Internal workings: a blog
|Posted on April 8, 2015 at 9:45 PM|
Let me get this off of my chest. I am a democrat, with a capital D! Maybe, once long ago, I might have been a republican. When Lincoln was a republican he represented the party of the little man, he was for a relatively strong Federal government that would work to protect the rights of the disenfranchised, the uninitiated, the poor. Lincoln objected to the aristocratic leanings of the old world, where family money would pass unencumbered from generation to generation, and where breaking through to the middle class, such as it was then, or to the upper class, was virtually impossible.
Times have changed. When I was growing up, at least to my limited understanding, you went to school, worked hard, then went to college, worked hard, eventually you got a degree, and then you went off to find a productive job that would enable you to live a life somewhat better than your parents had enjoyed. In some odd-ball cases, you went on to become a doctor or a lawyer, and then went off to enjoy a life, certainly a little different than your parents had. As with most of you, I had four grandparents. Most of my grandparents didn't go to college, and yet they were able to raise my mother and father in relative comfort. My mother and father both went to college. My father joined the Army, and my mom became the proudest of all things, an Army Wife. We were shuttled from post to post, from continent to continent, from country to country, usually staying no more than two years. Because we traveled so much, and had such limited long term contact with other people, my family, my sisters, Michele, Melissa, my brother Brian, and my parents, Joy and Joe, meant the world to me, and still do. I guess this is where I got my sort of insular, me and you against the world attidtude. I'm not sure that it has been altogether helpful, all of the time, but it's who I am. I graduated from high school in Hampton, Virginia, and still consider that great bay-washed place to be my home. While my father was a soldier, and my mother a homemaker, they still found a way to put four kids through college. I banged around a bit, but eventually graduated from the University of Richmond. I joined the Army, worked for a bit, and eventually ended up back at the University of Richmond in the first year of law school. The next three years were a lot of work and a great deal of fun, but I have to be honest, not all of the law agreed with me. Property bored me to tears, tax almost did me in, but I found that I really liked the person to person connection that came with trial work. I felt for the aggreived injury victim, the cheated person in a contract case, and the lowly criminal before the bar. The joke is that "he is no lawyer who cannot make a case for each side." I understand that, and if pressed, I suspect that I could do just that, but I have always felt more comfortable having what I perceived to be the moral high ground.
I think this is a good time for me to make a point. I was incredibly lucky! Luck is part hard work by you, hard work by your parents, and...well, luck. It's that last bit of the equation that has always frustrated me a little. I want everyone to have the same good fortune that I've had, but I guess I'll have to be happy with everybody simply having the opportunities that I had.
Eventually I graduated from law school, and came to Martinsburg, West Virginia. I came to West Virginia, because this is where I was hired by a small firm out of Elkins, West Virginia, known as Wallace, Ross and Gibson. I was to help open the firm's new Martinsburg office. I knew how to pry the cap off of my ink pen, but beyond that, not so much. Ultimately, I learned a bit, and found a new job with a firm called Steptoe & Johnson. Suddenly, I went from being left to learn on my own, to being instructed in precise detail as to what I had done wrong, and how it should be done. One of my mentors was a gruff litigator, whose initials are DR. He didn't seem to like me much, but today I can tell you that I respect what he did for me, and owe him, at least, a drink. At Steptoe & Johnson, I tried my first case on my own, and I loved it! (By the way, the case was a slip and fall at Barnhart's Supermarket. In an odd role reversal, I represented Barnhart's. We won.) I met my wife, Kathy, while at Steptoe & Johnson, and eventually we married.
After Kathy and I married, I went out on my own, and formed various small firms, with various people. I have enjoyed working with all of them, they were smart, fun people, and I learned something from every one of them. Now, I am practicing on my own as M. Santa Barbara Law. I kind of like the freedom that comes with being on your own. I take the cases I believe in, and I work them the way I think that they should be worked up. My wife, who works in the same building as me, but in a separate law firm, frequently questions my judgment, but that is the nature of marriage, and I think that if you asked her she would admit that more often than not, I'm right...or not.
Together Kathy and I have had two wonderful children, Caitlin, and Meghan. They have both flown the familial coop, and are now pursuing college degrees and dreams elsewhere. I miss them both terribly. During the years, Kathy and I have had dogs, and an occasional cat. I have nothing against the cats, Oreo, sometimes known as BiFaCat, and Peaches, but I am definitely more of a dog person: Griffin was a wonderful Cocker Spanial who was with us for 13 years, and Fifi (Fiona Flapdoodle of Whiting's Neck), or as I like to call her "Feefmonster", is a five pound Yorki , who, as I have said, is my constant companion.
Looking back, I think I began this blog post as a politcal rant (something I love to do), but somehow it devolved into a warm and fuzzy introduction to me. Let me bring it full circle then. As me, I am surprised to find myself living in a world where all kids didn't get the opportunities that I did. I don't think that everybody has to go to college, or law school. Those things do not confer merit or worth on someone. I do think, however, that all kids should grow up in circumstances that give them the opportunity to choose and grow to be the people that they want to be. I think that all people, whether doctors, lawyers, indian chiefs, pipe fitters, computer technicians, clerks, should be able to enjoy a living wage, and live in relative comfort. I think that all people should have an opportunity to be heard, and that politics is not a game for the rich to play, but a crucial vehicle through which we can continue to open doors... just like Lincoln wanted.
Rant concluded...nice to meet you.
Categories: Me and the fam!