I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. We have so many things to be thankful for in Delaware County! Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, full of family and food. But before I share a few memories about Thanksgiving, I want to provide a few updates about the operation of the Delaware County Domestic Relations Court.
From March 2020 until July 2021, we conducted almost every hearing virtually using zoom video conferencing due to the pandemic. Thanks to the use of technology, we were able to actively manage our caseload and did our best to continue to provide calm order for families going through difficult times. I am thankful the court was able to utilize technology to stay current with our cases. Since July 2021, the Domestic Relations Court has settled into our new normal.
So what is our new norm? The court is utilizing a hybrid approach to our docket. You see, we found there are some real advantages to the public and the court using video-conferencing. First, many people, including most attorneys, prefer to have a Zoom hearing because the hearings take less time overall and eliminate the travel time driving to and from the courthouse. Second, I have found these hearings can be more efficient for the court and enable the court to schedule more frequent hearings in cases that need more judicial oversight.
The Domestic Relations Court continues to conduct Zoom hearings for dissolutions, status conferences, attorney-only conferences and acknowledgments. While some hearings work very well with Zoom, I find some hearings work much better in person. That is why we currently conduct pretrials, final pretrials, evidentiary hearings, and trials in person at the courthouse. I have observed an increase in communication and resolution of more cases having everyone in person for these hearings.
Now, on to some Thanksgiving memories. I hope you can appreciate that I usually try to stretch a holiday into, at least, several days of celebration. When I attended Buckeye Valley High School, we began having a pre-Thanksgiving meal. Back then, I took eating a lot on Thanksgiving Day as a challenge. I wanted to make sure I was able to eat as much of my mom’s (Dorothy Fuller’s) delicious home-cooked meal as possible.
So, on Wednesday evening we would go to Pizza Villa for the all you can eat buffet. I would eat as much pizza and salad as I could. My salad usually consisted of equal parts lettuce, pepperoni, cheese and salad dressing. It was my theory I could stretch my stomach to maximize the amount I was able to eat for lunch the next day. I would wake up on Thanksgiving Day with our home filled with the aroma of the turkey mom roasted overnight and skip breakfast to make sure I was really hungry for the Thanksgiving meal.
After a great Thanksgiving meal (thank you mom!) complete with mom’s legendary stuffing, I would rest. Later in the afternoon, family members and some friends would venture outside to compete in the annual Thanksgiving Day football game organized by my uncle Bob. If you wanted to be on the winning team, you made sure uncle Bob was on your team. You see, uncle Bob, who lived in Xichigan, changed the rules of the game to make sure his team won. This changing of the rules was kindly known as “Xichigan Rules.” (Go Bucks! Beat Xichigan! OH!)
I have so many wonderful memories of Thanksgiving Day and the people who celebrated the day with us. Sadly, many of the people who used to sit around our Thanksgiving table are no longer with us. But, I am thankful they were a large part of my life and for the profound effect they had on me.
Randall D. Fuller is judge of the Domestic Relations Division of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Judge Fuller is a life-long resident of Delaware County.