Alexander Payne, the Nebraska-born filmmaker, introduces Schmidt, the protagonist in About Schmidt, with one minute of silence. The scene ends with Schmidt, alone in his spare office filled with boxes, watching the clock tick to five in the afternoon on his last day of work. It is a poignant piece of great beauty.
And that brings me to Warren Urbom’s last day at work after serving 44 years as a federal district judge in Lincoln, Nebraska. Unlike Schmidt, Urbom’s last day, while just as poignant as Schmidt’s, was a joyous occasion celebrated by hundreds. It is beautifully reported by Lori Pilger (a truly gifted journalist) in the Lincoln Journal Star and you can find it here. It is worth reading even if you didn’t know Warren. After all, as Chief Judge Laurie Smith Camp said yesterday, intending no hyperbole, Warren Urbom was “one of the greatest judges who ever lived.”
PS I will have more on Warren, but not now.