It was a bit of small world the first time he volunteered for me. He spoke of being involved in the rule of law and somehow a particular jail was brought up. The one my grandmother and a few other county commissioners spent the night at before it opened. My favorite political cartoon of my grandmother comes from that event.
"What was her name?" The magistrate asked me, and I told him. He smiled broadly. "I knew your grandmother. I knew your grandfather."
Regularly, he'll mention how much he enjoys volunteering under me. That if my days of obligations ever changed, as would his days of volunteerism. He brings me issues of National Geographic because I no longer have a subscription. Because he knows I'll read them. One of the last times we interacted, we spoke of books from our childhood.
He popped by today, to remind me it was his birthday. The Matron was tossing a bit of gathering down at the local pizzeria to celebrate. He wanted to make sure I was coming by for at least a libation.
"Oh, and happy birthday," the magistrate said, handing me a book. "Even though it's not your birthday."
It was that book from my childhood I'd told him about; Everyone Knows What a Dragon looks Like. The book that made it possible for me to believe a friend of mine was possessed of dragon mojo. That dragons can frolic in the form of clouds. I was nearly rendered speechless. There was a lump in my throat, the same kind I had the day my daughter graduated high school.
"It's my unbirthday, Signore," I said finally, my voice just above a whisper. Then, I regained my composure-hou lian, hei tsin. With a bit of smirk I said; "I'll be there. If anything, I owe you a drink. Or two."