Archives for the month of: June, 2008
Dr. Henderson

Dr. Henderson

Today I began with a visit to Dr. Henderson who gave me my permanent crown. For those of you who have been following the blog, you know there have been a number of dental visits this year and this was the last one for a while (we hope). One of the unfortunate things was that as he was putting the temporary crown on he saw that the tooth next to it had a spot of decay, so I had to get a new filling upon receiving my crown. Hopefully that’s the last visit to Dr. Henderson for a while.For the bloggies who have been following this, I finally got him to consent to letting me take his picture so there he is. Dr. Henderson has been doing all this great dental work and enables me to have such a fun smile.

That afternoon for lunch, one of our alums and one of the earliest students I taught stopped by, Stacey Sturner. It was great to be able to catch up with her. Many of you may know she was the campaign manager for Courtney Henry who ran successfully for a seat on the Arkansas Court of Appeals. She shared with me what that experience was like and some of the funny stories and people they encountered during Courtney’s campaign. We had lunch at Taste of Thai off the square in downtown Fayetteville and I have to say I was pretty predictable because I went with the typical Pad See Eu meal and Stacey had a curry.

After lunch she dropped me off, and later that afternoon Angela Hyde, one of our recent graduates, came in to share with me her ideas for fundraising for the Innocence Project. That was an interesting meeting and it was also good to learn more about the work of the Innocence Project and where the co-directors think it will be going in the future. For those of you who aren’t aware, please visit the website.

Patsy Brewer

That evening after work, there was a reception honoring Patsy Brewer in the Mockingbird Room at the Fayetteville Town Center. Patsy Brewer has been for many, many years the Director of the Fayetteville Habitat for Humanity Program. It was fun to be able to go to that reception and say thanks to Patsy. Some of you who follow the blog may know that, in fact, the law school is engaged in a Wills Project with Habitat for Humanity in which students working under the supervision of Prof. Carl Circo draft wills for the Habitat homeowners. We’re very proud of that program.

June 14th -15th

The weekend after the Arkansas Bar Association Annual Meeting was a quiet one. I spent some time with mom on Saturday evening and had breakfast with the breakfast bunch after church.

June 16th

The 16th began as usual on a Monday with Pilates with Claudia at Studio Pilates. The day was a catch up day on correspondence, phone calls and e-mails that had piled up while being at the bar meeting. I also had some informal visits around the plants for the completion of the courtyard, our upcoming events, and looking at sprucing up rooms 325 and 327. We discussed what that might entail and tried to determine whether the contractors would be able to finish that work before school starts.

After work, it was time for a polite evening with my good friend and cruise companion Carol Gattis at the Lambeth Lounge at Carnall Hall. However, it turns out that our visit turned into a really delightful evening. While we were there visiting and making our last minute plans for the Fabulous at 50 cruise, we were joined by Prof. Mike Mullane who sat down to visit with us to hear about our past adventures as well as those we had planned. He then called Prof. D’Lorah Hughes who came and joined us as well. That was a fun time! It was very informal and very relaxing to visit with them. As it turns out, Richard Alexander was there that evening. He’s one of our alums and a very well-known real estate developer in Northwest Arkansas and when he left, he put our drinks on his tab. Thanks, Richard!

Afterwards, Prof. Mullane left us and the three of us – D’Lorah, myself and Carol – walked down to Dickson Street and had sushi at Wow. Although Carol doesn’t really like sushi, she had some tempura. It was a fun dinner and it was a chance to get to know D’Lorah a little bit better and also to congratulate her on her recently purchased home. In fact, she had just decided on it that day, so we celebrated that joyous event with her that evening. What had started out as an evening with just the two of us ended up being much more and much more enjoyable for the additional company.

Friday began nice and early at 8:30 a.m. There was a panel on the Arkansas Supreme Court Historical Society. Justice Brown and Nick Patton were panelists on that program, as well as Prof. L. Scott Stafford of UALR Bowen School of Law. It was a very interesting program. Nick Patton spoke about the life and work of Dean Leflar, so I was very glad that I was able to attend that panel.

From 8:30-10:30 a.m. there was a concurrent panel on pro bono service, so once the historical panel was over at 9:30 a.m., I scooted up to the pro bono program put on by Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber and Dean Chuck Goldner. I want to tell you all about that a little bit because it was really interesting. One of the things we learned is the extensive work that Legal Services has done on its webpage to enable attorneys to be able to easily and efficiently perform pro bono service. If you sign up as a volunteer attorney with Legal Services, you will be given a password. Using that password, you can log in to the website and see what kind of cases are there that need attorneys. The program also has every type of form, paperwork, pleading, and draft letter you might need. It walks you through all the information you need to ask of the client and then plugs that information into the forms for you. It was such an exciting thing to see because there is so much information available. And lawyers who are experienced in the particular substantive areas (i.e., domestic practice, landlord/tenant) have walked through all the forms to make sure that they are accurate and that they provide the most assistance as possible to someone like me who might be coming to a matter without much experience in that area. I was so impressed by that work and their Webmaster is such an amazing young man who is a graduate of the Bowen Law School and is doing that work full-time. I hope to one day be able to volunteer in that way and give my services. Of course, now you know that would mean passing the bar, but at this point that doesn’t seem like a deterrent. That seems like a wonderful way to spend the years post law teaching, giving back to the community in a much-needed capacity. That was a wonderful program and it’s always good to see Dean Goldner and Justice Imber.

From 12:30-1:30 p.m. we had our Law Alumni Society Board meeting and that was a wonderful meeting as well. For lunch, we had very good club sandwiches on croissants with potato salad and cole slaw and potato chips as an option and iced tea. The 2007-08 Law Alumni Society Board of Directors are Kala Rogers Dean (Chair), William C. Adair, Jr., Earnest E. Brown, Jr., Gregory B. Graham, Don M.

Schnipper, Kathy W. Searcy, Deborah Gilbreth Segers, James A. Simpson, James William Smith, John F. Stroud, Jr., Dan C. Young, and D. Malcolm McNair, Jr. Angela Monts from the University of Arkansas Alumni Association attended as well to give our board members an overview of how the Alumni Societies are being restructured. We shared with them about how we will be restructuring the board, the new committees we will be establishing and what we envision that those committees might help us with in terms of developing our alumni program. We proposed adding four committees to our Awards and Memberships committees that board members and other engaged alumni can serve on: Scholarship, Events, Mentoring/Recruiting, and Board Development. The Scholarship committee would identify areas in which our students have needs, especially financial needs, and attempt to meet those needs through the creation of scholarship programs. This would include identifying and cultivating potential donors. The Events Committee would help envision and plan events that would bring law school alumni together throughout our state and across the nation. The Recruiting/Mentoring Committee would help identify students who would make outstanding law students, organize alumni efforts to recruit these students to the law school, and ensure that these students are mentored and supported from Orientation through Commencement. And, finally, the Board Development Committee would decide when and where the board meets. In addition, the Committee would identify alumni leaders who would make excellent new board members and help develop a program for training new members. It was a great meeting.

After the meeting with the Alumni Society, I went to a program entitled “You Gonna Order Me to Mediate?” which was a panel with a number of judges and lawyers, both defense and plaintiff’s lawyers, sharing their experiences with the audience regarding mediation. The judges talked about when they thought mediation was appropriate and when or whether they would actually order mediation or merely suggest it. That was a lively discussion as you might imagine, given the variety or viewpoints on that issue.

That afternoon was our reception sponsored by the U of A Law School, the UALR Bowen School of Law, and the Arkansas Bar Association and it was held in the lobby of the Arlington. It is a wonderful event.It was a well-attended reception and it was great to see a lot of our alums there. Again, it’s a wonderful opportunity. It was bittersweet because of course it was the last time to co-host with Dean Goldner, but Acting Dean DiPippa was there and it was fun to host with him this year as well. The PLUS program students from the Bowen School of Law were there as well. These are young people who are undergraduates interested in attending law school and who come from very diverse backgrounds. It was fun to chat and visit with them.

After the reception and seeing and meeting and greeting our alums as well as many members of the bar, it was time to head over to the President’s Dinner, which I was delighted to be able to attend at the invitation of outgoing President of the Arkansas Bar Association, Rick Ramsay. The dinner was held in the Mountain Valley Water building, which is a beautiful old building that has been restored. The appetizer was colossal shrimp cocktail with wasabi cocktail sauce, followed by a main course of pecan and goats cheese crusted beef fillet on pesto mashed potatoes with Cabernet sauce and baby vegetables. And for dessert there was vanilla bean crème brulee, bittersweet chocolate orange cake, and coconut tuille cookie with grand marnier soaked strawberries.

At the President’s dinner, outgoing President Ramsay recognized many of the officers of the bar, including incoming President Rosalind Mouser as well as President-Elect Donna Pettus. It was a delightful dinner and a wonderful way to end the day. Afterwards, there was a little bit of dancing back at the Arlington Hotel featuring Donna Massey & The Blue Eyed Soul. It was then time to get some rest to head back to Fayetteville.

That Thursday was a busy one at the bar meeting. It began with a 7:30 a.m. meeting with the Law School Committee. The members of the Committee are Richard L. Ramsay (Chair), Anthony W. Black, C. Tad Bohannon, Thomas M. Carpenter, F. Thomas Curry, James D. Cypert, Robert J. Gladwin, C. David Glass, James F. Goodhart, James H. Gunter, Jr., Georgia Elrod Harris, Gwendolyn D. Hodge, Denise R. Hoggard, J. Leon

Johnson, Gregory T. Jones, Jamie Huffman Jones, Louis B. Jones, Jr., John G. Lile, III, William A. Martin, Jeffrey E. McKinley, Jerald “Cliff” McKinney, II, Brian S. Miller, Bobby Lee Odom, Donna C. Pettus, W. Marshall Prettyman, Jr., Charles B. Roscopf, Matthew J. Shepherd, John F. Stroud, Jr., A. Glenn Vasser, Kent R. Walker, David J. Whitaker, and Ralph E. Wilson, Jr.

The meeting with the Law School Committee at the Arkansas Bar Association is always a good opportunity to share with them what’s going on at the law school, upcoming events, and to receive their feedback. There are some new members on the Committee this year. The members who were able to attend that morning were Matt Shepherd, Scotty Shively, Rick Ramsay, Marshall Prettyman, Bill Martin, Denise Hoggard, Justice Gunter, David Whitaker and Cliff McKinney. I was able to talk with them about the upcoming law school events – the recognition of our 50+ year alum; the law school dedication; the “meet the lawyers” program because some of them weren’t a part of the Committee this Spring or weren’t able to attend the meeting; the fact that we hope to have a judges reception and a scholarship dinner in the Spring; the fact that we will be honoring Professor Guzman upon his retirement from the law school with an event this Fall; as well as the joint CLE and tailgate party with the Mississippi School of Law around the Ole Miss game. They were excited to hear about all the new programs and we’re looking forward to hosting them again this spring during their visit to the law school.

From 9:45-10:15 that morning, Governor Beebe gave a speech in the Crystal Ballroom. It was an excellent speech and of course the room was packed as you might expect. I have to take this opportunity once again to point out that Governor Beebe is an alum of the University of Arkansas School of Law. I had to leave from that quickly to get back to my hotel room because I had a conference call with members of the University community from 11:00 a.m. -12:00 noon. After that, I headed back over to the Arlington Hotel. From 2:30-4:00 p.m. there was a panel on the “Guantanamo, the Supreme Court, and Rule of Law.” Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to sit through that completely because, from 3:30-4:30 p.m., we had a meeting of the Board of the Arkansas Law Review. Thanks very much to the members of the Law Review Board who attended, including Kent Rubens, Niki Cung, Mary Beth Matthews, Scott Dodson, Lonnie Beard, Carl Circo and our two students, Lindsey Pesek and Phil Brick. It had been a long day and that evening I was supposed to go dancing, but instead I went back to the room and had a quiet dinner with room service and relaxed for Friday.

Today I departed for the Arkansas Bar Association Annual Meeting. It is one of my favorite activities in the whole year. I always look forward to the bar meeting because I see new and old members of the bar and mingle with our alums and their families. Even those from Northwest Arkansas who I don’t get to see during the year are often at the bar meeting and that’s a great pleasure to connect with them again. I left for the bar meeting early that morning because I wanted to stop in Little Rock to have lunch with Angie Foster. But as it turns out, she forgot our lunch and she went to Mount Petit Jean with her dad that day. So, we’ll just reconnect another day.

I got back on the road and headed from Little Rock to Hot Springs, arriving mid-afternoon. I did a little bit of walking up and down Central Avenue before checking into the Embassy Suites Hotel. The Embassy Suites is an overflow hotel, but the good thing about it is you have internet access in the hotel rooms and also it’s a little bit quieter because it’s away from the hubbub of the bar meeting, which is held at the Arlington Hotel.

That evening was the President’s Reception and the Bar Foundation Dinner. Very quickly after checking in, I had to rush and get ready for that. The reception and dinner is a black tie event and for many years now, I’ve attended the event with my very close friend, Kitty Gay, and she has invited me as her guest. It is always a wonderful event because it is an event at which the Bar Association awards are given out. The Arkansas Bar Association and Arkansas Bar Foundation presented the following awards at the meeting:
– Ron D. Harrison of Ledbetter, Cogbill, Arnold & Harrison, LLP in Fort Smith – Outstanding Lawyer
– Judge David M. “Mac” Glover, Arkansas Court of Appeals – Outstanding Lawyer-Citizen
– Robert M. Cearley, Jr. of the Cearley Law Firm in Little Rock – C.E. Ransick Award
– David Solomon of Helena – James H. McKenzie Professionalism Award
– J. Mark Davis of Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP in Little Rock – Outstanding Lawyer-Humanitarian
– Danyelle J. Walker of the Walker Law Firm in Little Rock – Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award
– Jim L. Julian of Chisenhall, Nestrud & Julian in Little Rock – Charles L. Carpenter Memorial Award
– Mary Beth Matthews, Professor of Law, University of Arkansas School of Law – Maurice Cathey Award
– Michelle H. Cauley of Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, PLLC in Little Rock – Frank C. Elcan Award and Legal Writing award
– Richard F. Hatfield of Hatfield & Lassiter in Little Rock – Continuing Legal Education Award
– Judge Wiley Branton, ç, Sixth Judicial District – General Writing award
– Gwendolyn Rucker, Staff Attorney, Arkansas Supreme Court Office of Professional Conduct – Golden Gavel Award
– William C. Mann, Chief Deputy City Attorney, Little Rock – Golden Gavel Award
– John Vines of Wood, Smith, Schnipper, Clay & Vines in Hot Springs – Golden Gavel Award
– Jeffrey Ellis McKinley of DeWitt – Golden Gavel Award

A special treat that evening was the fact that Ron Harrison was being recognized as the Arkansas Bar Association Outstanding Lawyer for 2008. Among those who nominated him were Price Marshall and myself and it was an honor to do so. I was able to catch a shuttle from the hotel over to the reception, which lasted for a couple of hours. It was great to see so many alums and friends of the school of law and personal friends as well.

After the reception, we all headed into the ballroom for the dinner at which the awards were given. I was very honored to sit at the table with Ron Harrison, his son Brandon Harrison (also our alum), his wife Rebecca, his mom, and Kitty. All of us sat at that table together. The dinner was a petite filet with a twice-baked potato and asparagus and chocolate cake.

After the dinner, there was a little bit of dancing. I got to sit with Judge Hendren and his wife Janet. We danced a little bit to a little trio and then that day was Judge Hendren’s birthday, so he invited us up for a little birthday cake and to celebrate with him. I wanted to mention here for the bloggies out there (I’ve said this over and over again) how really important the friendships are that you build around professional associations. One of the neatest things that happened that evening was the opportunity to sit with Judge Hendren and talk about really complex legal and moral issues open and candidly. Even though we sometimes disagreed, it’s important to be able to have those conversations. I really appreciate the fact that we have that kind of friendship and the fact that we’re able to have those deep and honest conversations. Though I enjoyed the birthday cake, I also appreciate the friendship and the conversation. It was a really good way to close the evening, sharing it with Kitty and Judge Hendren and Janet. Afterwards, it was time to call for the Embassy Suites shuttle and head back to the hotel.

I forgot to mention that when I returned from St. Thomas, I had a wonderful surprise that had come in the mail from Guy who I’ve blogged about earlier from the ALI meeting. It was a terrific box of very fancy and very delicious chocolates, which I shared around the office.

The day of the 10th was spent in a series of meetings including one with Monika Szakasits from the library who was preparing for the arrival of Randy Thompson, our new Director of the Library. I also had a meeting with Teri Stafford about development issues and preparing to leave to attend the Arkansas Bar Association Annual Meeting.

Monday morning and back to Pilates after three weeks and it was hard! Hard, but good. It was very rewarding to be back in training with Claudia. She had some new exercises for me and they were challenging, so I knew that I was back! After that, I went in to the office to catch up on e-mail. One thing about visiting the Aunties is my e-mail access is very limited, so there were many e-mail messages to sort through upon returning to the office, as well as the usual stack of correspondence.

I met with Professor Goforth about her plans for the upcoming year and she is working on some very interesting scholarship on corporate structure and the need to revisit the Model Business Corporation Act.

Also, I made preparations for the Arkansas Bar Association Annual Meeting with Terri to make sure that I scheduled the various events at which our faculty members would be participating and speaking, as well as making sure that I didn’t miss any events honoring our alums. Terri keeps me organized and worked with me to schedule the various meetings which I needed to attend, including the Arkansas Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee, the Arkansas Law School Committee Meeting, Law Alumni Society Board Meeting, and of course the law schools reception held on Friday evening which we co-host with UALR. It was such a busy day that lunch consisted of a banana and blueberries at my desk in between various quick brief meetings and catching up.

We are still working to spruce up the building for the dedication. We also want to see the courtyard through to completion and there are still a number of tasks that have to be completed around that. The website, as you may have noticed, is under development and there were conversations around that as well as annual reports that needed to be completed. So, it was a pretty busy day. Mostly catching up. It was quite a rainy day in Fayetteville so it was a good day to hunker down and get a lot accomplished.

Sunday started by attending church with Aunt Linda at Metropolitan Community Church on the South side of Chicago. I’ve gone with her to church before. The pastor is Rev. Perry and typically services are a joyous and vibrant celebration of faith. It started that morning with wonderful singing and praising. Then there was a fiery sermon that reminded us about the personal hells that we create and that with prayer, worship, and trust we can work our way out of those situations.

After the service and greeting Pastor Perry and the deacons, it was time for us to go back to Great Aunt Roberta’s house where we would wait for my Great Uncle Wendell and my other Great Aunt Dorothy. The reason they were coming to town, and it’s just coincidence that I was there as well, is that my other Great Uncle Archibald who lived in Southern Illinois passed away the previous Thursday. Aunt Roberta is 93 and Uncle Wendell (her brother) are the last two remaining of that generation, so I was truly happy to be there though I didn’t know all that would come to pass at the time I booked my flight.

Once we changed into our casual clothes, we drove over to Midway Airport (American doesn’t land there anymore so I never get to use that airport) which is closest to my family on the South side of Chicago. Anyway, we drove over to Midway, but before we could get there a torrential rain started. The weather in Chicago over the weekend had been terrible. There were several tornadoes that touched down, pretty serious thunder storms, 29,000 people without power; it was pretty bad. Fortunately, no one was killed in all of that and we weren’t affected seriously either by the storms or the power outage. Heading to Midway Airport in the latest wave of the storms inundating Chicago, we got to the airport and found out that Uncle Wendell and Aunt Dorothy had been diverted to Detroit. So, not knowing whether they would be there sooner or later, we sat tight. We finally got a phone call saying that they would not get in for another couple of hours, so we went back to the house where we had a wonderfully prepared dinner. For the foodies out there, this is one of those rare home cooked meals prepared with love by your Auntie. My Great Aunt Roberta had prepared cornbread, green beans, sweet potatoes, potato salad, mixed vegetables, corn on the cob, and meatloaf. Yum!

After we finished our meal we went back to the airport and fortunately they had landed. It’s kind of a mess, if you don’t know Midway Airport, there’s really no place to wait. I guess all the airports are like that now where a number of traffic personnel yell at you and shoo you away. The plan was that I would go in and find them while Aunt Linda circled the airport, so that is what we did. I was able to find them and get their luggage all loaded up on one of the carts and went to stand by the curb while they sat and waited. Then I signaled to them when she arrived and I had finished loading their luggage. Unfortunately, because of the weather delay I didn’t have very long to spend with them. Once we got back to the house we had to take Aunt Dorothy to pick up a couple of items from the store. Then I said goodbye to the Aunties and Uncle Wendell and wished them a safe trip down to Southern Illinois for the funeral and headed out to O’Hare for my flight.

Now given the weather and everything that I’ve mentioned before about the flight, my odds were not very good. My flight was an 8:05 p.m. direct flight from O’Hare and before we left for the airport I called several times and was told, “Yes, your flight is on time.” When I finally made it to Gate G14A, it turned out that the flight was delayed until 9:05 p.m. At 9:00 p.m. we were still sitting in the waiting area. But, three cool things happened. The first is that I decided to go and have a coke and while I was there, I saw two servicemen and they hadn’t yet ordered their meal. And, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, my habit is to anonymously pick up their tab and to have the server tell them that their service to the country is very much appreciated. Fortunately for me, these guys weren’t very hungry or thirsty, but regardless it’s just a pleasure to be able to do that.

Second, I found out that Garrett’s Popcorn is opening a stand in the airport. Now for those of you who don’t know Garrett’s Popcorn, it is a Chicago institution. Once you try it, if you’re a popcorn lover, you are hooked. The best and the most famous amongst Garrett afficionados is the half caramel corn, half cheese corn mix. The cheese corn is a velvety rich, buttery, cheesy corn that sticks to your fingers and the caramel corn is not too sweet. It’s more of a buttery, yummy, sticky but crunchy popcorn. Mixed together they’re the bomb. Anyway, it was exciting to see that Garrett’s is opening a stand in the airport. So now because I know that, on the way to the Fabulous at Fifty cruise, I will have to introduce the girls to Garrett’s Popcorn.

The third cool thing is that while I was waiting for my flight, I saw this tall distinguished looking gentleman running down the hallway and it turned out to be Arthur Bonfield. He is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, but most important to me he was my Constitutional Law teacher and one of the people who really pushed me to grow intellectually and encouraged me to go into law teaching. I hadn’t seen him since graduation because every time I’ve been back to Iowa City he wasn’t there, so I was able to give him a big hug and visit with him. It was just one of those “right place, right time” situations. So, those are my three cool things that happened at the airport.

Once I found out the flight was going to be delayed (in fact the agent told me when I found out about the delay that it may not go at all), I called Aunt Linda to tell her about it and told her that should I need to stay overnight, I wouldn’t have her come back out to get me. Instead, I would just go get a hotel room because they had to get up early to drive to Southern Illinois for Uncle Archibald’s funeral. Then I waited to see if I got on this flight . . .

As I mentioned, the original Northwest Arkansas flight was delayed from 8:05 p.m. Then it was posted to leave at 9:45 p.m. and still hadn’t left by then. It turned out there was another flight, a 9:30 p.m. regularly scheduled Northwest Arkansas flight, that was also delayed. Here was the issue. The flight that I was originally on had a plane and no crew and the 9:30 p.m. flight had a crew and no plane. They got a plane first and so those of us who were on the 8:05 p.m. flight all switched over to the later flight, but that meant a long run from gate G14A to gate H3A. This was a pretty vigorous sprint, let me tell you, and I kept losing my shoe (but at least I didn’t fall). I got to the plane and was informed that our luggage would not be transferred over, so I had to figure out how to get my luggage back before the bar meeting because it contained my toiletry bag. Just another crazy travel day.

Saturday I headed to the airport for a 7:20 a.m. flight. Unfortunately for me, I forgot about the big Wal-Mart shareholder’s meeting. I got there at my usual 40 minutes beforehand, but there was a hugely long line in the security lines and check-in. The fortunate part was that, having flown so much, I know a lot of the airport personnel and the sky cab came right over to the car and checked my bags. But I still had to face the security line and it was long. Much to my chagrin, there were many people in the security line who weren’t regular flyers and therefore, had all kinds of impermissible items in their carry-on luggage and who didn’t realize they had to take off their jackets, their belts, whatever. It was moving really slowly and I was afraid that I was going to miss my plane. Fortunately, a logistics person from Wal-Mart came through the line checking our departure times and moved several of us up so that we were able to catch our flight which (of course) was delayed.

We got into Chicago about 9:00 a.m., which was fine. But, unfortunate thing #2 was that when I arrived in Chicago my luggage didn’t. By 9:30 a.m. it still hadn’t shown up on the luggage carousel, so we (there was another guy there, too, his last name was Cook and I’ll tell you later how I knew) walked over to the claims desk and the woman told us very snappily, “It can take up to an hour to get your luggage, so you need to just go back over there and wait.” Now, knowing that other flights had come and gone (and the baggage as well) since we had been standing there, we were not accepting that answer. So, I called the American Airlines’ executive platinum desk and asked them about it. They called the baggage supervisor and all of a sudden our baggage claims person came back over to the carousel and was very concerned about our luggage. We walked back to the desk and filled out the claims form and in the meantime my Aunt Linda (one of the Aunties that you’ve heard me refer to) had to keep circling because they won’t let you sit outside the airport. You can only stop long enough to load your passenger and his/her luggage.

So, I was calling back and forth to her and waiting in line for the luggage. We got the forms filled out and Mr. Cook (and the reason I knew his name is because when I called in, I gave them his name, too) says, “ Hey, I think it’s here!” So, we ran back over to the carousel and got our luggage. I was very relieved about that because I wanted to go to church with Aunt Linda the next day. One of the cool things about her church, Metropolitan Community Church, is they have very well trained ushers. The young people, junior ushers, compete in national championships and they took second in the country last year. Being a Lutheran, we don’t have anything like that, so I love to go to her church because the signals are very subtle. It’s really cool. There’s a signal for things like somebody needs a fan or to give a visitor a gift bag. All these things they very subtly signal. I always like to watch her to see if I can figure out what the signals are, but as usual, I digress. Anyway, I was glad to get my luggage so that I had my suit to be able to go to church.

When we got to Aunt Linda’s house (and she always spoils me this way), she cooked a gi-normous breakfast. It was huge! Over my protest (lbs.), we sat and ate breakfast and sipped coffee. Then my cousins came over and we hung out for a while and later drove to the South side of Chicago. My aunt lives in Bellwood which is a Western suburb of Chicago, and we drove in to Chicago to see my Great Aunt Roberta who is one of the prizes of my heart. She’s super special to me. It’s hard to explain. We drove over there to her house and my other aunt from Battle Creek, Michigan, Aunt Alleen was there. That’s why when I say I’m going to Chicago with the Aunties, I truly am because I get to hang out with all the Aunties. We were all there visiting and vigorously talking politics. As you might imagine it was a really fun visit. After a while Aunt Linda and I had to leave because we wanted to get back to Bellwood before too late, and also another aunt, Aunt Yvonne, was in the hospital at Loyola Medical Center out in the suburbs, so we drove and stopped and saw her. We had the same political conversation and caught up with her on her life and how she was doing. She seemed to be doing well, all things considered. Then we went home and had a quiet evening watching the news and catching up with each other and turned in not too early, but not too late. We knew we had to get up early to get to church and it is about a 45 minute drive to get there.

My aunties are my dad’s sisters and they really gathered around me and were so supportive when he died. It was a very difficult time and they were there. They continuously check on me and pray for me and I really love them all. They’re so funny. When I became Dean and the first time I came home after that, all three aunties and I had to go shopping. I have another aunt in Battle Creek, Michigan, also, and her name is Bernita. So, Aunt Bernita, Aunt Linda, Aunt Alleen, and I went to shop for business suits because “I had to look like a Dean”. It was a really long day because they would help me pick out things and then I had to try them on and get the approval of all three. But that’s when you know that you have lots of love and joy in your life, when you have people who care like that. They always spoil me with these rich wonderful homemade meals. When I go there, I know I’m home. That’s a little bit about the Aunties and for those of you who know me, you’ll hear me abbreviate, “I’m going home to see the Aunties,” and that’s what I mean when I say that.

On Friday, June 6, most of our staff was out of the building to attend the staff retreat. The retreat was held in Millar Lodge on Mt. Sequoyah. There were several activities throughout the day as well as presentations by Dr. Nick Brown, UA Executive Assistant for Sustainability- on sustainability and Dana Collins, Instructor for UA Human Resources- on personalities in the workplace. Lunch was provided by Penguin Ed’s and Buffalo Wild Wings. A good time was had by all.goldner

I left Fayetteville at 8:30 a.m. to go to Little Rock to attend a reception for outgoing Dean Chuck Goldner, the Dean of the University of Arkansas Little Rock Bowen School of Law, who will step down as of June 30 of this year. The reception and lunch was put on by the Arkansas Association of Women Lawyers (AAWL) and I felt it was really important to be there both as a member of the organization and because of my warAAWLm and close friendship with Dean Goldner. The events were held at the U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse on 2nd Street in downtown Little Rock.

The AAWL is pretty active. In their kickoff in September more than 100 people attended a multimedia presentation presented by Pulaski County Judge Tim Fox that focused on the landmark decision of Cooper v. Aaron and that was part of the group’s state celebration of the 50th anniversary of the integration of Central High School. In December, the group hosted a holiday brunch and silent auction. That event raised more than $2700 and that, when coupled with an endowment, resulted in three $1200AAWL scholarships for deserving law students in the State of Arkansas. Throughout the year, the group’s monthly meetings included distinguished speakers and guests such as U.S. Representative Vic Snyder, both Arkansas law school deans, Judge Alice Lightle and Former Representative Joyce Elliott.

The lunch and reception for Dean Goldner were really fun events. I love going to the Women Lawyers meetingoldnergs. I’ve blogged about them before. Best of all, it was great to surprise Dean Goldner who didn’t know I was going to be in attendance and to see all of my women lawyer friends. Judge Audrey Evans of the Bankruptcy Court gave a wonderful tribute to Dean Goldner. Her remarks were brief, but they were very warm and they focused on all the incredible service that he has given to the State of Arkansas while still being a full-time Dean. She came up with a formula inspired by the Einstein formula E=mc2 and it was DG3 = energy. She was talking about how Dean Goldner did so many different things, that it was amazing that he was just one person when it seems likgoldnere he was operating in triplicate.  Then she listed all the many ways he has contributed to the state and the law school, focusing on the work of the Equal Access Commission, his board membership with LSAC and his involvement with the ABA Section on Legal Education. These were just the things he does on the state and national level. There are local charities that he’s been involved with as well.

Dean Goldner gave a few brief remarks, thanking everyone for their support and thanking the AAWL for the scholarships they provide for the students. I had the opportunity to go up and say a thank you from the law school. I was also able to give him his very favorite, something that we share besides being fellow deagoldnerns, the best candy in the world, Frango mint chocolates from Marshall Fields and to acknowledge his wife, Susan. It was really worth going down to see the members of AAWL, but more especially to say thank you and publicly acknowledge Chuck Goldner once again for his wonderful friendship and support over this past two years. I wish him the very best transitioning into his new role.

After the reception I visited with Judge Evans in her chambers for a little while about some of the issues that concern us both. It was good to see her again and to have that time with her. Gosh darn it, I forgot to go in and speak to Rick Taylor, our alum who is also a bankruptcy judge in the very same building, but I’ve already apologized to him for that and he graciously let me off the hook. After that it was time to head back to Fayetteville, just another week on the road.