You can ring my dinner bell.

A couple of months ago, Tara got involved in online estate auctions.

She’d bid on vintage items like swag lamps and wicker mirrors. The idea is to buy them cheap, clean them up, then turn around and sell them for a profit. She even considered renting space at St. Joe Antiques Mall, but there’s a pretty long waiting list for that opportunity.

The way these auctions work is, when you win the bid, you don’t just get the one item: you get the whole lot. Your lamp might come with a couple of vases, a chipped figurine or two, crappy artwork. It’s mostly junk, but there are occasional diamonds in the rough. A few weeks ago, I found one. Tara had piled a bunch of stuff she didn’t want on top of the garbage bin. I was looking through it and literally gasped out loud when I saw this.

“Babe!” I said excitedly. “You got a dinner bell!”
“Yes?” she replied, waiting for the punch line. But ha-ha, the joke’s on her. There was none.
“This is awesome!” I said.
“This is trash,” she countered.
“I’ve always wanted a dinner bell!”
“What are you going to do with it?”
“Hang it up and ring it when dinner’s ready. Duh!”

Seriously, I’ve longed for a dinner bell for years. I can’t believe my wife isn’t as enthusiastic over this as I am. She said I could just, you know, tell her when dinner’s ready. But where’s the fun in that?! Why waste breath on words when you can clang a bell instead?

I’m a big picture kind of guy. We’re going to get a lot of mileage out of this dinner bell, trust me. The whole neighborhood will know when Team MarTar is fixin’ to tie on the feed bag.


We appear to have finally turned a corner with our weather. They were forecasting a warm-up Saturday, but we had no idea it was going to reach 85º. We took advantage by prepping the yard and garden. Tara should be able to transfer her plants to the raised beds in a couple of weeks, so we made a trip to Menards for soil and mulch. But we didn’t get as much mulch as we needed, so it was back to Menards for more mulch.

In between the multiple Menards mulch maneuvers, I took a hike up Buzzards Roost. Luckily, there was a strong breeze blowing. This helped keep me cool (and nearly blew me off the ridge at one point).

We ended our day with cards, records, cocktails, and pizza.


I came home a few weeks ago to find a jury summons in the mail. That’s almost as exciting as learning a beloved family member has died.

Look, I have nothing against the American judicial system. I got to serve on a jury two years ago and it was a great experience. Just not one I feel any desire to repeat. And the way it works in South Dakota is kind of weird. My panel’s term of service is the entire month of May. I was telling my boss this, and he said both his wife and brother-in-law had six-month terms! I’d hate to be in limbo for half a year. One month is bad enough.

Then there’s the fact that I’ve got a bunch of travel this month. Tomorrow, I’m headed across the state on business. And we’ve got a trip to Fort Collins over Memorial Day weekend. I called the court clerk and got myself excused for this week because of my business trip, and it’s a good thing: my panel was called to report Wednesday morning. I’m hoping this means they’ll move on to a different panel next week, but who knows. I’m still in the dark over how this whole thing works out here.

I forgot to get myself excused for the Colorado trip, so if I am called to report, I may have to get creative when questioned.

Have you ever served on a jury? What was your experience like? Do you know of anybody who gave memorable excuses to get out of serving, and if so, what were they? Asking for a friend…

42 thoughts on “You can ring my dinner bell.

  1. My boyfriend does those on-line estate auctions and all I can is that I’m glad we don’t live together. Most of the “treasures” he gets would end up in the trash around here. LOL I do think the dinner bell is cool though. My dad got a jury summons after he died and when I tried to deal with it, they blamed me for them not knowing about his death. I liked when I served on a jury before; it was very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They claimed that I hadn’t notified the appropriate authorities and agencies of his death; I didn’t realize I had to do that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, I was on a jury last year in Astoria (Clatsop County). I was appalled at the prosecution’s inability to provide any evidence. The defense didn’t even have to present a case. I think the judge was appalled too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Always wanted to, alas I guess it was never meant to be. I got a letter in my mid 20’s to call a number to see if I would be able to come for the choosing process. When I did call I got a recording telling me the jury had been selected. 🫤 in over 25 years later, never happened again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never been on a jury. I’ve always gotten out of it because of child care. That’s probably the real reason I had my son. 😉 Good luck! And I’m happy for you to have gotten something you’ve long wanted. Enjoy your dinner bell!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If my husband wants to cook dinner, I’d be happy to be called to the table by a dinner bell (interesting that they are called a “bell” when clearly they aren’t). I haven’t served on a jury for a while but my husband seems to get called regularly. With Covid, I don’t think I’d want to be sitting side-by-side in the jury box.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gah…I know! Covid is yet another factor! I’m half-convinced I got it last time I was on a jury. It was Feb. 2020, just a few weeks before they declared a pandemic, and I came down with a bad “cold” after.

      You’re right about the bell, by the way. Although, to be fair, when you ring it, it sure does sound like one!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Last time I got a summons it was to possibly sit in the next county over. South King county must have been having problems getting jurors. I worked South King but lived close to the border being in Pierce- that was the only reason I could imagine getting a summons. Anyway- ended up not even being called although I was actually looking forward to it since it didn’t involve the courthouse in downtown Tacoma. That would have been jury duty hell.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I was on a jury at the Tacoma courthouse. When we had a lunch break, I thought it would be a nice idea to go for a walk outside. I soon scuttled back to the courthouse and stayed there for the rest of my time in that area.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I think you should invite Tara to write a guest post in which she describes in detail exactly what happened when the summons to dinner dinging occurs… also that thing looks a little rusty. Might not be an angelic sound. 🙃

    My advice? Use it in the garden either as a functional or ornamental piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let’s not encourage Tara to write a post in which she’s sure to heap scorn on me now, okay? Maybe I’ll wait for a more romantic occasion or something.

      I’m happy to say the bell is brand new out of the box and gongs like a champion!

      Like

  8. Nice bell, or technically triangle. I actually tried to install a dinner bell years ago, the husband was not amused and refused to let me hang it.
    And I did serve jury duty, a personal injury case where the plaintiff was a blonde bimbo who’s slept with half of the local Marine base. She had the whiplash collar, the cane, the oh so pitiful whine. She also had been seen dancing her butt off with wild abandon at various clubs around town… without the collar and cane.
    🥴

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve been called a record 7 times, but got out of it 5 times for having a letter saying I was the primary caregiver of a child with a disability.

    The two times I’ve served, I was the alternate on a DUI case and the other time I sat in a windowless room for 4 straight days, never hearing my name called. Thank God I had an iPad at the time. The whole thing irritates me. It costs more to park than the stipend. Just wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve served twice – both times during my forties. I asked to postpone on the second time (I can’t recall the reason now) but when I hurt my back, I couldn’t get out of the re-arranged date & had to hobble along. This was at local (county) level rather than big-time London court. I was held for no more than a fortnight on each occasion, being released immediately after serving on a jury. It’s was an interesting process, but I’d be happy not to be called again, as I only know one other person IRL whose served, so there’s plenty more candidates out there!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have served so many times on juries. Los Angeles County calls me up almost every year. The only time I got excused was when I had a baby and then when COVID started. I have entire posts (as well as angry poems) about the joys of serving on my blog. My strategy to escape jury duty never works, so I just volunteer to be foreperson so I can run things as efficiently as possible.

    Sometimes, though, you still get a Juror #12 who messes everything up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Damn. It’s almost like you’re on somebody’s list. Maybe the crazy cop neighbor has an “in” with the county court and is trying to make your life as painful as possible for the nerve of standing up to him.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve never bought anything from an online estate auction nor have I served on jury duty. I was summoned by mail, told to call a phone number each day during the week I was to serve, then told by a message on a phone that I was not wanted that day. They strung me along, but I didn’t have to show up in person. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had that happen. And then today, I got a notification that those asked to report tomorrow no longer have to because the trial was resolved. I was off the hook anyway, so I was kinda hoping it would go through to potentially absolve me next week. Guess at this point I can’t breathe easily until June 1.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I like the name of the hike to Buzzard’s Roost. It’s a little ominous. Do you think the wind routinely blows people off up there and that’s why the Buzzards Roost there? 🙂

    Hope your travels go well. I’m guessing Tara isn’t going to ring the dinner bell while you are gone. “The whole neighborhood will know when Team MarTar is fixin’ to tie on the feed bag” has to be the most memorable line of this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does sound kind of creepy, huh? Apparently, buzzards really do roost up there. Or turkey vultures. Essentially they’re the same thing, though Turkey Vulture Roost doesn’t sound nearly so foreboding.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve had several jury summons over the years. Potential jurors are called by last name which means I always get to sit through the whole day. Yay? One jury selection ran into a second day. One of the potential jurors was over an hour late reporting to the court house because she decided to stop by her office first. Big mistake. She was invited to have a “chat” with the judge in his quarters and was charged with contempt of court. I was selected to serve on that jury; it was a murder trial. It lasted a week and is not an experience I’m excited to repeat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Judges are not people to be trifled with…I’ve learned that much at least! Hard lesson for that potential juror to learn.

      Murder, huh? I don’t know whether I’d be excited or dismayed to serve on that type of jury.

      Like

  15. “The whole neighborhood will know when Team MarTar is fixin’ to tie on the feed bag.”–I laughed SO hard!
    I also love a dinner bell.

    Lovely views, and yay for getting the garden going.

    On-call for a whole month?
    I’ve been called for jury duty but was released. Maybe it was the fake tear drop tattoos that I’d added that morning?

    Liked by 1 person

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