Tragedy in the Twenty-First Century

It started as a typical September morning—the sun had just risen on what promised to be a warm California day. I was dressed in workout clothes—black Above-the-Rim shorts, a charcoal Nike t-shirt, white K-Swiss tennis shoes—almost ready to leave for the gym. I backed my car out of our detached garage, wheeled it around and eased up to the front porch to finish loading my lawyer clothes—suit, white shirt, tie, belt, dress shoes and sox. I was planning to drive to 24-Hour Fitness in Orange and work out. Then I would shower, change, and head down to my office in Center Tower, Costa Mesa and my law practice at Latham & Watkins. I had a federal copyright lawsuit that was occupying large chunks of my time and I needed to review some deposition transcripts.

Suddenly Dawn came running out of the house. Thinking I was leaving, she began waving her arms frantically. My first thought was that something terrible had happened—perhaps an injury to a family member.

I pushed a button and the window slid down. “Matt just called,” she said, the concern apparent in her voice. Instantly the thought flashed through my mind—had something happened to Quade, our five-week old grandson? It had been twenty-three years since we lost our daughter, Elise, to sudden infant death syndrome, but I still carried an anxiety about the safety of children that would surface at the least hint of danger.

“They’ve blown up the World Trade Center in Washington. I’m going to turn on the TV.” With that, Dawn ran back into the house.

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Caribbean Cruise

Today is the final day of our one-week cruise in the Western Caribbean. It is a sea-day, always one of my favorites, and I’m borrowing David’s Apple MacBook to compose this entry. I decided not to bring my computer because I didn’t want to succumb to the temptation of spending too much time in our cabin writing. Since we brought our family with us, I wanted to maximize the time with them. Sort of like emptying the freezer of ice cream when you want to diet, I suppose.

Dawn and I are relative newcomers to cruising. I took my first cruise last year, a fantastic trip on the Celebrity Millennium that began in Barcelona and ended in Venice. This year we sailed on the Caribbean Princess—a shorter and less interesting trip, but nice for family socializing. Our group included our four children, Matt, David, Ashley and Tyson, as well as Matt’s wife, Amy, and David’s wife, Melanie. Also on board were my sister, Mary Kaye Gardner, her husband, Terry, and their children and spouses, whose ages are generally the same as ours. All together we numbered sixteen. (The grandchildren were left behind.)

One good thing about a cruise is that it provides an opportunity to have portraits taken. As those of you who are cruise veterans know, photographers set their gear up at various stations around the ship and click away nearly every evening. The sittings are free—you only pay if you decide to purchase. We took the opportunity to have some family photos taken, as well as several individual photos of our children and their spouses, which are scattered throughout this blog entry.

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