I am writing to you from an overnight flight 38,000 feet in the sky over the Atlantic Ocean on my way to Croatia. I am pretty sure I am the only person on the plane working in the middle of the night, but I am well aware the newsletter is late this month. I returned from my vacation in New Mexico–after three weeks of no email, no legal work, no business, no newsletters, no marketing, no team development and no mentoring–to an incredible flurry of work that has had me going nonstop since the first week of August. There was just no time to sit down and collect my thoughts.
Turns out what I have been thinking about is Summer. With school starting and Labor Day behind us, many will argue Fall is here. Technically, Summer hasn’t ended. September in Texas is hot as hell. Which is why, when I got my vaccine back in March, the first thing I did was plan this trip to Croatia in September as something BIG to look forward to at the end the Summer. After over a year of lockdown, the only thing I wanted to do upon vaccination-freedom was to travel far away from the routine of daily life.
This vacation will not be unplugged. I will be checking email, directing the strategy of our cases, and communicating with our clients to help alleviate their anxieties. I had three weeks in the mountains to recover from the constant demands of family law; this vacation, my mental state is rejuvenated so that it is not a burden to keep in touch with the office while I am away. And I realized I could do both, stay connected and be away, without sacrificing my well-being. Hopefully, it will be a win-win.
But one thing is for sure, I won’t be getting back into my routine until true Fall. Come October we have new goals and big plans at Lazar Law to work on. I can’t wait to tell you about them when I am back. I hope you take the last days of Summer to soak up the sun, eat late, wear white, and don’t rush. Soon enough, it will be year-end.
I discovered the music of Nanci Griffith at the end of my first year of law school in 1986. This charming, beautiful, smart, funny woman, who was 10 years older than me, sang to my soul. If you were with me back then, you listened to her CDs in my red Honda Prelude SI. The car and music took me to my first law job in Orlando, Florida, and across the country when I moved to Portland, Oregon. I saw her perform live so many times, the first time at The Cactus Café in The Union on campus. I saw her in Orlando, I saw her perform with Lyle Lovett, I saw her in the Pacific Northwest. She defined my early career, all my heartbreaks, my love for Austin and Texas. It seemed hardly anyone knew Nanci Griffith; back then she hadn’t been to Ireland, she hadn’t won a Grammy. I don’t think Bette Midler had even recorded “From a Distance” yet. She was a secret that true Austinites knew, which made her even more special.
I opened Twitter a few Fridays ago, and on my feed popped up the news of Nanci Griffith’s death at 68. I felt gut-punched, as though I had lost an old friend or a big sister. Twitter immediately filled with stories like mine of people who were Nanci Griffith’s biggest fans, and of how her songs got them through and gave them hope and soothed the homesickness for the Texas of old. I thought about the people in my life back when her albums would come out new, people I hadn’t remembered in a long time. She was the soundtrack of a decade of my life.
Now I hear Nanci Griffith’s sweet voice and haunting lyrics in my head just about every day. When we row out to the power lines on the river, I can hear her singing “on the power lines”. When I walk down Congress, I remember her album cover outside the Woolworth store and her song “Love at the Five and Dime”. When I get in the elevator, I hear her saying “Going Up”. And mostly her singing these lyrics from Gulf Coast Highway: “And when she dies she says she’ll catch some blackbird’s wing/
Then she will fly away to Heaven come some sweet blue bonnet spring.”
If you don’t know Nanci Griffith, I ask you to listen to her live album recorded in 1988 at Anderson Fair in Houston, called One Fair Summer Evening; it’s everything. If you do know her, pick your favorite songs and pay tribute to this true Texas sweetheart, gone too young, who touched us in a way only someone from Austin can.
Our divorcing clients come to us from both sides of the adultery fence—as the cheating spouse, and as the scorned spouse. What everyone wants to know is: How much does it really matter? As you might expect a lawyer to say: That depends!