Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The King's Lawyer

Martin Luther King Day passed me by in a fog. The day was filled with tasks that no one but me could accomplish, pressing upon my soul with an urgency. It's Monday! Time to get cracking.

1.  Transplant the long-suffering succulants that the deer had ravaged on our hillside decor and replant them in a safe haven by the driveway, where Mr. and Mrs. Deer & company dared not tread.

2. Call Blue Cross to get a new doctor assigned to me as the one printed clearly on my new insurance card wasn't taking new patients. (Thank you, idiots who did the computer programming for this actually life-saving Affordable Care Act.)

3. Call a collection agency to pay the $23.80 bill for lab tests that was apparently long overdue. Not that it was unaffordable. It must have somehow gotten lost in the "to do" pile that never got done.

4. Shop for food for dinner. The three "kids" (all now adults) are coming over and the refrigerator is bare. Luckily for my husband, they come over once a week for family dinner, which insures that he gets a home cooked meal at least once in the seven day week.

5. Email, email, and then more email about business, not to be revealed in a blogosphere. Or at least not yet.

6. And then some...

It was only after I got into bed after midnight, with an unusual bout of insomnia, that it dawned on me that it had been a national holiday celebrating the great Dr. King. My family had a special connection to this man, not only because my parents, sister, and I had a committment to the civil rights movement, but because our closest family friend was King's main lawyer.

Throughout those trying and traumatic 1960's, my growing mind and body listened to conversations in the Wachtel household concerning all sorts of planning, personal revelations, heated strategic arguments, and tender stories about the great man. He was not present, but his spirit loomed large. I felt proud to be connected to the man King trusted so deeply, the same man who looked at me with great fondness and loved to pat my red curls and tell me I was a sharp one. He seemed to listen to all the little words that blurted out from my child's mouth.

As I grew older, the family friends became more like uncles, aunts and cousins; cut from the same cloth, with a karmic connection that defied explanation but provided plenty of raucous and memorable happenings.

Were it not for insomnia, my memories of Harry Wachtel and the role he played in King's life would have slid under the radar of my daily chores. But with a long night ahead of me, I got to reflect and dream upon the richness of history that had been mine to witness.

And now it is time for me to get back into bed and 'have a dream.' So fare-thee-well to great friends long gone. You have enriched my soul forever.

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