After I sent out notice of the birth of my newest granddaughter, Rebecca Louise, I received an e-mail response from a very dear friend. It simply said, “ and you are not a rich man?” Immediately, my friend had taken me back to the birth of my first child, Walter, almost 39 years ago.
In my last year of law school, several law students were offered great paying jobs as part-time campus police. The school had decided to upgrade its campus security and was hiring and training new officers. To supplement its existing force the new police administrator had the idea to hire law students part-time until the new force could be trained. I was one of the lucky few who were offered a job at what seemed at the time to be “good money”– $4.00 @ hour. We worked the graveyard shift, were not allowed to carry any kind of weapon, and were simply supposed to call in anything suspicious, and hand out parking tickets. We often walked the campus paired with an experienced officer, and occasionally drove around the greater campus. I was often paired with Officer McSherry who spoke with a brogue and would seem at home in New York or Boston Police Forces. I had known him since I had been a freshman in undergraduate school. He would occasionally visit with me and my team mates and entertain us with stories, and we never tired of them. I enjoyed being paired with him, time flew those dark nights.
After Walter’s birth, I was talking with him, and I probably was telling how having a baby, going to law school, etc., was causing me to go further and further in debt. I am sure I was complaining about being poor. He got serious with me for one of the few times I remembered, and he said, “ Hubbell how much would you take for Walter right now — a million dollars?” I, of course demurred and said, “ No, not even for a million dollars.” He then began to laugh and said, “ and you are not a rich man?”
My dear friend knew this story because we have consistently reminded each other of our true “riches,” over the years. Forbes Magazine measures fortunes, lists billionaires, and identifies wealthy sports celebrities. These lists sell magazines, but as I rock Rebecca in my arms and think of all my children and grandchildren who have experienced similar cradling, I hear McSherry’s wisdom, “ … and you are not a rich man?,” in my head. I answer in a prayer, “Yes I am, the richest man alive.”