I received a very large, menacing sticker on the driver’s side of the family truckster window on Easter Sunday. It got stuck there while parked in our church parking lot. Thick, dark smoke pours profusely from my nostrils every time I think about it. As it is not a pretty sight, I thought it best to just get it off my chest. Yup, let the dark clouds whirling about my head slowly dissipate so I can move on with life. We discovered the extra sticky page after Mass. I believe it was hubby that peeled the annoying thing with a quick “snap” from my window and pasted it securely to the front of the extra church bulletin we had mistakenly picked up. Rick thought it was funny … and not because of the spelling errors on the form. “This is to notify you that your vehical (sic) is illegally parked for one or more of the following reasons,” the form started. They also spelled the word “bus” wrong, but forget I mentioned that. Below that there was a list of several items with little boxes to the left of each to denote the particular violation. The boo-boo checked on my form with a big “X” was “not parked fully within parking space in parking lot.” Yeah … like I took up two parking spots … on purpose. No, I really did. But not because my wheels, a vintage Suburban with weather-cracked leather seats, was anything remotely special like a Porsche or a Corvette. The blasted form further indicated my license plate had been recorded and any further violations could result in citations and/or towing. That was the part that turned the smoke coming out of my nose to red hot poker flames of fire. Although the form was dated, and indicated a time, it was not signed with an officer’s name. Hubby maintains that was because there wasn’t a spot on the form for one. I like to think it was because he was a clucking chicken. If an officer is going to hand me a warning, he better give me the opportunity to call him on it. “OK, maybe I did take up two spaces with my car, but if the policeman properly recorded my license plate, perhaps he might have noticed the obvious glaring handicapped symbol smack in the middle of the plate. Aren’t they trained to notice things like that?” I fumed. For the past 14 years, our same now-crusty family truckster, equipped with an aging lift for Mimi’s wheelchair, has been utilized to transport our daughter to church … and lots of other places in the community. Yeah, I’m used to the steely-eyed stares at the mall when I glide into that wide handicapped spot and gingerly jump out of the car. Heck I totally understand people don’t like it when handicapped spots aren’t used properly for the elderly and disabled. The glares almost always turn to smiles while I’m retrieving Mimi’s wheelchair from the truckster. “For Pete’s sake, all the handicapped parking was taken up … again. We even parked in an area farthest away from the church. What the heck am I supposed to do? We have to have the extra space to safely lift Mimi out of our car and into her wheelchair. This is a safety issue,” clearly ranting myself toward the Grand Canyon of oblivion. I hadn’t been this torked since my last jury summons. Now I’d like to say I have performed my civic duty to the max with regard to jury service. If truth be told, I’ve been called, but never served. It is not that I am dodging anything. I’d love to have the chance to serve. At the very least, it would make for great column material. When Mimi was little, there was an exemption for moms taking care of school-age children. Now that Mimi is an adult, my exemption seems to have a little moldy fuzz attached to it. A couple of months ago when I got the jury summons, I simply wrote on the form I couldn’t serve because my special needs daughter, now in her 20s, was very dependent on me for her care and couldn’t be left alone. Well, while true, that one certainly didn’t fly. In a couple of weeks, I got a nasty letter from the court. It was their view that I would certainly be serving. My three page single-spaced graphic response clearly stated all the reasons it would not be a good idea for me to sit on a jury … even for one day. I did give the court an alternative indicating if they could provide, for starters, a nice properly-trained lady to arrive promptly at our house way out in the burbs at 7 in the a.m. that would be great. And oh, this person must have a good back because she would be required to get Mimi out of bed, dress her, brush her hair, teeth, and feed her blueberry pancakes cut in bite-sized pieces with a glass of milk. Then I most certainly could get to the court on time each morning, and yup, I would be glad to serve. A week later I got a form letter exempting me from jury service. I would have preferred a personal phone call, but the letter worked in a pinch. Geez, I feel better now that I’ve got that off my chest. All I gotta say is if next Sunday there aren’t any handicapped spots, I’m taking up two spots. If the family truckster gets towed, you will be the first to hear about it. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 12 years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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