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  • Scott Gardner

Practicing Law in SW Virginia - Tee Time.

Updated: May 17

A judge (not a local judge) asks me to play in a charity golf tournament with a couple other attorneys. I gladly accept. Our tee time is 1pm. I've got a trial in the morning, but if I get there early, I'm thinking I can request to be at the front of the docket and will have plenty of time to make the tourney on time. Nice plan. On the way to the courthouse - Flat tire. No problem. I've seen Christmas Story 35 times and I'm on the flat like the Bumpas hounds on a Christmas turkey. Ffuuuuuuddge! No jack. I'm remembering giving it to my son after he called me to come change his tire last year. I call AAA. 45 minutes. Tick, tock. Well, I am in SW Virginia. Just as I'm running out of curse words, two fine southern gentlemen in a Jeep pull over and before I can roll up my sleeves, one hands me my coat and tells me to get out of their way. The other is wearing a Hokie Football T-shirt. I make no mention of current events. They operate with the precision and timing of a NASCAR pit crew and after passing out a couple of cigars and "get out of jail free" cards, I'm back on the road in a couple of minutes. I arrive at the courthouse a little wrinkled and fashionably late. The clerk advises me there are only two cases but the judge is already hearing the first - an estranged couple trying to divide their personal property, without lawyers. Tick, tock. It seems there is an issue with three missing vehicles, a kayak, and two long guns, all of which may or may not have been stolen or which may or may not have been hidden by the girlfriend. There's some back and forth kinda like watching Al and Peg Bundy on a 1am cable rerun. I'm thinking of moving for a continuance, when the boyfriend says she can keep all of it, as long as he gets his Stratocaster. "I don't have it!" "She has it your Honor. It's under her bed!" With the patience of Job the judge asks, "How do you know that?" The boyfriend hitches up his britches and says, "You can see it from her bedroom window!" Aaaaannnnnd there it is. I love a good musician story, but I've got to get to a golf tournament. More than a little late, I may or may not have left a portion of my spare tire tread on the road rounding the last curve. I pull up to the clubhouse with about 4 minutes to spare. It's a big charity tournament and local TV is covering the event. A tourney volunteer approaches and wants to retrieve my clubs from the trunk. That's about the time I first notice the blue lights. Flashing blue lights. A not so jovial police officer approaches and asks for my ID. I apologized for not seeing him and said I didn't think I was speeding. He leans into the car and says, "I clocked you a couple of miles back. You were moving so fast I actually lost sight of you for a second." Now in an instant of clarity, I'm trying to gameplan a way out of going to jail, getting this officer to write me a ticket and turn off his lights before the judge notices me or the TV cameraman swings around and everyone sees me. In the next instant, a hand appears on the officer's shoulder. It's the judge. "Sir, I don't want to tell you how to do your job, but I need this gentleman on the tee." 16 birdies, a long drive and a closest to the pin. I ease out of the parking lot 5 hours later at a smooth 15mph, listening to Fleetwood Mac "Never going back again".

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