If you happen to be one of the true followers of “Gavel Gamut”, that is, one who started with me in 1990 and still hopes to glean something of interest from it, let me say, Gentle Reader, you are 33 years older and still hopeful. Now, whether that means you are any wiser, well, only you can decide. As for me, since I started this column only because I was asked to do so by my good friend, Jim Kohlmeyer, who had just bought The New Harmony Times newspaper and was looking for filler, I certainly feel the passing of the time. About 1,000 of these burnt offerings have been sacrificed on the altar of public opinion since 1990. At a calculation of approximately between 500 and 1,000 words per column, that means, if you have been a binge reader, you have digested about one million of my words; you have my sincere sympathy. Perhaps a therapist might help.
I personally know of only a few living persons who from the beginning have inexplicably clung to the hope for “something of value” from “Gavel Gamut”. Those persons shall remain anonymous to preserve their reputations and perhaps stave off mental commitment petitions.
Over the years I have delved into subjects from the serendipitous to the scatological and the topical to the long-forgotten. I have eulogized some heroes and castigated some villains. Frequently I have followed the Friends TV show formula and written about nothing. Through it all, no one seemed to take note, whether to cheer or jeer. I remain gratified by the benign neglect.
Now, today’s column falls into that realm of nostalgia where I have sometimes wandered such as when sadness, personal or political, took control of my pen. You see, Gentle Reader, Peg, who has often been unfairly abused in this column, and I are nearing the end of our 6 month mission to the country of Georgia. We are homesick, but already sense the missing of our new Georgian friends and the many enriching experiences we have enjoyed with them.
Should you be one of those “Gavel Gamut” followers who regularly whiles away your down time with this column you may recall that I was contacted by the President of the National Judicial College last spring about working with the Georgian judiciary for the American Bar Association, the United States Agency for International Development and the East-West Management Institute. Peg and I said yes then and are now two weeks from completing our mission here. Our general rules of engagement were to observe Georgian judges in court and, if asked, offer any relevant information about how America’s judicial experience might help enhance Georgian judicial independence and court access.
We have found the Georgian judges and their court staffs to be hard working, friendly and open to positive suggestions. We have averaged approximately one formal presentation a week and observed many daily court hearings. It has been a true learning experience for us and, I hope, of value to our Georgian colleagues. At least they have had the graciousness to tell us it has.
Georgia is a beautiful country of four million friendly people who are justly proud of their 8,000 year old culture that includes the claimed origin of wine and wonderfully complex and interesting cuisines. We have gained both friends and pounds in carrying out the social aspects of our tour.
As with all the peoples Peg and I have had the pleasure to work with through my membership on the faculty of the National Judicial College, the Georgian people all speak highly of their friendship with America. They appreciate the generosity of Americans and look to us for leadership in international relations. It has been gratifying to us to work with Palestinians, Ukrainians, Russians and Georgians who have opened their hearts to us and our beloved country. It will be sweet to get home, but bittersweet to leave.