Friday, March 27, 2009

Week 12 - I'm Headed West

The past week was a whirlwind of getting ready for my LA/Las Vegas trip. Being gone ten days, which is longer than I’ve been away from home since my dad died, takes a lot of preparation. The older I’ve gotten, the better I’ve been at getting things done slightly sooner than last minute but it still left me with a big to do list every night. I managed to get it all done but didn’t relax until I stepped off the plane in Orange County. As always, it was wonderful to see my cousin Debbie, who’s one of my VERY favorite people, and not just because we’re cousins. And, go figure, the weather was fabulous. That’s one thing you can always count on in LA.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about Saturday. After hanging on the balcony drinking coffee and chatting with Debbie and Felicia (her sister-in-law and best friend), I got dressed and headed with Debbie to the Orange County Jail. Debbie’s husband is there, awaiting trial for securities fraud. Of course he’s 100% NOT guilty, having gotten involved with a con artist who took Jonathan for as much of a ride as the investors he scammed. Don’t get me started – I could go on and on.

Anyway, talk about being somewhere I never expected to be! The visitor’s area on Law and Order is the Ritz compared to Orange County. After handing over my ID and being scrutinized from behind the glass while the guard checked me out online, we were assigned a number for the narrow little window where Jonathan would be brought out. There’s a little metal stool where you’re crammed in cheek by jowl with the other visitors. Everyone’s eyes are glued to the gate behind the rows of visiting cubies, waiting for the first glimpse of their loved one.

To see Jonathan stuck in there was awful and it took everything I had to hold it together for the 2 minutes I spoke to him. I handed the phone to Debbie and made a bee line to the lobby. I had brought a book but once I’d fought off the tears (I hate to cry, especially in public!), I couldn’t help but watch the people. They were the skankiest bunch of people I’d ever been in close contact with – from gang bangers with tattoos a-go-go to people women who looked like they were fresh from their last trick. There were only a couple of people I’d consider “normal” (meaning they looked like me.)

The whole visit is kept to 30 minutes long so it wasn’t long before we were on our way home. Jonathan’s prelim is next week and Debbie and Felicia spend all day, every day preparing for trial (Felicia’s a para-legal) – talking on the phone with lawyers, gathering information, calling people for support letters (I wrote a good one. At least I hope it’s good.)… I just have to put my trust in the system and hope that Jonathan is exonerated and can come home to Debbie. I know the US justice system is the best in the world but that doesn’t help when you see a good man locked up because he can’t make the ridiculous bail that was set ($52,000,000!), knowing that he’s innocent. How powerless we all are when someone with a political agenda is using someone you love to set an example.

On that note, I’m off to Vegas on Sunday for the International Master Gardener Conference. Yee ha!

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