And, there are those stories some folks don't believe when I tell them. But, one should ask: why would she make that up and better yet, could she make that up? The following is but one example.
The Judge's husband had many well known friends. Most were hunters who coveted invitations to his world class hunting lands. Once they came, they found southern hospitality at its best and genuinely nice people. Then the guests introduced the Judge and her husband to their friends. And, it went on from there. This group included pro baseball players, politicians, ect.
Also among the group was Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks (as in the country duo Brooks and Dunn). Anytime they were touring nearby, they would invite the Judge and her husband to visit and see the performance. Needless to say, they has fabulous seats, and were with Ronnie and Kix before and after the performance.
One of the years they were nominated for the CMA"Duo of the Year", they invited the Judge and her husband to come to the award ceremony in Nashville and sit with them. The Judge's husband really wanted to go. The Judge had one issue, the award ceremony was during one of our court weeks. She also wanted to attend, but she knew she could not miss court.
When we got to Richmond, she walked in my office,"See if you can get me a round trip ticket to Nashville on Wednesday. I"ll need to leave after I get off the bench, say around 2:30 or so." "What time for a return flight?" "Oh, sometime after midnight." "You're serious about this?" "This sounds like a lot of fun, I don't know want to miss it."
After much searching, I found I could get her to Nashville that afternoon, but the last flight out was at 10 o'clock and I had a feeling that wouldn't do. When I told her what was available, all she said was, "Let me see what I can do." I knew from experience she was a lot better than I was at many things, but making airline reservations was something I prided myself at being able to do. And, I was usually able to find a way to get most places at the right time for a decent price - it there was a flight.
The next morning she came in and smiled. "Make me a one way flight Wednesday afternoon to Nashville leaving around 2:30." "No return flight?" "No." "OK, I'll bite, how are you going to get back for court at 9:00 Thursday morning?" "Bill Elliot's jet." (as in NASCAR driver Bill Elliot) The expression on my face asked for more.
"When I told my husband there was no way I could make it up there and back from Richmond, he made some calls. Bill was happy to send his jet to Nashville that evening. His pilot will just wait at the airport. When I'm ready to come back to Richmond, he'll be ready to bring me back." Talk about pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Then she added, "And, I do not want anyone to know I am going. I'm just going to tell them I have an appointment so I'll not be able to go to lunch or dinner with the other judges. They won't think another thing of it."
So, Wednesday afternoon, as soon as she got off the bench, she went to the hotel, got her bags (with her formal attire and God knows what else!) and took a taxi to the airport. If anyone asked, we all stuck to the story, And, the next morning she was in Chambers, on time ready for court, looking as lovely as always.
My first question was (of course), "How was it?" "Oh it was so much fun. You know they won "Duo of the Year" so the party Arista had was over the top. I met so many fun people. I can't remember the last time I had that much fun." "What time did you get back?"
"Oh, that's the best part. I got back around 5 this morning. You know that is about the same time I am usually leaving the hotel to go work out. When the night security man opened the door to let me in, he was quite puzzled.All he could say was 'Judge, did you have a good time? You look wonderful.' As I walked to the elevator, I know he was trying to figure out what was going on - here I am coming in at that time of the morning dressed in a formal gown. Then when I got to my room and looked in the mirror, it was even funnier. I was covered from head to toe with glitter from the Arista party."
"I was just wondering what happens if someone saw you on television last night? I didn't see it, but when they won, I know the cameras panned to them and if you were sitting right there." "Oh, that's the beauty of it. If they saw me, they would never believe it was me. After all, how could I have gotten to Nashville and back in time for court?" She had a point.