Friday, December 6, 2013

Wisdom from Jean B.

One of my dearest friends is a former law school classmate from Kentucky named Jean.  She is quite devoted to her family, the Catholic Church and the University of Kentucky’s basketball program (I’m honestly not sure in which order).  If you ever played basketball with Jean and somebody misses a shot, let her have the rebound – I repeat, let her have the rebound. It’s not worth your life.
She once helped the law school’s women’s bookstore basketball team advance clear to the Notre Dame finals, where her opposite number was a young woman who had played center for the Notre Dame varsity.  Jean was giving away 4 inches and I guess about 40 pounds, but she wasn’t backing off.  I still remember the look on the young referee’s face as he watched those two tussle over a loose ball.  I’m sure that young fella was thinking, “They’re not paying me enough for this.”

I sometimes kid Jean that her Kantucky accent makes her sound like Ellie May Clampett, but anyone who underestimates Jean’s intelligence is making a HUGE mistake.  Her LSAT score was 98th percentile.
I could make quite a list of things I admire about Jean B., but the one I most frequently quote her on is what she told her husband-to-be shortly before their marriage back in September of 1991.

She told her fianc√© “Darlin’, I really don’t think it’s ever going to come to this, but I want you to know that if you ever hit me, you’d better make sure that the first’un is a good’n cause that’s all you’re gonna get.”  The last time I saw Jean’s husband, he was walking around above the ground without needing a wheelchair, a walker, a respirator or seeing eye dog, which tends to indicate to me that he has never hit her.

Indeed, every time I hear Miranda Lambert sing “Gunpowder and Lead” I think, “That sounds like what it would be like if any man ever laid his hands on Jean.”

In fairness to Jean, while I sometimes kid her about being a very formidable woman, I want to emphasize that, in the close to 30 years that I’ve known her; I have never once seen her lose her temper.  And I really don’t want to.  And, trust me on this, you don’t want to either.

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