Thursday, May 16, 2013

“Mom in Juvenile Court?”

    A couple of weeks ago I was invited by Conroe Municipal Judge Mike Davis to be his guest at Juvenile Court. Truth be told, I didn’t know courts had guests.

Judge Davis put me at ease by saying that he hoped to glean from me any advice I could offer on the proceedings. I thought it a kind gesture, along the lines of a seasoned soldier in a trench allowing a non-combatant to suggest when he should duck.

    I wisely kept my mouth shut during the hearings, but not my mind. This brain of mine is like a closet of marbles. You just try to shut the door.

    During one of the cases, Mike, I mean “His Honor”, said something that made me think of my mother. He was looking down from the bench at a 15 year-old young man who had his chin in his chest and was apparently counting the slats on the floor. The boy’s mother had been much more attentive, nodding in agreement anytime Judge Davis said anything.

    Before announcing his verdict, The Judge asked the boy to raise his head and look over at his mom. The boy slowly did just that. The Judge said, “Young man, do you think that when your mother had you, she said, ‘Oh, boy, a son! I hope I get to humiliate myself one day and stand next to him in a court of law and beg the judge to go easy on him.’ Do you think she hoped for that?”

    I don’t know how well that line would go with most young people, but it seemed to land on a soft place in the boy’s heart. For a minute I thought he might cry. I wish he had. It would’ve given his mom, Judge Davis and me a little lift. Of course, you can never know how long a moment’s emotional tug will last.

    That’s what made me think of my mom. It would’ve broken my heart had Mom had to stand there for me. It hurt enough when she had to pay for a lost library book for me. Hey, I was a kid during simpler times. Oh, there was the same stuff going on, but not so much that you knew.

    It was a time when you could leave your kids in the car while you went shopping for groceries, and no one thought two hoots about it. Would you want seven Hayter kids following you all over the store? Fortunately, back then we had the good sense to roll the windows down.

    We had to ask Mom permission for practically everything. It was no big deal, ‘cause Mom let us do just about anything that didn’t require guy wires, a sledge hammer or cherry bombs. Everything else got the thumbs up.

    Mom not only let us do stuff, but she even recommended stuff for us to do. No telling how many times she said, “You kids, get outside and play. You heard me. Get outta here!”

    I’ve mentioned it more than once, but the best thing Mom ever recommeded I do happened during one of my weekend’s home from college. Dennis had just headed out on a date, and I was moping around the house on a Saturday night. Mom said, “Mark, why don’t you call that Cross girl? Y’all were good friends in junior high. See if she’ll have anything to do with you.” I made up the last part. Mom may have thought it, but was too sweet to say it.

    By the way, I don’t recommend taking dating advice from a friend at the bar or out on the docks, when your mom suggests someone, you might should listen. I’ve been married to that Cross girl for over 41 years now. The best advice Mom ever gave me. That and, “Don’t run with that stick in your mouth! What are you, crazy?”

    Mom wasn’t a perfect mom. She yelled a lot like most Moms back then, she spanked me too often, and she got way too much mileage out of a can of tuna. Oh, and she was lousy at sports. The worst. If you were pitching to her, you had to aim for her bat, ‘cause she couldn’t hit a sleeping yak.

    And, football? The lady couldn’t catch worth beans. And if she ever did get lucky enough to grab hold of the ball, she never knew where to run. Mom cheered for Dennis and me at many a football game, but the poor soul didn’t understand a thing. Just beats all.

    Other than those important issues, Elsie was a perfect mom. The best thing she ever did was pray for each of her kids everyday. Every single day that Mom and I were on the planet, she mentioned me to God. If you don’t think that can keep you out of a world of hurt, you just don’t know.

    Yeah, right there in the courtroom I was thinking about Mom. I could just see a young Mark standing before a Judge Davis. If I had been looking down at my feet, Mom would’ve said, “Mark Scott, you look up at the Judge before I knock you cross-eyed!” Back then, Moms could say stuff like that and get away with it. Something tells me that Mike, uh, Judge Davis would’ve let it slide, too.

You can contact Mark at


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