An artificial fly is pulled gently over water so clear it appears filtered; the mellow deep sound of chords from the guitar fill the outdoors around the camp fire; the aroma from that old blue pot on the stove filled with beef barley soup fills the senses like only it and bacon can – these are just a few of the talents that my son Sanford has acquired. But he did not acquire them from me, because even though as his father I should have been teaching him how to fly fish, play the guitar, and prepare food as only a gourmet chef can, I could not teach him these things because I could not do them myself. And so it was that Sanford learned them on his own because he is good at learning things and teaching himself what he wants to know.
It is very Southern not to toot one’s own horn, and very Southern not to brag on the accomplishments of one’s close kin. But most Southerners allow as how on some rare occasions, a proud father is forgiven his misstep if he lets slip how proud he is of his children. I remember that San was about five years old when he came to me and asked me to teach him how to fly fish. I am still embarrassed that I was unable to do so, but if one’s own father did not utilize a particular talent, then it often is not passed down from father to son. I did not have that talent. So San went to the local library and checked out a video on how to fly fish and taught himself what his father could not. And over the years I have taught him what I could, but he, and his sister as well, have the most valuable of talents in the ability of self-education. Now the daughter and the son teach the father and who can be prouder than that?
But San was drifting after college; not a bad thing in itself, for when else in life does one have the leisure of drifting? There was no plan that his parents were aware of (although San, like most males, keeps his cards close to the vest), and we were worried that some drifting might turn into more drifting, which is not a good thing. As my beautiful mother of 93 years can attest, a parent really never finishes helping his or her offspring. So we suggested he try some more education because he has many interests and hobbies, and as we already knew, he could teach others how to do these things. Law school was not on the horizon as both Courtney and San, after seeing what I did everyday, had early on verbally expostulated that they would never become lawyers – one need be careful about what one says about one’s own future! He thought about it some and may have been influenced by the fact that his sister had done well in law school and seemed to enjoy her practice in Missoula; or maybe the fact that his brother had expressed a plan to go to law school in order to be an FBI agent influenced him. But his brother had died early and tragically. And that was something else I could not teach him – how to grieve for his brother, for I did not know how to grieve for him myself. At any rate he reluctantly agreed to leave the cool clear mountains, lakes and streams of his beloved Montana and travel back across the country to the crowded, humid, cacophonous street sounds of Charleston, South Carolina. I don’t think he did this for me; and I don’t really think he did this for himself. I think he did this for his brother, because his brother now could not do it for himself. San dedicated these three long years of his life to his brother, Howard. I was not a particularly good student during my education days and even though I knew Sanford had the ability to be a top student should he so choose, I was not expecting him to shine academically. I took Latin in high school and, again, I was not a top Latin scholar. But Sanford graduated Summa Cum Laude from law school, whatever that means. I think it means he did pretty well.
On October 18th, 2010 my son Sanford, on the special motion of his sister Courtney, was sworn in before the Montana Supreme Court as a member of the state Bar of Montana and also before the Federal District Judge in Helena as he was admitted to practice before the Federal Bar.
It was an especially emotional moment for this father to watch his children appear before such august bodies, as did his grandfather, father, sister, uncle and first cousin before him. So please excuse this proud father for writing of how proud he is of this fine man and this fine woman. Hark, America, “things are gonna be fine” as we say in the South; for there are many other fine men and women like Sanford and Courtney throughout the country. America is in good hands with talented individuals such as these. We love you, Courtney and San.
2010. Glacier County Honey Co. All Rights Reserved.