Here I am sitting in the corner of a dark bar and raising a glass or two to the memory of Sy. This is how Sy would have wanted to be remembered. I sent several private emails and asked readers to report on Sy's funeral, and here is the first one I received. So through the miracle of "mobile blogging" I post this email:
Rumpole: Here are the details from Sy's funeral. There was as expected a large turnout of lawyers, Judges, and at least one client in shorts and a tee shirt. The Reverend(???) who ran the ceremony did not know Sy and he invited anyone to speak on their memories of Sy.
Stan Blake started off on behalf of the Judges of the 11th Judicial Circuit. He remembered how when Sy would say that he was almost too choked up to talk about his case, Stan would invite Sy to have a seat and let the rest of the lawyers go and Sy could call the case when he regained his composure. Almost immediately Sy would recover and talk about the case. When Sy would close with his famous of line of "just once wanting to hear the word 'granted' in this courtroom" Stan would inquire if Sy had anywhere else to be. Upon being informed by Sy that he had several more courtrooms to go to, Stan would say "your motion to leave is granted."
A man whose name I did not get, but who knew Sy for 70 of his 75 years spoke. He and Sy grew up together in the Bronx, NY. He and Sy liked to joke that they were the oldest living former Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. He recalled that Sy was drafted into the Marine Corps and sent "beyond the front lines in Korea." Sy saw terrible action and combat in Korea and was haunted by the horrors of war for the rest of his life.
Retired Judge Robert Dehl spoke that when he first became a Judge in 1964 Sy was already a courthouse regular. He remarked that he was one of the many people who were surprised at Sy's ability when he presided over a jury trial with Sy, which Sy won.
David Markus gave the best speech of the night. He and Sy shared office space together for many years. David told us that Sy was a published author who wrote and published short stories under a pen name. David spoke of the lessons he learned from Sy about law and life. David was poignant in remarking that while Sy may have rarely heard the word "granted" in court, he often heard the words "not guilty" after trial. David spoke about Sy's caring and concern for his clients and that Sy often represented people who could not pay. David also spoke about how modest Sy was. Sy wouldn't even save the wonderful article Susannah Nesmith wrote about him in the Herald, so David had it framed for him. And David recounted how genuinely touched Sy was to learn that he was included with 10 other giants in the Miami legal community when he was awarded the Miami Legal Legend award with such others like Janet Reno and Chesterfield Smith.
Judge Julio Jiminez who was partner with Sy for five years spoke. Judge Jiminez spoke about how one day he had a conversation with Sy about the need to raise their legal fees. A few days later Sy gave him 25.00 and told him to cover a case the following day. Julio asked what the $25.00 was for and Sy said "it's half the legal fee." Julio responded "Didn't I just have a conversation with you about raising our rates?"
Rumpole, Sy went out with love and laughter and it is all he could have asked for, and just what he deserved.
Rumpole says: Well done indeed.
You need not worry as I have secured a safe ride home.