Happy Birthday for a Fee?


Gerry Spence turned eighty this year. There will be a birthday bash for him at Thunderhead Ranch this summer. Invitations have been sent out. I got one. And I thought about going, even going so far as to ask a friend for the names of hotels in the area. I've not been to the ranch, home of the Trial Lawyers' College, in a decade. The lay of the land is now foreign to me.

But then I read the invitation a little more carefully. There is a fee of $250 to attend the celebration? That's chutzpah.

I harbor an ambivalent admiration for Spence. He is a great lawyer and a charismatic man. I respect his ability in a courtroom even as I harbor misgivings about the need that compels him to surround himself with admirers. Truth be told, the thought of returning to the ranch to break bread with some of the apostles is chilling to me. Better a long distance Judas than a reluctant Prodigal Son. There are too many skeletons buried in the foothills.

A decade ago I kicked loose from the crowd surrounding Spence. I wasn't content to carry another's mantle. I said some harsh words in public about the man, words I have since retracted in a forum as public as the one in which I published them. Spence and I have made a fragile sort of peace by way of a wary email correspondence. But the wariness wearies me. Perhaps it is best to let things be.

So here's a long distance Happy Birthday to a good man. But please, Gerry, get someone to rethink the fee for attending the bash. Were I in a ridiculing frame of mind, I'd have a field day with that.

Comments: (4)

  • Gerry:
    I am as good a friend to you as to anyone ...
    Gerry:
    I am as good a friend to you as to anyone else, I suppose. Enjoy the celebration.
    Norm
    Posted on April 16, 2009 at 3:33 am by Norm Pattis
  • Pathetic response from the birthday boy.
    In regar...
    Pathetic response from the birthday boy.
    In regards to your comment regarding "the need that compels him to surround himself with admirers." They feed his ego and sooth his brokeness.
    My wish for Gerry is for a true healing, resulting in a conscious awareness based on love and compassion.
    Posted on April 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm by Namaste
  • Norm: Thanks for the birthday wishes. I am told ...
    Norm: Thanks for the birthday wishes. I am told the $250 will not likely to cover the cost of the get-together. The excess, if any, will go to the benefit to Trial Lawyers College – probably the scholarship fund.
    Love,
    Gerry
    PS I have a birthday wish: that you would finally be my friend. We will miss you.
    Posted on April 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm by Gerry Spence
  • I didn't get an invitation. If I had, I wouldn't ...
    I didn't get an invitation. If I had, I wouldn't be able to show the self-control you are. Happy Easter, Norm.
    Posted on April 12, 2009 at 2:01 pm by shg

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