Last month, on my birthday, I made a trip to the local office of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It was the day that my driver’s license was set to expire, so I had to get it renewed. After waiting in line for a while, I got my picture taken, and then I had to stand in line again to wait for a clerk at the counter to renew my license. When it was my turn at the counter, I answered several questions to verify the information they had in their system.
The champion of our family neighborhood died last week. I’ve written before about how I grew up in a family neighborhood that included seven families. My grandparents, Tom and Effie Williams, lived next door to my parents. All the other families in the neighborhood were made up of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. While all the women in the neighborhood were generous, loving, hardworking Catholic women who did a magnificent job of managing their households and raising their children, there was one woman who stood out among all of them. To me, she was the champion of the neighborhood.
My first jury trial was in 1983, the same year that I started practicing law. I was the attorney for a young woman who had been charged in federal criminal court for embezzling money from a local bank. After that case, I continued to accept criminal defense cases for several years. In one of those cases, I represented a young man who was charged with a serious crime. The evidence against him was overwhelming, and he was found guilty of the crime. At the sentencing hearing, he told the judge that he had discovered God, and he was a changed man. The judge responded to his comment by stating,
Last month, was the 38th anniversary of when I opened my law office. After 38 years, I still get frustrated with running my own business. I’m going to share something that happened to me last month that caused me to become extremely frustrated and angry. After I share my experience with you, I’m going to give you one of the keys to happiness — a key that allows you to still find happiness in a world that is fraught with frustration and anger.
When I was 11 years old, every Friday my dad made me write a personal letter to a woman he hardly knew. The woman’s name was Miss Miller, and she was my sixth-grade teacher at St. Mark Catholic Grade School. I don’t remember if it was her idea or his idea. All I remember is that after she called him on the phone a few times to complain about my behavior in class, they developed a scheme in which I was forced to write the following letter on a blank sheet of paper every week:
Last week I wrote about my five-year-old grandson, Liam, who was scheduled to have open-heart surgery on Tuesday, October 13. At the end of my article, I asked for prayers for Liam. I’m happy to report that the surgery was successful. The surgeon was able to apply a patch that was a little larger than a dime to the hole in Liam’s heart, and after the surgery, Liam’s heart rhythm was normal, and he was placed in the intensive care unit.