Monday began with checking e-mail and returning phone calls. After that I took a last minute walk around the grounds of the hotel to say goodbye to St. Thomas, enjoy the wonderful breezes and the beautiful views. That was followed by a breakfast with Hope, Barbara and Utaam. It was a lovely breakfast. I ordered a shrimp and avocado omelet with a little side dish of fruit. Afterwards, I had time to sit directly in front of the water and to reflect on the trip. I wanted to send greetings to folks after returning to Fayetteville and I jottedleaving down the details of my conversations so that I could personalize my notes. Erin and Steve Moore, who I’ve mentioned before, were snorkeling right off the beach and Steve had seen a manta ray, a barracuda and a lemon shark. The three of us talked about how wonderful ABA events are in terms of developing friendships and how much those friendships mean over the years. It was one of those great quiet, peaceful moments with good friends.

We realized it was getting close to time to depart, so we walked back to the Begonia building, and Steve arranged for the bellman to come and get us at noon. Our van to the airport left at 12:15 p.m. We checked out, then hopped in the van and got to the airport where it was time to hurry up and wait. In St. Thomas, you are directed to get to the airport no later than 2 hours before your flight and once you do and get through security, you wait. Steve and I ended up sitting next to each other on the plane again to Miami which is a 2 hours and 10-15 minutes flight. I hadn’t realized that St. Thomas was so far South.

When we landed in Miami, I had a quick connection to make so I ran to catch my flight to Dallas, but it turned out it was delayed. I made some phone calls and did a little bit more catching up and by then we took off for a 2½ hour flight to Dallas. It was uneventful except for turbulence. There was a storm in Miami and we caught a little bit of that on the way out. In fact, the pilot had to change routes to avoid the worst of the storm which delayed our flight arrival so that once we landed in Dallas I had to run again to the XNA flight which was also delayed. There were several service men and women on that flight. I always feel worried about them and say a little prayer for their safety every time I see them. When the flight attendants came through I offered to buy them some drinks (they were having beer and wine), but they were given complimentary drinks. It’s been frustrating to me watching our service men and women go off to the various places to be on the battle front when there’s nothing I can do about it. So, to counter that frustration I’ve adopted a policy that if I’m in an airport restaurant and I see a service person dining, I will ask my server to go over and pick up their tab which I then anonymously pay. I ask my server to tell their server that someone in the restaurant just wants to say thanks for their service. It’s a little thing, but it just makes me feel better and it lets them know that there are many of us who care about them. Anyway, I digress.

So, I was on the plane with the returning servicemen and women returning and we arrived pretty late. I drove from the airport to the law school, checked the mail, signed some correspondence that needed my signature, checked e-mail, and picked up my next travel itinerary so wonderfully prepared by my assistant, Terri Yeakley, without whom I don’t know what I’d do. There are many times that I’m so busy that I really, truly do not know where I’m going. I don’t mean in terms of the city, but I mean the hotel and my agenda. I just count on Terri to get me where I need to be. I open up the folder she has prepared and there it is, such and such hotel, this and that meeting on these days, call this person, it’s wonderful. So, thanks very much, Terri! I could not do what I do without your very capable and professional assistance.

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