This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 2, 2005 3:00 PM. The previous post in this blog was Hitting the fan. The next post in this blog is Center of the blues universe, for a weekend. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Saturday, July 2, 2005

Brushes with greatness

What did Luther Vandross, who died yesterday, have in common with Justice Sandra O'Connor, who announced her retirement yesterday?

I have eaten lunch within a few feet of each of them.

Justice O'Connor attended the same law school that I did. At reunions, law alumni from all eras have a box lunch under a tent outside the law school on Saturday before heading to the football stadium. One year in the '90s somewhere, there she was, back to back with me as we tore into some barbecued chicken. It felt so cool; of course, part of the coolness was to act like she was no big deal.

Mr. Vandross was at a nearby table in the fancy restaurant at the RiverPlace Hotel here in Portland one day in 1991 when I was in there wining and dining a prospective addition to the faculty of the school at which I teach. Back in the day when I chaired the faculty recruitment effort, we did pretty well, and it was partly because I could point out the many good things about Portland without even thinking about what a waste of money many of them were. Anyhow, being able to casually say, "Oh, look, there's Luther Vandross," as we left the place was just part of the sales pitch.

We landed that recruit, and she's been a star with us for more than a dozen years. Thanks, Luther.

Clicky Web Analytics