For several years, beginning in 1957, Allen Bird’s daddy worked with my daddy at the Alger-Sullivan Sawmill Company in Century, FL (at the time, the largest sawmill east of the Mississippi River). My mama taught Allen how to type at Century High School and Daddy taught him to play tennis. His mama sat next to me in the church choir with her delicious contralto voice, and they lived right across the street from us for all that time. After graduation, Allen served in the Navy, then got a law degree from the University of Arkansas before getting his LLM from New York University about 1973. In other words, as my sainted Great Aunt Mary Belle would have said (however judgmentally), Allen Bird is quality folk.
And, as fate would have it, after graduation from law school, he joined a small Little Rock practice called the Rose Law Firm, where he and another freshly minted attorney, Hillary Clinton, struggled in tandem for more than a decade to build the firm and their careers.
In other words, as fate would have it, I am
blessed to have a childhood friend who is the perfect antidote to all the hype and bluster on the 24-hour news. A real, solid friend from way back when who actually knew Hillary Clinton during her salad days, and who, for fifteen years, worked as closely with her as pretty much anyone else on the planet. Until now, both he and I have remained very circumspect regarding this election. After all, there has been more than enough sturm und drang to go around. But, just the other day, Allen finally threw in his two cents about the bright young attorney he knew from the inside-out during those years, and as I found his words both refreshing and informative, I asked and gained permission from him to repost them here in the hope that they will also be instructive for you. That said, wherever you fall on the spectrum, I’m wishing you all a marvelous fall weekend!
From Allen Bird:
Although I normally try to keep my comments on Facebook apolitical, I think I have some personal insight into her character and personality, and I have been thinking for some time about posting something about Hillary.
For over 15 years I saw her almost every day and had at least some casual conversation with her. She and I, and other partners, helped run a small business together, the Rose Law Firm. I saw first hand her creative and practical solutions to our challenges.
I was with her during the good times when things went well, and the bad times—when her husband was defeated in his run for re-election as governor. I was with her and Bill when they had disagreements, and when they celebrated.
I was neither of their best friends, but I think that I know her—and she is an honest, kind, ethical, intelligent and caring human being. I went to her when I heard she was pregnant and saw the tears in her eyes when we talked about the awesome responsibility of parenthood. Gosh, it’s hard for me to believe that she and I are both now grandparents.
I worked with her on various legal matters and saw her passion for her client’s cause and her brilliance in forming the best argument for their success.
I was with her when we had some ethical issues to resolve and never once did she veer from the path of solid and responsible resolution.
She asked me to represented her and Bill during some of the Whitewater investigation relating to the spec house they built at the Whitewater Estates. She never once asked me to do anything unethical or take any position not ethical or supported by the law.
I haven’t had much contact with her since 1993 when she and the President-Elect moved to Washington. Maybe she has morphed into something I wouldn’t recognize, as her detractors claim—but I don’t think so.
It now amazes me that her adversaries have been so successful in their campaign to demonize Hillary by constantly investigating her for the last decade and why so many Americans now think that she must have done something wrong or there wouldn’t have been all those investigations. Once we all had respect for the Congress and assumed that if the Majority Leader or others with titles said it–it must be so. Not any more.
Yes, I will vote for Hillary because I know who she was as a young wife, mother, and lawyer. I’m not afraid of a strong woman leading our country—in fact I welcome it.
I am not interested in your views of Hillary today, so don’t feel compelled to respond. All I am offering is a snapshot of Early Hillary. Take it or leave it.
I trust her to be my leader and Commander In Chief, because I know her.
Allen Bird, reprinted by permission
© 2016 by George Thomas Wilson. All rights reserved (but this time around, please feel free to share, post, reprint or skywrite).