Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Maybe next year

Jimmy, Johnny and Danny are my three sons.  All of them have birthdays during the first two months of the year.  (Here's to you, John.)

Twelve, fourteen and fourteen years is how long it's been since I knowingly laid eyes on any one of them.  The last knowing communication I had from any of them was ten years ago.  (Here's to you, Jim Rogers.)

Their mother stonily refuses to tell me a single thing about them, even to say whether they are alive or not.  That's a person with a stone-cold heart, and she raised, from their adolescence on, our children to have similarly hard hearts.  (And here's to you, Dan (and Laura).)

On each one's birthday (and all Federal and religious holidays) I go to the same restaurant at noon for lunch near where they lived nearby as they became young men under her tutelage, when they learned that it's easy to circumvent court orders governing visitation and custody by just becoming scofflaws.  What's the shut-out parent going to do, try to get them or the other parent thrown into jail?  (Good times from 2001, just before the parental alienation began in earnest (PAS).)

So that's my routine whenever I'm in town (which is almost always) for those days, to keep alive some potential channel of communication and rapprochement.  As these three now-fully mature men climb into their thirties, I'll keep up the routine as long as I can and maybe someday… .  😉

Monday, February 27, 2017

Hope Springs Eternal

My youngest son Danny played football, and other sports, before I crushed his spirit as an 11-year old by not praising him sufficiently when he scored a touchdown once.  That's what he told me as a 12-year old, after he'd been on a series of secret visits to a psychologist or psychologists in the pay of his mother when she was busy extrajudicially burying my fatherhood during the lengthy and financially crushing divorce wars.

He would never play sports again, this tender adolescent solemnly told me.  Besides being a pile of crap (what young boy talks like this? That's an agenda-driven repressed memories "expert" talking through the mouth of a vulnerable child), that is too bad because he was a good football player.

He was fast enough, although not as fast as my oldest boy, and cerebral enough, although not as good a student of the game as my middle child.  But he seemed to combine the most excellent traits of the other children in a superior blend of athleticism and execution and he could excel on the field of play.

I well remember him breaking off a 40-yard touchdown run as a fullback, kicking a PAT to seal a win, and knocking a halfback out of bounds on the one-yard line on a power sweep running away from his OLB position to preserve a precarious lead in the game's last minute of play.  Your birthday is coming up, Dan, and I hope to see you then for lunch at the Lost Dog.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy Presidents Day

I remember as a school boy in New York, we used to get Lincoln's Birthday off as well as Washington's Birthday, both in February.  Down south they celebrated Washington's Birthday but not Lincoln's, marking a holiday a month earlier as Lee-Jackson Day instead, as in Bobby and Stonewall.

This all got sorted out by marking the greatness of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a holiday on or near his birthday, substituting it for the south's worship of their revered CSA heroes and Lincoln's exaltation in the north and renaming Washington's Birthday as Presidents Day.  Today is that very holiday and at noon, as is my custom on holidays, I'll be dining at the local gourmet pizzeria.

Two of my sons have birthdays this month also, and I'll be at the Lost Dog Cafe at noon on those days too.  Perhaps one or more of them will come dine with me any of these days, my treat; I hope so because I miss them and love them as any father would love his sons.

Jimmy I last saw or heard from over a decade ago.  Danny I haven't seen nor heard from in about a decade.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


I'm stuck in mid-winter doldrums and I'm only doing short runs of one or two miles, even though the weather has been temperate.  Right now, early in the morning before sunup, it's above 60 degrees.  I still run five times each week though, that is my discipline.  I'm not in any kind of shape though and my conditioning has fallen through the floor.

I was into my first quarter mile on the W&OD Trail yesterday when, on a foot plant, I felt a nail dig into the bottom of my foot even though I was wearing running shoes and the blacktop path was clear of obstacles.  I immediately stopped, removed my shoe and felt the inside of it to see if there was a burr or a nail in there.  There was nothing in there, nor in my sock, so I inspected the bottom of the shoe.  What I found was shocking, something that hadn't happened to me before in almost two decades of running.

Upon close inspection, it looked like there were two nails driven into the bottom of the shoe, one where I had felt the prick and one further back towards the heel.  My other shoe had no seeming nails driven into its bottom.  I couldn't go on with a nail poking through the bottom of my shoe so I worked at removing the nail by pulling it back through the bottom of the shoe using my fingernails.  I got the two offending projectiles out after some effort and was stunned.

What had pierced my shoes were two hard-as-rocks, pointy-tipped, half-inch thorns, driven straight into the sole of the shoe from the bottom up as though a cobbler had hammered them home.  The back one hadn't pierced the sole of my foot yet but it was waiting to do so at any foot strike; the forward thorn had worked through the bottom of the shoe and its sharp point had stung the sole of my foot, thankfully I stopped immediately.  I was bewildered as to how these offending missiles had gotten into my shoe but later I realized I had cut through my neighbor's back yard to get to the trail on the path's right of way (he has no fence), walking through the vegetative stubble there and I must have walked on a long dead thorny branch lying under the surface of the weeds or tall grass that had imparted its lethal tendrils into my shoe at perfect right angles.  My neighbor would be glad to know I won't cut across the back fringe of his yard along the untended trail's ROW anymore, I'll be using the sidewalk out front to get to the W&OD from now on, but now I'm paranoid and inspect the bottoms of my running shoes every time I put them on.  (These spearlike thorns hurt!)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Goodbye Dave

I was going to write a post today on the greatest football game ever, played yesterday in Super Bowl 51, but today I received a voice mail from a friend at my former workplace saying merely, "Peter, please return my call."  You always hasten to return those calls.

I thereby learned that one of my two foremost mentors as a lawyer, Dave Fix, who taught me how to be a forward looking, far-projecting strategic thinker in cases, died yesterday.  I called my other foremost mentor, Steve, who taught me litigation and how to drive a case to a successful conclusion, a contemporary colleague of this lion, to let him know the tragic news about Dave, and we set about to find out as much information as possible.

I am beside myself.  God bless you, Dave.

I have a lot of memories of Dave, which I won't share with you because they are special to me.  This Harvard and Stanford grad, instrumental in implementing successful federal court actions filed by my former agency in support of consumers struggling under the burdens imposed by unprincipled fraudsters, be they small nefarious boiler room operators or giant avaricious corporations, was a hero of mine, and I am so sad.  (Dave is on the left and Steve is on he right in this photo taken in 2011.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Street Fighting Man

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.  Martin Luther King, Jr.  The new president hit the ground running, formulating policy by tweets, breaking protocol dangerously like accepting a phone call from the leader of Taiwan thus vitiating the longstanding One China policy, issuing a meaningless yet all-encompassing executive order on the ACA which is subject to great swings of individual interpretation, and generally acting like a banana republic dictator by trying to rule by edict.  (Off to the Women's March.)

A very dangerous man, exposing the country to international conflict by threatening China over their artificial islands far from our shores, and internal conflagration by, for instance, his Muslim ban.  In this nation of immigrants, supposedly neutral with its separation of church and state, he would do well to know that we are governed by the rule of law, not by daily decree from a tin pot tyrant.  (They couldn't believe the garbage they were hearing about American Carnage.)

But the opposition has formed, and swiftly.  A half-million person march in DC emphasizing our traditional basic values within twenty-four hours of his ascension, and a swelling protest against his selective immigrant ban at international airports and at the White House the very next weekend.  (Off to the White House Protest.)

Having lived through the civil rights demonstrations and anti-war protests of the sixties, I am impressed with the speed at which the meaningful roar of the people has coalesced.  The Women's March on Washington was like the leadoff hitter in a baseball game hitting a home run, followed by the next batter up dumping a single into right field.  Game on, Mr. President.  (Not on my watch.)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday, Dad.  You would have been 92, if you hadn't passed last century, but in your too-short life you got so much done.

Reader, don't believe me, read the NYT obituary.  Yes, from the dishonest press, so it couldn't be right, right?

Child of the Depression, combat veteran, scholar at two prestigious schools (three if you count his high school), father to six, loving husband to our mother, Wall Street lawyer, civil rights fighter, constant volunteer, advocate, my hero.  I'm glad one of my three sons got held by you before you departed.

You wouldn't recognize where America is headed now, the country you fought for with your utmost in desperate hours as your fellow Marines bled and died around you.  But resistance is back, Dad, and I've been there and I'll be there.