I am a lawyer. I am not always proud of that fact. When I look around the profession, there are many times when I am less than pleased with my choice of professions. It does not matter, however, because at the end of the day I am always a lawyer. I think like a lawyer. I speak like a lawyer. I evaluate the world around me like a lawyer. It has become who I amme. No matter how low my profession sinks, there will always be a couple of moments that rise above the norm and make me proud to be a lawyer. This story is one of those moments.
As I write this he lies on his bed, struggling for his breath, looking sallow. His hair is almost gone, his skin hangs on his bonessagging as he lies back. The only sharp feature remaininghis eyes. Days from death and still his eyes betray the intelligence and compassion that have driven his life.
I came to the bedside hoping to spend the last few days with him getting out the words that would never come when we were both proud men standing tall and well in the land of the living. Now that he knows he is headed to the land of the dead, he is not willing to let pride stand in the way of anything. So I sit here, wishing to make my peaceforced to let him make his. After all, it appears he will be speaking directly with the Maker before I will. So, I let him make his peace.
Looking back I wish I had been more prepared for him to make his peace. The revelations moved from folklore that I had ignoredI was, after all, away trying to build a prosperous career in one of the most competitive fields on the East Coastto truth and courage beyond imagination. I found it hard to believe, and I grew up with much of the folklore. You might find it impossible to believe. That does not make this recounting any less true than it is.

I sat beside him for four days. On the second day the pain seemed to leave, his skin regained its color, and the words began to flow. At first I wanted to record everything on a tape player I always keep with me for dictation. But before I could get the player out of my pocket unnoticed, I realized that the information he was presenting to me was burning itself into my memory. I thought about telling him to preserve his energy, let the tale wait until he felt better. I realized, however, that he had been here waiting on meliving to tell this tale one last time, honestly, with nothing standing between him and judgment. I knew I was obliged to listen. Listen and remember. As long as I live I will never forget these momentshanging between life and death, hearing the story of a life worth living. I have not met many of those. This is one.


2 Responses to “Southern Justice–Preface”

  1. 1 "The Man" 18 August 2008 at 12:36 am

    After reading “Southern Justice” I find that you have more talents than I first recognized. I found myself in the head of TJ most of the time wondering how much more can this man take. It was a quick read and certainly not boring or slow. When oh when will the next book be ready for print so that I may continue my journey?

  2. 2 Rebecca (Williams) Stevens 9 July 2010 at 2:27 am

    I haven’t heard (read) from you yet, and I wondered if my address is visible to you. If not, rebwilliams@earthlink.net will get to me here.
    Thanks, and stay focused!
    Rebecca Williams (Stevens)

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