When I was 12 years old (1969), I experienced two events that changed the course of my life: I got my own paper route, and my mom drove me to the bank and opened a checking account in my name. The reason she opened the account was because she didn’t want the job of writing a check every week to the company that owned the newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star. When we got home from the bank, she taught me how to write checks. When the first bank statement arrived in the mail, she taught me how to reconcile the account.
While I was preparing to write this article, I went to YouTube and watched the opening theme of a weekly TV show that aired on NBC from 1966 to 1968. When the show began in 1966, I was nine years old. I’m referring to Tarzan, a TV show that I watched with my younger brothers every Friday night.
The phone call woke me up in the middle of the night. The exact time was 2:57 a.m. The voice on the other end was from a man I had represented on a previous occasion. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call him “Jake.” When I answered the phone, the first thing I heard was, “Hey Harry. This is Jake. Before I tell you why I’m calling, do you need time to clear your head?” He paused and then said, “Are you alert enough to have a conversation with me?” “Yea, Jake. What’s going on?”
During the 1970s, when I was in high school and then college, there were three popular family singing groups in America: the Partridge Family, the Osmonds, and the Jackson Five. The Partridge Family had a weekly TV show that aired from 1970 to 1974, and two of the Osmond siblings, Donny and Marie, had a weekly TV show that aired from 1976 to 1979. Both shows provided clean, wholesome family entertainment.
A local lawyer who I know — I’ll call him Rick — was recently sentenced by a federal court judge to 60 days in prison for taking money that belonged to one of his elderly clients. The Lawyer is in his mid-sixties. I want to share with you a letter that I sent to him after the judge handed down the sentence. I think you will agree that the advice that I shared with him would be of benefit to anyone. The sending of the letter was what I considered to be a spiritual work of mercy. Here’s what I wrote in the letter:
Not very many people know this, but the plot of the original Action Comics story of Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, was eerily similar to the nonfiction “story” of the life of Jesus Christ. When you compare the story of Superman with the life of Jesus, you can see the similarities.
It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while, I complain directly to God about something that’s bothering me. Last week, my frustration with an ongoing issue finally got to the point that one of my thoughts went up to God in the form of a question: Why can’t you just have an angel appear to me in a dream and tell me what to do? I’m tired of playing these cat and mouse games where I’m always struggling to try to figure out what I should do.
Last week, I ran into an old client at the Peoria County Courthouse. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call him Noah. I represented Noah more than 20 years ago for some serious alcohol-related traffic ticket violations. During the last case that I assisted him with, I told him that it was obvious to everyone who knew him that he had a problem with alcohol. He became angry with me and refused to admit that he had an alcohol problem. After that, he continued to get into trouble with the law, but stopped coming to me for assistance.