Archive for Friendship

Joe Diedrich (1927-2017)

Yesterday would have been his 90th birthday. He had been in poor health for almost a year and in September when I spoke to him for the last time he acknowledged that the end was in sight. Two weeks ago I sent him an email. His wife responded with the news that he died the day after he received it.

Men aren’t particularly good at grieving though we commonly talk about it when a friend leaves us. Still, Joe wasn’t like anyone else and grieving doesn’t really describe my feelings. Regret is probably better. Regret that I won’t see him in Mallorca as planned this fall, and regret that I won’t hear more of his self-deprecating stories and biting commentary on the world.

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Herma Hill Schreter Kay (1934-2017)

Professor Herma Hill Kay died at her home in San Francisco on June 10, 2017. She was a respected teacher, colleague, and personality at Boalt Hall, the University of California’s law school in Berkeley for 57 years. After obtaining her undergraduate degree (magna cum laude) in anthropology from Southern Methodist University she attended the University of Chicago law school, and after a year as the law clerk for Roger Traynor, legendary Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, she began her tenure as a law school professor at Boalt. I never had a class with Professor Kay and can’t claim her as a friend, but we did have one funny encounter in Seattle years after I left California.

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Friendship and Independence

Today we celebrate the 241st anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence and the passing of the two political intellects most responsible for its drafting.

On July 4, 1826, on the anniversary of America’s independence, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died. There is something remarkable and uncanny, something that enhances the written declaration, that its two most important contributors lived exactly 50 years to the day from the date of its publication. It’s as if they agreed, finally, that the principles embodied in the document were sound and durable enough to survive without their continued vigilance.

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Nashville: Skyline and All

“If you’re travelin’ in the north country fair

Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline

Remember me to one who lived there

For she was once a true love of mine.”

Both Bob Dylan and the Nashville skyline have changed since he wrote those words for the Nashville Skyline album in 1969. I loved the record (yes, it was a record in those days), and I loved his surprising shift from folk-protest to traditional country music including an off-pitch duet with Johnny Cash. Beyond that I didn’t know much about the city except that it was the home of the Grand Ole Opry. I had never been there and neither had M, but a chance meeting with a young couple at a Peter Cetera concert in Seattle got us thinking about a visit to their hometown. So, on impulse, with an Alaska Airlines companion ticket to burn, we booked the flight as just the right destination for an escape from our long wet winter in Seattle.

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Trump and Turkey…

There’s a lot to like about Turkey. It’s exotic, mysterious, and diverse – beautiful blue water sailing on the southwestern coast where the Aegean and Mediterranean meet, ancient rock dwellings at Cappadocia, the broad expanse of the Anatolian plateau, and a blending of cultures where Europe and Asia meet at the Bosporus. (above).

Long before the Orient Express, Istanbul felt mysterious and unpredictable, as if a camel driver might be blocking the path of a Mercedes consular car around the next corner. I spent time there on my own and on layovers as a Pan Am pilot. I had a favorite smoke-filled café near the Golden Horn that served doner kebab for a couple of bucks and a tiny shop nearby where I bought pistachios and squishy dried figs carefully wrapped in brown paper by the owner. I loved Istanbul, the crowds and excitement, even the diesel fumes, a Eurasian jumble of mosques, churches, narrow winding streets, designer shops, shared taxis, noisy ferries, and hard bargaining rug merchants in the Grand Bazaar.

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