Friday, July 21, 2006

Bread Upon The Waters

My grandfather was a highly-decorated hero of the Balkan Wars -- 1912-1914 -- the preliminaries for World War I. He got his fill of conflict and for the rest of his life he was the classic "Quiet Man".
About seventy-five years or so later, a family friend asked me to help him through the bureaucratic maze of an administrative agency. For me, it was a relief from criminal appeals and I was very happy to do him the favor, pro bono. We got what we wanted but I never thought that we would not and it is not something that I ever considered exceptional.
I just learned that the family friend I had helped out had recently passed away, fifteen days short of his 100th birthday. I also found out what a few hours of my time meant to him outside of the administrative ruling.
One time, my grandfather had been dragged into court on a frivolous charge. The only time in his life he was in court whether as a plaintiff, defendant or witness. My client, the family friend, stood by him, advised him, helped him find a lawyer and accompanied him to court as a character witness. The case was dismissed within minutes of being heard by the judge.
I learned today, from one of my client's sons, that my client had connected the two events. That he had related the two stories to his family and how much it had impressed him that the good he had done to my grandfather was reciprocated by the grandson two generations later.

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