Counting Blessings

Last night at about 10:45 EDT I had to occasion to start counting blessings.  My advancing age means I do this more and more, and it also causes me to realize that I should have counted those blessings more frequently in years past .  I will tell you what gave rise to the time for reflection in a moment, but permit to re-count a few of the blessings of yesterday:

  • I woke up at 5:30 EDT in the beautiful Mayflower Hotel in our Nation’s Capitol, where I am attending the 86th Annual Meeting of the American Law Institute.
  • My health remains good enough to permit me a good early morning workout.
  • I heard a wonderful speech by Judge Pierre N. Leval, Judge of he US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, about ALI and its role in the development of the law.
  • I heard a moving speech by Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, Attorney General under President Johnson, who forcefully explained his view of the role of lawyers to their clients and how the lawyers who advised President Bush on torture did not fulfill that role.  I thought about how much my friend Howard Vogel, an ALI member from Knoxville,  would have enjoyed the presentation – one he missed only because he has not one but two grandchildren arriving any day now.
  • I watched the discussion of Tentative Draft No. 6 of the Restatement of the Law Third – Torts: Liability for Physical and Emotional Harm.  Yesterday’s discussion involved duty of land possessors.  This is the work of Bill Powers (President, University of Texas),  Mike Green (Wake Forest School of Law) and the late Gary Schwartz (UCLA).  Bill and Mike has worked on the Restatement Third for fifteen years and their work is almost complete.  To understand the history-making nature of their work, the Reporter for the Restatement (Second) of Torts was a a guy named William Prosser.
  • I had lunch with Bob Peck, the lawyer who argued the Williams case before the SCOTUS this year – and won.  Bill Wagner, lawyer extraordinaire from Tampa, was there too (and picked up the tab) as was Vincent Johnson (law professor – St. Mary’s).
  • I  listened to the interesting discussion of Tentative Draft No. 2 of the Restatement of the Law Third on Employment Law.
  • I received a telephone call from Angela at  the office of my friend Congressman Bruce Bailey (D-Iowa) informing me that (a) no, the Congressman could not join me for dinner Monday night as I had requested  but (b) I could join him at the Bruce Springsteen concert instead.
  • I stood on the steps of the SCOTUS Building, looked at the Capitol, and thought about how fortunate I was to be a lawyer and live in such a wonderful country.  Call me a sap, but there is something about DC that is still very moving to me, despite many visits over many years.
  • I saw Bruce with Bruce from Suite 368 at Verizon Center – a wonderful show from a man whose music causes one to reflect on his blessings.
  • I got the chance to talk about some public policy issues with Bruce Braley, and it was refreshing to see a man in the position to make change be so passionate about doing so. 
  • My 17-year old daughter thought the Bruce-invite was neat enough to invite me to be her friend on Facebook, a privilege that I had been previously denied.  That act got her a big smile, and a Bruce t-shirt.
  • My 13- year old son thought it was "cool" that his old man was seeing Bruce.  That got him a t-shirt.
  • Both of those young adults are healthy, as are my wonderful wife Joy and my daughter Kate.  Are there greater blessings?

Yes, the music of the Boss causes one to count blessings, and May 18, 2009 goes down as a very blessed day, indeed.