I have this picture in mind. It is of my middle daughter, Lisa, and her friend Aimee Bataillon in the kitchen in our former home in Omaha. Aimee is one of Judge Joe Bataillon’s daughters. While Joe and I may not agree on everything, we agree that Aimee is smart, funny and very nice. She is much like her beautiful mother and wise father.
Anyway, the girls were students together at Marian High School (an all girls school). They were working on something related to a mock trial. I remember how young and a little silly they were. I recall Aimee being more serious than Lisa, but that was par for the course. I don’t remember much more.
Aimee is all grown up now. She is a highly respected trial lawyer, and former chair of our Federal Practice Committee. I should hasten to add that Aimee got that appointment on merit. She remains the same smart, funny and very nice person I knew as a girl. On top of her busy practice, she has carved out time to be a wife and mother.
Lisa (the kid who once went to Mexico and returned complaining that “they sure speak a lot of Spanish down there”) has turned out well too. While travelling the world and earning a Master’s degree, she has become a gifted and experienced teacher, a wife and mother to two of my grandchildren.
Connected to these two girls (and Joe and me) was Judge Bill Cambridge. Bill is now dead–the last photo I have of him shows him riding an elephant in Thailand. Too funny.
Bill came to our court after serving as a distinguished trial judge out in central Nebraska. I appeared before Bill when he was a state judge. When it came to money (and many other things), Bill was very careful. I once waited several hours to take an uncontested mortgage foreclosure decree while Bill recalculated an amortization schedule, by hand, that had been run by a computer. Bill didn’t find any errors, but he sure as hell was not going to take my guy’s testimony and the computer for granted.
Anyway, Bill had this big 1970 something Chevy Impala. (See facsimile below.) It was sort of red or maroon or burnt orange. It had a huge engine in it, and Bill drove it very fast to and from the various courthouses in central Nebraska. In fact, Bill admitted to me that he buried the speedometer more than once. Sometime after Bill took the federal bench, and when nearly 175,000 miles had passed over the odometer, Bill decided to sell the car. He knew that I was looking for a vehicle so Lisa could drive back and forth to school. We agreed on a price and completed the deal.
Much to her chagrin, Lisa drove that old Chevy to and from school and while she was in college. It was so big that eight Marian girls could nearly fit into the front seat. It was a monster. Once Lisa ran it into a city bus, and the only thing that was dented was the damn bus.
Fast forward to Joe’s investiture as a federal judge when, after the ceremony, Joe would formally join Bill, and the rest of us. It was only at this happy occasion that I learned that Lisa and Aimee and the girls from Marian called Bill’s old car “the party barge.” Bill was amused. Joe and I less so. Aimee and Lisa never told me why the old Chevy ended up with that sobriquet, and I have always been too afraid to ask.
It is a wonder how our lives intertwine. Some things are more important than others.
Photo credit: Carlust and Big Chris. The photo is a pretty good depiction of the party barge. We ultimately gave the barge to a shelter for men, and, so far as I know, it has not been used for any recent bank robberies.