What a great day! My last day on the bench was truly memorable. I adjourned court early to get to a cake and coffee reception at the Courthouse. It was so very nice to have so many people stop by, sign the guestbook, and wish me well as I retired.
Then, off to Winthrop for the after-hours open house. Oh, my, what a memorable event! Of course, Patty was there, with my three children and seven grandchildren. Five of my seven siblings, an aunt and uncle and several cousins came out, too. Former law clerks, court administrators, attorneys and probation officers stopped by. Lions Club members, brothers from the Masonic fraternity. I had friends from my technology days for the State Court system come to my event – one all the way from Atlanta, Georgia and another from Sacramento, California!
A Minnesota Supreme Court Justice came out to present me with a certificate of appreciation from the Supreme Court, and another from the Governor. The Chief Judge of the First Judicial District also presented a certificate. I received a certificate proclaiming July 10, 2014, as “Judge Thomas G. McCarthy Day in the City of Duluth”, signed by Mayor Don Ness, my nephew. Wow!
My talented grandsons provided music for the evening, including one of the true highlights of the night for me: My entire family singing “Puff the Magic Dragon.”
Back in the olden days, before Gameboys and portable DVD players, families had to entertain themselves on road trips. The McCarthy family would play the alphabet game, the “I see …” game and several other road games. And we would always have a sing-along. And the sing-along would always include “Puff”.
Puff is not only the official McCarthy family song, it is a song of transition. Little Jackie Paper got tired of playing with painted wings and giants’ rings, so he didn’t come to visit Puff any more. What an appropriate song for a different kind of transition! A transition from a professional life that I truly loved to a new stage in my life and a new set of priorities.
The weekend was spent with grandchildren. In a way, it was not much different than a normal, long weekend from work. As I write this during the weekend, I wonder how it will feel come Monday morning, when I stay home and Patty goes off to work. Not bad, I’ll bet!
I have been so blessed in so many ways. I can’t wait to see what the next stage brings!
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Next week: Choosing a jury