With dream comfort memory to spare,
And in my mind
I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there.
Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes"--Neil Young
Today I worked remarkably productively, after yesterday seemed more of an "admin" day catching up on things. I got several things done, but have more to do. I took a lunch break to the wonderful place called Tortillerias Mexico or some such, a few blocks away in the mini-mall filled with the liberia cristiana paraiso, some pentecostal storefront churches still in business, some storefront pentecostal churches recently departed, and a dance studio offering waltz lessons for quincenaras. I had a wonderful plate of soft tacos, which really hit the spot. Then I went and got mailing tape at the dollar store, because I owe a friend up north a mailing,and then my car ran out of gas right by the branch library, but not to worry because a station was a block away. I walked and bought a plastic gas can, and got gas, and drove to my office.
I had to leave the office near six, because I had to go to the Belo Mansion in Dallas, where they have the bar association functions. The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program had invited me to their 21st annual get together. But I'd forgotten, at lunch, to gas up the car even after I ran out. I'm kinda that way about gasoline--I'm so eager to get to the next place, I forget. I ran out of gas on the way to the Belo, but fortunately, I happened to have new gas can in my car, and I gassed up, and made it okay.
When I arrived, the Belo, a home somebody donated downtown as a lawyer county bar hangout, had a new convention-room annex, which is really nicely done. A band called the Catdaddies donated their time to play "Come on Baby Light my Fire" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". They looked like lawyers, which I hope will not seem an insult if they are not. Judge Hartmann's photo exhibit was in the lobby--great photos of Monument Valley and California and all sortsa western places.
I only knew two or three people there among hundreds, most of them slightly, so I found a nice wall to flower upon. The room was filled with lawyers from large law firms, who work harder than I do for paying clients, donate lots of money to help the indigent and volunteer tons more time than I do to the cause. I thought to myself how I sometimes look down on large firms as being too profit-driven, and then they do more than I do to help when it really matters.
A sportscaster who volunteers his time to a childrens' project emceed the awards. He was really smooth. They began announcing the awards, and some of the things people had done to help were really cool. They had told me that I would get a recognition before I got there, and I began to worry, because my contribution is so slight, and I did not really feel at all entitled to any mention compared to so many who do so much.
But then they announced that seven or so of us were getting something called a Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award, which was a medal on a red white and blue thick necklacey thing, like an Olympian or a hospital worker might wear, and it was so cool because it was eleganza and yet a modest award, like my contribution, and we all crowded in for our picture, we celebrants, and I slipped back to my wall, and slipped my medal from my neck back to my coat pocket. It was just like winning one of those little star medals (bronze?) that matters a little, but is not a congressional medal of honor, so it was something I could be grateful for, without it being too big a deal. Better yet, my old friend Sara was the legal aid staffer who gave it to me, and we hadn't seen each other in 15 years, and I hugged her and said "It's been a LONG time!", and that was nice. But I did slip the medal back around my neck when I got into the car, and I showed it off to my wife, who is going to frame it in a shadow box, and I confess freely to this journal an immoderate pride in getting it. It's vanity, useless vanity, and probably should not be even mentioned in this journal, but I somehow always dreamed of living in Mayberry and contributing to my community and if I ended up in Arlen, eating kebabs at the Belo, then I'm nonetheless content. Note to self: do more work to help out so as to actually deserve a recognition.
I talked to my friend Sara and her husband Chris, who's also a lawyer, and I wished I had not let our friendship fade a bit, as I could have been a better friend, not that we were very close, but you know sometimes you know people and you know "hey, these are great people", but then you fade away, dissolving into woodwork of failure to keep in touch, and yet it was great to see them again. This nice woman asked me if I noticed the one child in the room, a toddler sitting in someone's lap, and I said "yes, she's been so good", and she had. Then the nice woman asked me to dance to the Catdaddies' rendition of "Johnny B. Good" and I'll tell you a secret--I really only like Johnny Winter's version, and she told me that she rarely dances at all, but we danced for what we were worth, which in my case was not worth much, and I did not duck walk, but I did do the thing where one pigeon toes one's shoes across the floor, and we danced, non-romantically, pointing at the toddler, now dancing, and when the dance was over she said "thank you" and "that made my night" and I said goodbye to Chris and Sara and went down to my car, which had a vague smell of gasoline.
I remembered on the way home to stop for gas, at least I did when my car began to cough for its third time (my poor car must feel like an early saint, given the trauma to which I expose it in the name of faith). I watched ER, which I had expected from the previews to destroy me, but instead it moved me, and I was thankful for living in relative peace, and sorry so many people don't. I read a friend's "ask me anything" meme, and I realized I really have tons of questions for a solid good number of my LJ friends, but practically, I guess that only meeting people would work for that, and then I wished I could tour coffee shops across the world, drinking lemonade and Italian ices and asking anything, but what would I ask, really? Perhaps all one can really say is "be well, and be my friend", and perhaps that's enough.