Friday, May 13, 2011
Day in Court...
I was just sitting and watching TV, which I do way too much of lately, and suddenly a commercial came on with a familiar face. It was an attorney that advertises regularly for his law office and it brought back a memory that was put away for many years.
On January 17th, 1987 I got married and we just had a civil ceremony at the house. We inquired about getting a Justice of the "Piece" to officiate and found that for mere $75 (then) one would come out to the house. We scheduled it and also invited a number off guests to witness the festivities. My two sons flew in for the event and I recall buying a ton of liquor and had the entire affair catered. All that was left to do was to decorate the house and that was not a big deal. On the day of the event, a man rang my bell and announced that he was the Justice of the Peace. I invited him in and introduced myself to him. He told me his name and that he just lived around the corner, about 7 houses away. We laughed and shared a few minutes together as anyone would do with their neighbor.
Soon it was time to have the ceremony, bite the bullet if you will, and the judge took his place at the front of guests. He performed said ceremony and I invited him to stay for something to eat and he accepted. I'd say he was having a good time and he remained until the guests mostly left and he said goodbye, wished us some much needed luck and walked home. Periodically I'd see him out in front of his house and honk as I went by and would wave. He did the same.
Fast forward about 6 or 8 months and I had purchased a car that needed a lot of bodywork and a complete paint job. I took it to a lot of my usual places for estimates and everyone wanted way too much to effectively get the job done and still generate a profit for me. Then I tried a new place on Bell Rd whose name now escapes me. I talked with who claimed to be the manager and he gave me an estimate that was very agreeable to me. I reiterated that he would do the necessary work and he agreed. So I gave him the go ahead and asked for a ride home.
Way too soon, I received a phone call that my car was ready, so I made arrangements to pick it up and got myself dropped off there. When I got there, there was no one around to speak with and I had already dropped off a check for the full amount. I was literally shocked at the lack of quality of their work. It looked like a couple of inexperienced kids worked on it and literally threw bondo at it from a distance. Anyone could have done a better job. I drove the crippled car home and tried to call the paint shop, but no one would take my call. I asked for a return call that never came. I tried many times to reach them before I stopped payment on my check, but eventually called the bank and did it. Only then did I not receive a call but got a demand letter insisting on payment or a law suite. I called and as usual, they wouldn't answer my call. Expecting a law suite, I took the trouble of taping a yard stick to the side of the car and photographing the area that was so badly repaired. On the driver's side, the car was about 2 inches from flat accenting the poor work. In my eyes, it was a slam dunk case.
On the day of my court appearance, I dressed in a 3 piece navy blue suit and was prepared with photos. As I walked into the courtroom setting, I looked up and to my surprise, there sat Judge Jones, "MY" Justice of the Peace. The body shop explained their case and sadly used a couple of profane words in court. Judge Jones (not his real name) threatened to hold the goofball in contempt of court for his language. After that, I was asked to explain what transpired and while wearing my attorney suit, I think I actually tucked a thumb under my armpit while explaining. I'm not going to say that Judge Jones winked at me, but did give me a look of recognition and found in my favor. Case closed!