3rd episode in the Snapshots on a Small Town series
Welcome! My name is Richard. Richard Campbell. Lawyer to some, family to few, and friend to all. You met me in the introductions of Felicia and Darrel, two very fine town members and I thought it was about time I introduce myself.
My family were original settlers of this area. Came over from Scotland. Our name is Gaelic for crooked mouth – seemed appropriate for a lawyer. I was born in the 70s, raised by two of a small group of hippies in town. My grandparents derive great joy from telling the story of how I was almost named Moonbeam but in the end my parents decided on Richard to honor my recently deceased grandfather on my mother’s side of the family. Can we all say a loud “Whew!”for that.
Originally my family were merchants, and by the time I came along they owned half of Main Street. They owned and operated a General Mercantile and the local greasy spoon. Later, as different family members had different interests – the new stores to come along reflected that – an art dealer and a sewing shop just to name a few. My own wife decided to join them and opened her own gift store full of odds and ends. Me – I had no desire to be a retailer. From my first fight on the playground protecting my best friend Timmy from bullies, everyone knew I’d grow up to be a protector. They assumed I would join the local police force but I had other ideas. After high school, I went off to our state college and eventually got my law degree. I put out my shingle on Main Street in a small group of offices over my wife’s store.
As the town lawyer, I am involved in much that goes on around here. I’ve been helping Felicia out with her divorce – a nasty struggle with her soon to be ex-husband over everything from the dog to who gets the kitchen appliances. It’s actually the young girlfriend Chloe that wants so much but Jonathan refuses to put his foot down and do what’s right by Felicia. Chloe had been one of Felicia’s students and after being invited to Felicia’s house a few times for help with class, and well, then it became a story as old as time. Mid-life crisis, young coveting co-ed. It’s a sad shame. My heart breaks for Felicia every time I look into her soulful eyes.
Then there is Darrel. The man worked for my grandfather back in the day. His son is actually my client. Thinks his father is going senile and shouldn’t be living on his own. Wants him to go live in a retirement facility of which the town had a few. I shook my head thinking of Darrel and made a mental note to find out what those animal rights activist had done with his cats.
My own extended family was so large that we can just take care of our own and not have to worry about having the talk. We owned several homes between the lot of us but the original family home still stood in all it’s splendor near Main Street. It was passed down to the first born son after his wedding day, at which point his parents would move into one of the other family homes or buy a new one. As family members got to old to take care of themselves, they were moved into one of the many bedrooms in the main home where they were looked after by the younger generation. Every one knew the way it had always been so there was never any arguing about it. It just was. And somehow it just worked out room-wise. The house was close to church, and it was much better to be close to church. My son recently took over the house and has his great-grandmother and great aunt living with him and his new bride. My wife and I bought a nice lake home in a small , nearby neighborhood. By the time we pay it off, we will be moving back to the family home. That is all fine by me.
I am off to the town board meeting. My feet feel heavier and heavier as I approach the building. Before I walk through the door, I plaster a smile on my face and direct it at a client that you will meet soon, Rachel Bloomquist, who is waiting for me in the lobby. I won’t get into too much detail now but basically Rachel is trying to save the town, actually started a movement by that name Save Our Town. Who was she trying to save it from you ask? Well, money grabbers generally speaking but it has recently become a fight between the good old boys and the newcomers and I am in the uncomfortable position of being on the newcomers side.