It was one year ago this week that I lost my dear friend and law partner, Kim Johnson. Kim was an outstanding lawyer and a mentor to me and so many Memphis lawyers. He was also a loving and caring grandfather, father, husband, and man of faith.
But this week, I find myself fondly remembering something else about Kim. He was an incredible prankster.
It began on a winter day in 1886, when a retail jeweler in Redwood Falls, Minnesota received a package of watches that had been shipped to him by a Chicago company. The jeweler refused the package. He did not order the watches, and he had no interest in them.
The package ended up in the hands of a 23 year old railway agent named Richard Warren Sears. Sears managed the offices of Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad in North Redwood, Minnesota, where he operated the telegraph and handled the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad’s business. There wasn’t much of it, and young Sears had a lot of time on his hands.
We live in contentious and uncivil times. It seems like almost everyone these days is spring-loaded in the angry position.
Next to the Presidency, it is the most powerful position in the United States government. And unlike the Presidency, it is a position one can hold for more than eight years. In fact, once your appointment is confirmed by the United States Senate and you are sworn in, you can hold the job for the rest of your life.
The position is, of course, Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
I’m addicted to newspapers. For nearly sixty years, I have started each day reading the morning paper.
I learned to read in the first grade not only by meeting Dick and Jane (“Run, Dick Run!”) in my elementary school reading primers, but also by perusing the Commercial Appeal with my father each morning at the breakfast table.