So it’s Father’s Day. And THIS is my Dad. It’s one of my favorite pictures of him, and in it he’s celebrating a professional victory. A BIG win on a BIG case in the BIG Easy. He looks cool, right? I mean, everybody has a picture of their dad wearing a leather Bomber jacket over a duck appliquéd sweater over a fancy Cousin Eddie mock turleneck dickie, for sure. He’s smoking the celebratory cigar, and I can still remember his favorites – Flora Fina 858. Look carefully, and you can see my reflection in the glass of the frame. You can see a lot of him in me today. He helped frame who I am, and as I reflect on the 24 years that I was blessed to have spent with him, I do it with a smile on my face. Good, but with no cigar… Yet!

One time when I was flipping through old photo albums, my daughter, who was about 4 at the time, entered the room and the conversation went something like this:

JC: You know, I KNOW what your dad was.
Me: Oh, really? How did you know? Did I tell you?
JC: No. But I know what it means.
{dramatically looking down her nose at me as I was sitting on the floor}
He was one of those guys that stands around a store or parking lot and doesn’t pay for anything.
{And she narrowed her little eyes disapprovingly}
Me: Wait, whaaa?? HUH??? Where did you hear that?
JC: I saw it on a sign and asked you what the word meant.
Me: {frantically flashing back through my mind to recall what I could POSSIBLY
have said to have disparaged my dad so…. BING! Light bulb illuminates}
Oooooh!!! No, Honey. I must’ve confused you. My dad was a LAWYER not a LOITERER.
JC: What’s the difference?
Me: Well… Um… Nevermind actually. Just go with that I guess.

Dad was an attorney. He was a pretty damn good one too. His strength was in the courtroom where he had an amazing ability to connect with jurors and colleagues alike. It was just something that came naturally to him, and his personal attributes helped him professionally. He was a small town guy that was more relatable to the every day Joe than the big city high falutin corporate types. I’ll never forget the time he told me about how opposing counsel walked into the conference room to prepare for depositions and everyone had to wait while Bentley, Baron & Higgins (or whatever their Ivy League sounding names were) inked up their Mont Blancs with their little wells. Dad finally got annoyed, I guess, at their tactics used to intimidate the poor little commoner being deposed, and pulled out his Bic like a knight in shining armor brandishing his sword to save the day. “C’mon, Guys. Let’s get this going,” he said. He was a great litigator and his reputation as such allowed him an edge when trying to settle cases out of court. He was a formidable opponent in the courtroom so other attorneys often wisely chose to settle rather than risk a duel. People almost HAD to like him even if they were against him. It was a double edged sword for an opponent.

Daddy held an office on the 6th floor of a local building with a view of the lake. I even got to work there as a runner for the law firm. It was a very prestigious position as I believe I was the ONLY runner in town who’s job title was truly accurate. I literally ran all over downtown in the summer heat and humidity frizzing my hair with each important delivery that I made since I did not have a car. Ever the outdoorsman, he also kept a set of high powered binoculars perched on his window sill in that office so that he could look out and into the boats on the lake. If the birds were working and his own work could wait, he’d fly down the road to the house where he kept his boat. Many a partner of his may recall getting a phone call saying, “Meet me downstairs at the seawall. I’ll pick you up in the boat in 10 minutes.“ Those same guys may also remember getting into a bit of trouble at home when they’d arrive from a long day at “work” with their suit paints smelling of salt water air and fish guts. I may need to set my own sights on a nice set of binoculars for myself someday because from where I sit at my vanity/writing desk, I have a similar view. Except I don’t live in a big HOUSE. Or have an OFFICE. And neither are on a LAKE. But since I DO have a second floor apartment, my view of the SEWAGE POND from the TRAILER PARK behind me and it’s residential POOL offer me quite an entertaining view from my HOME/OFFICE ifIdosaysomyselfthankyouverymuch!
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