Whoa, Fool Me Once –

Today, JAG officers come into the Army as captains.  Not so when I raised my right hand.  We came in as first lieutenants with the understanding that we would get credit for our time in law school and be promoted to captain in 18 months.  My particular class ended up getting stuck on the bottom of a promotion list that took 21 months.  We were then told that Congress would correct this three month error.  Can you imagine anyone being so naive as to believe that one?

Then there was the vague promise of professional pay.  Doctors, dentists and even veterinarians in the military receive pro-pay, but not lawyers.  Every few years, some congressman would throw a bill in the hopper to give JAGs pro-pay.  We would get all excited and the bill would go nowhere.  Many of my JAG contemporaries would argue that what we did was more important than some veterinarian going around inspecting meat or vaccinating horses.  My approach was different.  I insisted that all the other Army officers held us in contempt because they thought we got pro-pay, so we might as well get it.  We never did.

Shortly after I made captain, the III Corps and Fort Hood Office of the Staff Judge Advocate (JAG Office) held a picnic at Belton Lake.  It was kind of neat.  It was a typical picnic with hamburgers, hot dogs and beer.  Sometime during the middle of the picnic, an enlisted man from the office came up to me.  He was short and stocky and I knew who he was, but didn’t know him well.  He took me aside and said, “Sir, can I speak to you man to man?”  I figured he had a personal problem and I was quite willing to help, so I said, “Sure.”  He then proceeded to tell me that I was a worthless SOB; that I was arrogant, and not half as smart as I thought I was.  I was stunned.  Because I had told him we could speak “man to man,”  I wasn’t sure what I could do (maybe that proved his point about not being half as smart – ).  I got away from him without doing anything stupid.  Life was a lot simpler when you could just punch a guy out.  The picnic had lost its excitement.

After leaving Fort Hood, I spent six months at the Presidio of Monterey learning how to speak German and then, I was assigned to the 4th Armored Division Headquarters in Goeppingen, Germany.  Most of the 4th AD troops were stationed closer to the border, but we were about 30 miles east of Stuttgart.

I had been promoted to major in less than six years, so I guess I should quit complaining about the three extra months as a first lieutenant.  My early promotion to major had a lot to do with the Viet Nam War build-up and very little to do with my accomplishments.  It did, however, cause me to be the Division Duty Officer one Saturday/Sunday.

Early Sunday morning, we were visited by the provost marshal.  He was a big strapping lieutenant colonel who looked like he had played tight end for a major university.  He was literally hauling a drunken GI.  The drunk, a tall skinny soldier, could hardly stand up.  The colonel told us that he was just out for a morning stroll and he saw this GI fall off the sidewalk and roll down a rather steep hill.  He wanted us to find out the soldier’s unit and have someone come get him and take him back to his unit and put him to bed.  The colonel was just interested in the soldier’s safety.

After the provost marshal left, my NCO got on the phone and located the man’s unit.  During this time the GI was carrying on about how he wasn’t drunk and could take care of himself.  Finally, he looked at me an said, “Sir, can I talk to you man to man?”  I immediately said, “Absolutely not!”

Greetings from the Front

The year 2002 was tough on Washington DC.  While we were still recovering from 9/11 and the anthrax scare,  what had everyone really up tight was the sniper who was randomly killing people for no apparent reason.   As people were being shot while they put gas in their car or went shopping, it really changed how we went about our routine.  That is the back drop for my Christmas poem of 2002.

                                        GREETINGS FROM THE FRONT – 2002

It’s the annual report, brought with cautious glee,
Coming to you direct, from Outpost DC.
With the Pentagon and anthrax and latest a sniper,
There was plenty of cause to be down right hyper.
But, we will prevail, on that you can bet,
It’s our Nation’s capital, lest they forget.

We certainly became cautious, bought our gas on post,
We didn’t take chances, the sniper was a ghost.   
But, Carole broke the rules, her situation was dire,
She had a $10 coupon that was about to expire.
She snuck off to Kohls, against my advice,
With the pull of the bargain, she would have gone twice.
So that’s the excitement, and that is our tale,
I think she’d still be there, for a truckload sale.

In April, we made a very special trip,
We traveled down under and it was a pip.
We saw Sydney and Melbourne and incredible Ayers Rock,
Roos, wombats and koalas, all kinds of weird stock.
The outback, the rainforest, Great Barrier Reef,
Strange types of meat, so we missed our beef.
Then off to New Zealand, an emerald sea,
And we flew up and down in a DC3.
The country’s much smaller and prices are cheap,
And everywhere you look, there’s sheep, sheep, sheep.

Ten years at the Fox, not bad for a JAG,
Interesting issues, never a drag.
Stimulating stuff that really inspires,
Super hot topics, like ball joints and tires.
It’s exciting to Jack, as he tells his clients,
“I think it’s inconsequential noncompliance.”
But good golf is his goal, before he retires,
A crisp straight shot is the thing that inspires.
A golf school in Florida may be the stroke,
To lower the handicap, so it’s not a joke.
To keep Carole happy and ensure that she’s busy,
We’ll pick out a spot that’s close to Missy.

The children and grandchildren are all doing great,
Becky and Missy are still teaching, Paul locks the gate.
Supervising a prison takes a special guy,
And located in Virginia, puts the family close by.
Becky and the kid came this summer to DC,
When the only threat around was yours truly, me.
The kids all played softball, in an Arent Fox game,
And Grant was the hero, when Grandpa’s throw turned lame.
Missed the Hansens at Thanksgiving, cause Kristin had to practice,
Her cheerleading competition, jumped right up and smacked us.
She’s a flyer up on top and that’s because she’s small,
But also when she drops, it’s a long way to fall.

We’re thankful that our moms are still doing well,
Navigating their eighties, but you can’t really tell.
They’re both independent and living life to their tune,
Enjoying their retirement, we expect to see them soon.

With the country’s ups and downs, there’s something you should hear,
We’re coming to the season, for friendship and good cheer.
So to the neighbors, fellow workers and Thrift Shop volunteers,
To retired Judge Advocates, and friends throughout the years,
We wish you all the best, and may your future be bright
We wish you a Merry Christmas and to all a Good Night!

Brother Bob

I haven’t written in a while because my wife, Carole, and I made a quick trip to St. Charles, Missouri to visit Carole’s younger brother, Bob.    Ordinarily, Bob and his wife, Sue, would be returning from two months of enjoying the sun and sand in Florida.    But this year, their world got flipped upside down.

In December, Bob went in for a routine check up for his arthritis and mentioned to the doctor that he had felt some discomfort in his stomach area.   The doctor decided to do a CT scan and when the testing was done, it was determined that Bob had pancreatic cancer with tumors on his pancreas and liver.   The first round of chemotherapy was a flop.  It made Bob sick and didn’t slow the tumors down.

Bob is an extremely likable guy.  Bob was a toe-head when he was young and still remains a blond with light complexion.  Mustache, sometimes.  He stands about six foot tall and always has a funny comment to make.   When the doctors reevaluated his case and decided to go with a 24/7 chemo drip (stent in his chest), he nicknamed his chemo fanny pack, “Chemo Sabe.”

At an earlier time, Bob had been an air traffic controller and very dedicated to his job.  But, he was strong on the union and was caught up in the strike that resulted in President Reagan firing a large number of ATCs.   I have always felt guilty that I didn’t call Bob and tell him that I was convinced that President Reagan was serious about firing them.   I don’t know if it would have made any difference in Bob’s decision, but I have regretted through the years not making the call.  What’s the use of having insight if you don’t share it.   I have used that experience as a lesson learned so as not to make the same mistake twice.   Now, I tell people what I think and annoy them.

Bob is great company and has gathered a very large number of friends through the years.  One of his loves is electronic gadgets.   As soon as something new comes out, he has it.  So, when they stuck him in ICU with a 12 inch TV with five channels, he went crazy.  “Where’s my 60 inch Sony?”

I’m not sure about his handyman skills.  Bob was telling me about a painter he knew that was going to do some interior painting for him.   The painter told him that the job would cost $1,000.   But, if Bob wanted to help, it would cost $2,000!

The cancer has been tough on Bob.  A short while back, he had pneumonia and now he is trying to dissolve blood clots in his leg.  They seem to be moving in the right direction and hopefully, in a short while, he will be sitting at his command center in front of his 60 inch Sony.

What Ought-Six Wrought

Each Christmas, I write a poem that goes out with our Christmas cards.  It is my way of reporting to our friends on what happened during the year.  I plan on posting the poems.  Maybe someone will see the subtle and not-so-subtle humor woven into the verse. 

RAJA is the Retired Army Judge Advocates.  We meet every year to renew old friendships and struggle with world problems. 

I hope you enjoy Christmas, 2006.

                                       What Ought-Six Wrought

It’s time to report on the year Ought-Six,

It’s good times and bad times, the usual mix.

There were bright shining moments and yes, some wearies,

But it can’t be all bad, when the Cards won the Series.


Last year, I mentioned remodeling, bathrooms here and there,

I also mentioned selection of tile, caused someone to pull out her hair.

Well, the project took on a life of its own, and expanded in curious ways,

We set the mark high, and we climbed and climbed, until all involved were dazed.

But, the project was probably worth it.  Let me set the scene,

When people enter our house, they ask, “Which way to the Taj Latrine?”


Saying Carole is organized, is a gross understatement,

She’s summa cum laude at disorder abatement.

But the bathroom remodeling caused a noticeable tilter,

Like when they vacuumed their mess, without use of a filter

She kept calm and poised through this dust bowl year,

Adding to the legion of our organized dear.

It was a year of stress, of stroking and coddling,

But next year for sure, there’ll be no remodeling!


Our RAJA reunion was good times and giddy,

Under Mt. Rushmore, in Rapid City.

The Baker’s live there and the Heaston’s played host,

In the shadow of Mt. Rushmore, we all shared a toast.

In July we toured Oregon, but we took our licks,

When we arrived in Portland, it was 106.

But with waterfalls, golf resorts and yes, Crater Lake,

Throw in some whale watching and it was great, for criminy sake.

What’s great about a fiftieth high school reunion is just being there,

Who cares about a few extra pounds or the sight of missing hair.

Jack had a great time, full of East Side High stories,

Remembering lost friends, revisiting past glories.

We all had laughs, some had a tear,

And Carole’s due up in just a year.


We lost our pet, Holly, early in the year,

It was a great blow, ‘cause she brought us such cheer.

She was never a problem, never a fuss,

As a matter of fact, she was smarter than us.

We will never forget her, never, no never,

She’ll be in our memories, forever and ever.

Jack’s working on phase-out, it’s work so to speak,

You’ll find him in the office three days a week.

Next year only two days, and then comes none,

It’s a nice way to transition toward wall-to-wall fun.

Even then he’ll be busy, but he’ll make the selection,

From a world of choices, and the speed of projection.


Regarding our progeny, as far as we can tell,

Nothing much has changed, so they’re all doing well.

Three grandchildren in High School and one in College,

We hope by osmosis, they’re all gaining knowledge.

Then there’s Kristin, our only granddaughter,

Fourteen and that smile, you have to applaud her.

Little Jack’s a delight, but he can be a booger,

When he dips into the candy, and loads up on sugar.

But all six of the grandchildren are such a delight,

Who would have guessed, they’d all be so bright.


So as the year closes, and we pause to reflect,

On our friends and loved ones, all those we respect.

We cherish those memories, at all times of the year,

But especially around Christmas, when families draw near.

So enjoy the Holidays, be healthy, thank Heaven,

And try to come see us in 2007.


Why, Why, Why?

This website is a direct result of my efforts to figure out what I want to do when I retire.  I decided I wanted to write and, perhaps make people laugh or smile.  I have written quite a bit through the years, always trying to sneak in a little humor (not easy when writing on legal topics).  This is my window to the world.  It’s probably not open very wide, but at least it is here.

I am presently a partner with a super law firm in Washington, DC.  Arent Fox also has offices in New York City and Los Angeles.  Their website is www.arentfox.com (pretty original, huh?).  If you want to look me up (I’m not on My Space), try www.arentfox.com/people/index.cfm?fa=profile&id=225.  I guess that makes my code name 225 and gives you some incite as to how big Arent Fox is.

I practice motor vehicle safety law.  Not a big winner at the cocktail party.  Professions are like jokes; if you have to explain them, you are lost.  “I do motor vehicle safety law.”  “Oh, how nice.”  Or, “Isn’t that interesting.”

Operation Blue Bell

If you are going to be an Army officer, there are certain additional duties that come with the territory.  The good news is you don’t have to pull guard duty and you don’t have to be the observer during the urinalysis drug testing.  But, you will from time to time be assigned as the Officer of the Day.  This means that you will report to the post or command headquarters at the close of the business day and spend the night “in charge.”

As a brand new Army JAG Captain, my name came up to be the Officer of the Day for III Corps and Fort Hood.  Counting III Corps and the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions, there were about 40,000 troops at Fort Hood, Texas.  At about 1630 hours (4:30 PM), I reported to the Corps G3 Operations Office for my briefing.  Then, lugging a large three-ring notebook, which contained all of the answers I would need, I headed for the duty officer area to settle in for the night.  Some duty officers might be impressed with their authority.  I was just hoping not to screw up.  I met the NCO who would assist me and it turned out that it was his first time also.

I studied the three-ring notebook and most of it made sense.  If the local police called about a GI who had gotten in trouble, I call the military police.  If I received information about the death of a soldier’s relative, I notify the soldier’s unit.  I transmitted messages to the right people.  I could do that.  The only thing that was confusing was the stuff about alerts.  Some alerts were paper drills to see how quickly the on-duty G3 officer could come in from his quarters, open the safe, and respond with the correct response code.  In rare cases, it would require the entire post to report for duty.  The whole subject was fuzzy to me.

My NCO and I split up the duty so that each of us could sleep for a short while.  At 0345 hours
(3:45 AM), a Specialist Four reported to me from the Communications Center.  He had a message from Fourth Army, our higher headquarters.  I looked at the message and it said, “Execute Operation Blue Bell.”  I was clueless.  I got out my three-ring notebook and there it was, but it was written in “operation speak.”  I wasn’t sure what to do.  My NCO knew a lot about motor pools, but he was no help on this message.  The Spec Four was still waiting for a response.

At that particular moment, I remembered that some type of close hold activity was going on and that there was a G3 Major sleeping in the G3 shop.  I told everyone to give me a minute and tore up the stairs.  When I woke the Major, I scared the daylights out of him.  When he finally became oriented as to where he was, I showed him the message.  It turned out my Major was a one-trick pony and this wasn’t his trick.  The clock was running!

I went downstairs and looked at the notebook again.  Then I said to the Specialist Four, “What do you think the message means?’  He said, “I think we need to alert the entire command.”  I said, “OK, go ahead and do it.”  Forty thousand troops were being awakened at 0400 hours.

The whole episode reminded me of the book, Catch 22.  It’s a great book about what can go wrong in the military.  In this particular Air Force unit, all the important decisions were being made by
Ex P.F.C. Wintergreen in the Communications Center.  When Generals Peckem and Dreedle (the commanders in charge) could not agree, each would prepare a letter to higher headquarters advocating their position.  The letters would go through the Communication Center where Ex P.F.C. Wintergreen would review them.  He would then forward the letter he agreed with.  He would destroy the other letter.  In my case, I may have been the Officer of the Day, but the only one who knew what to do was the Spec Four in the Communication Center.

About 15 minutes after the alert went out, I received a call from the Chief of Staff of the 2nd Armored Division.  He asked the question I didn’t want to hear.  He said, “Captain, are you sure this includes the 2nd Armored Division?”  Then came my brightest moment.  I said, “Sir, it’s a Blue Bell alert.”  He thanked me and hung up.  At that moment, I knew that I wasn’t the only one who was clueless as to what a Blue Bell alert was.

It turned out that my Ex P.F.C. Wintergreen in the Communications Center knew what he was doing and we had done the right thing by alerting the entire post.  I got off duty at 0700 hours and went home, cleaned up, ate breakfast and went to my office.  When I arrived, the Sergeant Major said, “Captain, you missed the alert this morning.”  I said, “No I didn’t Sergeant Major, but I almost did.”

Schilling Manor

One of the great things about the military is that where ever you are assigned, there is a good chance that you will run into friends you have served with before and, also, you are guaranteed to meet new friends.  In the late Sixties, I was wrapping up three years in Germany and knew I would be going to school for a year. and then on to Vietnam.  The school was in Chicago and we decided we would live in Evanston, but Carole had to decide where she and the kids would live while I was in Vietnam.  She selected Schilling Manor.

Schilling Air Force Base in Salina, Kansas ceased operations in 1965.  There were over 700 family housing units and I believe it was about the same time that the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas was getting ready to deploy to Vietnam.  If my facts are straight, many of the wives from Fort Riley moved 50 miles west and opened up Schilling Manor.  It became a waiting wives home.

Schilling Manor turned out to be an excellent choice.  Three years in Germany reading the Stars and Stripes Newspaper hadn’t prepared us for what we found in Chicago in 1969.  The Chicago Seven trial was in progress and there was a lot of ill feelings toward the military.  They (student & faculty) shut down Northwestern when the Army went into Cambodia.  Carole found a great group of like-minded wives at Schilling (Also, Salina is a little different from Chicago).

Schilling Manor was attached to Fort Riley for support and before you knew it, there was a commisary, PX and medical and dental support.  By the time Carole and the kids arrived in 1970, it had been running smoothly for a number of years.  They had figured out security for this large housing area void of husbands.  Each house had four or five outside lights and they were required to be turned on every night.  It looked like 10 o’clock in the morning.  Couple that with a civilian security force driving around and there weren’t many problems.  If a car showed up in the housing area with a Fort Riley decal, it was quickly checked out.  It the GIs were up to no good, their commander knew about it the next morning.

After completing my tour, I had about a month before I had to report to my next assignment.  This gave me a chance to meet some of Carole’s close friends.  One we will never forget was an Air Force wife named Ruth.  Ruth was going to join us on a shopping trip to Fort Riley.  We also planned on picking up some booze at the Class VI store.

At that time many of the Class VI stores were run by either the Officers Club or the NCO Club.  The Fort Riley Class VI store was operated by the O-Club.  Ruth kept insisting that she believed you had to be a member of the O-Club to buy liquor at the Class VI.  Each time Ruth mentioned that, I would tell her that they were not going to keep an officer, in transit (between assignment), returning from Vietnam from purchasing liquor.  She felt very uncomfortable about going to the Class VI.  This was a big Class VI where everyone used a shopping cart.  I told her that when it was time to check out, she could get right behind me and just do what I did.

When we were done shopping, we headed for the check out line.  It was a long counter with three cash registers spaced along the counter.  Only the last register was in operation, so we stood in line waiting our turn (Ruth close behind me).  Ruth was extremely nervous.  I was the next customer.  Just then a man came out of the office and went to the second cash register right in front of Ruth.  He looked at her and said, “Will it be cash or charge?”  Ruth immediately responded, “I’m not a member.”  I was so startled that it took me a minute to respond.  I said, “Cash” to an obviously confused clerk, who then, checked her out.

As soon as we got outside, I looked a Ruth and said, “I’m not a member?”  Ruth smiled and said, “Well, I’m not.”  You can see why we will never forget Ruth, nor the many other experiences at Schilling Manor.


Slug Lines – “Slugging” It In and Out of DC

In the Greater DC area, thousands of people use slug lines daily to get to work.  In order for a driver to use the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes, he or she has to have at least three people in the vehicle.  If you have less that three, you find yourself a Slug or two waiting at the slug line.  It’s a
win-win situation.  Slugs get a free ride into (and out of) the city, and the driver escapes the snail lanes on I 395 and is permitted to zip along in the HOV lanes.

I live in Springfield, Virginia and have been picking up Slugs for years.  I don’t know where the name came from.  I always associated it with putting slugs in a juke box or a vending machine to make it work.  Slugs were the same size as coins.

No government agency or official administers the slug lines.  We are convinced that if the government got involved, the system would fail (they would also change the name to something more official sounding).  In Springfield, we used to pick up Slugs in the Long John Silver parking lot.  LJS closed their store, and put up an eight-foot chain-link fence to keep out the slug line (liability concerns?).  The next day the slug line had reassembled next door in the Circuit City parking lot. 

The Slugs form two lines, one for drivers going over the 14th Street Bridge and one going over the Memorial Bridge.  You drive up to the front of the queue and say something like “two for 14th and K.”  The message is passed down the line and two Slugs get into your car.  There is also extensive slug-line etiquette, but you will be pleased to know that I don’t intend to address it.  If there are more drivers than Slugs (it is a fluid process), then the drivers get out of their vehicles, form a queue, and wait for the Slug to appear.

We picked up a young woman who had been in the United States for only three months.  She told us that the slug line saved her a lot of money, but she wasn’t about to tell her parents in South Africa.  She said, “If I told my parents that I traveled to work by climbing into cars with people I do not know, they would demand that I come home.”

At the end of the workday the slug lines form in the District.  One of the more popular locations for Springfield is 14th and Constitution.  A few years back, a new Chief of Police arrived in DC and decided that picking up Slugs on 14th Street was delaying traffic (it probably was).  So he dispatched some of DC’s finest to disband the slug line.  The police waived cars on and disbanded the line.  That lasted for two days.  Tom Davis and other Northern Virginia Congressman threatened to hold hearings on the Hill to determine why the Chief was mistreating Slugs.  The Chief then acknowledged that there was justification for having a slug line, but he intended to find a better location.  I guess he is still looking, because we are still at 14th and Constitution.

We were coming home one night and there were just the two of us.  Terry worked with me and she would hitch a ride some evenings.  When we arrived at 14th and Constitution, there were no Slugs.  It is three lanes in each direction and so I put on my flashers and waited.  We then saw a woman working her way across 14th Street, obviously heading for the slug line.  Traffic was creeping and she crossed in front of a car that didn’t see her.  There was a screech of brakes and the woman jumped clear.  As she got into the car she said, “I thought he saw me.”  Then Terry said, “That was close, and if he had hit you, no telling how long we would have had to wait.”

How Much Does a Light Bulb Cost the Army?

I  spent  most of my formative years in the Army.  I was a JAG Officer for about 28 years.  When I mention JAG, peoples’ eyes light up and I know they have seen the JAG TV program.  So, I have to explain to them that I never flew a jet, captured terrorists, nor disarmed a nuclear weapon.  And, if the TV show had followed the highlights of my career, it would have been cancelled after the second week.

I had two tours in Germany and my second tour was in Frankfurt.  My family was with me and we were assigned to military family quarters outside of Frankfurt in the little town of Bad Vibel.  Little US conclaves like ours were quite common throughout Germany.  All of the family quarters in Germany had a lot in common.  For example, every light had the same type of globe covering it.  I can still see them and I am sure you can too.  The globe screwed into the fixture.  When a light burned out, it took me 30 minutes to unscrew the globe.  Paint had run down into the threads and I had to scrape the paint out with a knife.  It took a lot of pressure to unscrew the globe.  The second time it happened, I went through the same drill.  I scraped and then wrapped the globe in a dish towel.  As I applied pressure, I heard the globe cracking.

Time to call housing maintenance.  I don’t do cracked globes.  I had visions of three hours in an emergency room, a large portion of which I would be spending explaining how it happened.  One call later and a German maintenance man showed up with a brown paper sack and a hammer.  He put the sack over the globe and smashed it with the hammer.  A new light and a new globe and we were back in business.

The next time a light burned out, I went through the same drill.  It probably only lasted 20 minutes this time.  I didn’t feel the need to hear glass cracking to call for help.  This time, a different German maintenance man, but it looked like the same sack and hammer.  I couldn’t believe it.  Every time a light burned out in family quarters, it cost Uncle Sam a new light and a new globe!

As a general rule, it is not good to be the hero of something you are writing, but I broke the rule here.  I concluded that each time the family quarters were painted (about every three to four years), all the globes were sealed.  If the painting contract required the painters to remove the globes before they painted, the globes would not be sealed by the fresh paint.

At that time the Army had what was called the Suggestion Awards Program where they would actually pay a soldier money for coming up with a suggestion that would save the Army money.  I figured out the number of family quarters in Germany and multiplied it by the number of globes in each unit and then multiplied that figure by the number of German maintenance men walking around with brown paper sacks and hammers.  I multiplied that by the cost of a globe and determined that we could save enough money to put another brigade in Europe.

The moral of this story is that you will never get rich submitting suggestions to the Army.  My suggestion was approved and I received a check for $83.72.  Why such a strange amount?  Because the Army withheld taxes from my hundred dollar prize.  The only thing I regret is not framing the check.


You’ll notice that I entitled this catogory “poems,” and not poetry.  This may be subtle, but I don’t think of myself as a poet.  A poet is “a creative artist of great imagination and expressive gifts and special sensitivity to his medium.”  I’m not sure I know what that means, but it ain’t me.  I make things rhyme.  I probably do better than country music, but that’s not saying much (I love country music and really don’t care when it doesn’t rhyme).  So let’s just call these things poems and be done with it.

Marty Beirne is the founding partner of Beirne, Maynard & Parsons in Houston, Texas.  This is a litigation firm that has been extremely successful under Marty’s leadership.

Well, a few years back (more that two and less than 15), Marty’s family decided to celebrate his 50th birthday with a Texas style party at Rio Ranch.  My wife and I were unable to attend, so I wrote the following poem for my dear friend.

                                                  ODE TO AN AGING BARRISTER

Happy be the man who has a friend, Marty,
A man much too wise to be only forty.
A man quite intense, who pushes to the limit,
A man who love life, cramming every last minute.

A half century’s gone, a substantial term,
But he’s witty and prosperous and has his own firm.
He’s loved by his friends and respected by his foes,
He flies like an eagle, and dumps on the crows.

But fifty is a milestone,
be hail and be hearty.
Let’s go to Rio Ranch,
for a Texas style party.

We’ll lift one for the guy,
for he’s a special friend,
who electrifies the air,
and hangs in there to the end.

Bespectacled and hair thinning,
but still oh, he’s so nifty.
I’m sorry I missed the party,
Let’s do it again in fifty!

BOO! I saw you smile!