Been thinking about you a lot today, so I figured I’d write to you and let you know how my day is going. I had to get up early (for me, anyway) and drive to Pawhuska today. I was nervous, because I had to appear before a judge and possibly testify. I remember you telling me about testifying when you had that car accident back in the mid-nineties. Didn’t you get t-boned by a Jenks driving instructor? I remember it being ridiculous on some level. Anyway, this wasn’t for any kind of accident; it was to settle your estate. Still, it was a courtroom and I’d never been in one before.
I accidentally turned my alarm off this morning, but ended up being okay; I woke up three minutes after my ‘final snooze’ deadline all on my own. Thanks for that. I had set out a nice shirt, one of your ties, and a jacket to wear. I understand you’re supposed to dress up for court. I grabbed your tie bar, too; the one with the embossed ‘M’ on it. I felt it would be a subtle yet sharp way to let the world know I am your son. I left the house a little before 8:30 and hit the road.
They’ve opened the Quicktrip at Highway 75 and Highway 20. I know how often you made this drive, and know that you would’ve appreciated having it out here. I stopped and got coffee. When I arrived in Pawhuska, I noted the new Mcdonald’s was open, too. You had always complained about the lack of food options in P-town, and I’m sorry you weren’t there to take advantage of it. No matter; I wasn’t hungry. Before long I found myself sitting with my lawyer, going over last minute details and possible questions the judge may ask me. I remember remarking fondly about the fact that he used a lot of Big Chief tablets to take notes, however it now wore on me, as he wasn’t well organized. I helped him with some math to take care of our final creditors and we went to the courthouse on time.
At the Osage County Courthouse, if you didn’t know, the Probate Court time takes place right after domestic dispute cases, stuff like restraining orders. I sat in the courtroom and listened to a few cases before it was my turn and tried to avoid eye contact. I felt like I’d tapped into personal phone conversations, and emotions were high. Before I knew it, it was time for our case. My palms were sweaty but I walked tall to the front and sat in front of the judge. He and my lawyer (a former judge himself) had a friendly banter regarding the required information, the judge asked me if everything was in order, and signed off. Way easier than I expected, and I was relieved.
As I walked out of the court house, the sun came out for a little bit. Thanks for that, too. It’s been a rough 24 hours as I prepared to lay this last task to rest before moving on in earnest. I still hear your laugh and still look at my phone, hoping you will call me, though I know that time is now long past. It’s been three months since my world changed, but I’m managing okay. I have a lot of friends and family that have helped me. I also have you to talk to, anytime, and for that I am thankful.
Miss you, Dad. Love you. I’ve enclosed a picture of myself and the Mustang; I want you to know I’m taking extra special care of it for you.