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Other Voices: HCBA Past President Kim Lowe

Posted By HCBA President Paul Floyd, Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Periodically, in addition to the regular monthly updates to the President’s Blog, the HCBA will be publishing posts from other voices. The guest blogger for this month, HCBA Past-President Kim Lowe, reminds us of the need to take a vacation for our health and well-being. In short, getting away for summer is always a good thing especially here in Minnesota with our winters.

-Paul Floyd, HCBA President

Summer Vacation!

By Kim Lowe

Your immediate past-president reporting in from my summer “vacation” in Stowe, Vt., where I am at the Uniform Law Commissioner’s 2016 Annual Conference.  For many lawyers, myself included, the concept of vacation is very hard to wrestle to the ground. The lyrics of The Go-Go’s 1982 smash hit Vacation accurately describe my love-hate relationship with vacation and work:

Vacation, all I ever wanted
Vacation, had to get away
Vacation, meant to be spent alone

A week without you
Thought I'd forget
Two weeks without you and I
Still haven't gotten over you yet

Since starting practice, I have yet to take a vacation that did not include my laptop as well as a plan to accomplish at least some work while on “vacation.”  And of course, I have never “vacationed” without constant connection by voice and email. As I transition through the middle of my career, however, I am attempting to bring a more mindful and healthful approach to vacation at least during the summertime.

With this hope in mind, I turn my attention further to the music of the summer.  I want to start this audible journey first with the aria Summertime (lyrics to song) from George Gershwin’s 1935 Porgy and Bess folk opera.  According to more than a few commenters, there are more than 25,000 recordings of Summertime. Much like vacation, Summertime can be cast in many different perspectives.  Enjoy an audible tour through this great tune and consider your own thoughts about summer and vacation.   

For those who appreciate the irony of jazz, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s 1958 production of Summertime sets a beautiful and luscious tonal exploration of the mood of summertime and presumably vacation: 

Summertime, and the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy's rich and your ma is good-lookin'
So hush little baby, Don't you cry

If we skip forward to Janis Joplin’s 1969 live performance of Summertime, an amazing rendition drenched in the sound of the hippie counterculture that exemplifies the anguish to the song, the second operative verse exemplifies the goal of vacation:

One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky

Norah Jones also took a run at SummertimeHer rendition is lighter than the Fitzgerald or Joplin version, but still impressive.  Much as my perspective on vacation has changed over the year, a song that transcends eight decades goes through more than a few changes. 

So as I ponder my feet while I sit at the pool trying to not check my email, I reflect on my thoughts on vacation or at least on time away from work.  Ironically, much as Summertime does not seem to be going away as an iconic standard, my inability to disconnect from work seems to be alive and kicking.  

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