Happy Friday Y’all — wake up and smell the coffee!
Always — always when Friday rolled around my steps had more spring to them because the work week was coming to an end and I knew it. One more day and I could breath a little easier, relax a little more, heck, I could stay in my p.j.’s longer! I looked forward it it.
Around four o’clock on Fridays, all work begin to slow to a crawl and I found myself watching the seconds click off the office wall clock willing it to click over to five o’clock. Most other area law offices had already closed by noon, so returning calls after my lunch hour was fruitless. I never tried to settle any accounts after noon. In fact, I only left messages if I needed someone in our or another office to do something before noon the following Monday. Otherwise, whatever it was waited until the following work week began. Those days were so simple.
By the time I ended my career, I had switch from easy law cases (bankruptcy, evictions, real estate closings, etc.) and got into criminal law and things changed. Criminals are not the easiest cases but they can be the most rewarding, especially when you win the good fight and save some fellers skin. After the switch, Fridays were just as important as any other day of the week, as well as most Saturday’s and sometimes even a Sunday thrown in if Mr. Vernon and I were working on a capital case. Gosh I miss those days when I felt like I was going some good for some pour lost soul. I’ve often wondered over the years if indeed what we did truly helped, and changed someones life, or if they just kept on keeping on with their wild ways — even though at the time every client had high hopes of a new and improved future existence. Over the years I’d always wondered if our clients lives had been changed for the better by our efforts, if they indeed had turned a corner and were more productive citizens. Unless they are a repeat client in which case you have your answer. But the others that you never hear from again, you usually don’t get an answer to that question.
Then one day I was standing in line at the post office and I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to find Jim, an ex-client of mine, standing behind to me. Jim was the darkest skinned man God ever created, so much so that his pearly white teeth was in sharp contrast to his skin colour and he was the biggest man I’d ever know. He towered over everyone and had forearms the size of small tree trunks and a neck as large as my waist! Even though he was giant sized, I always thought of him as a gentle giant. His demeanor and cadence told you he was nothing to fear, except I knew what he had once be charged with — and that was to fear for sure and for certain — but here he was, standing there and smiling down at me. I think he wanted to pick me up into the air and hugged me right then and there but all he could say was that he never thought he’d see his Angel again. — He’d called me his Angel. — I guess to him it was an angel’s intervention that kept him alive and out of a prison bed. To me, it was my job, and I was at that moment as grateful as he was that he was in a post office line, waiting his turn and free to live out the remaining years of his (as he told me) harmonic life.
It was nearly Christmas the year I turned and saw him standing behind me. I think about him this time of year and wonder how he is doing. He reminds me that I did not waste my time all those years ago on people others would have discarded.
Of course, there were a few folks I wanted to walk straight into the “….” chamber. I’m only human. I make no apologies for feeling this way. Jim was not one of those though. I’m glad he didn’t suffer more than he did and that his time on the other side of bars was limited to the time it took to try his case. That, in my opinion, was long enough to change his life into one any mother would be proud of. So Jim is my reward for my work. At least it let me know I did some good in this life.
My time with Mr. Vernon and before that two other attorneys of equal merit was an education in being non-judgmental of others situations. “There for the grace of God, go I” is a good motto to live by.
It’s Christmas time. The time of giving of oneself and of joyfulness of the heart. Good deeds and kindness. I pray, dear Lord to: Let it last for more than a few days or weeks in most folks lives.
Bless you my dear reader this Christmas season. Happy Christmas and a very happy Friday too.