alarmed at this, I asked a nearby policeman if I were in the right court for an expired auto inspection sticker, and he said I was. It turned out they were part of a much publicized, recent Danville City drug bust.
After showing my papers, the dismissal of my fine was over before I knew it. I had planned to take the opportunity to praise the city’s “reserve a ride program,” but didn’t get the chance. Since I had planned to use the courtroom for a bit of a bully pulpit, you might say I’m like Herman Goering (but I’ve read about Herman Goering, and I’m no Herman Goering!).
Checking back out of the courthouse, I told the deputies that as a second cousin of George Washington, I was disappointed by not seeing something which I had fully expected to see on that courtroom wall: a picture of my second cousin! The walls were bare (at least they didn’t have a picture of Jefferson).
As I left, I told the deputies I had decided not to bring this matter up with the judge; and they concurred, saying my decision was a wise one.