Hammerle on… The importance of travel

Hammerle on...While I hate to admit this, the pandemic has inflicted a miserable toll on me. As a criminal defense attorney, personal interaction with prosecutors and court staff has been eliminated. This has made it difficult to resolve tough cases when you are reduced to using Zoom and emails.

On top of that, movie theaters have shut down, destroying my loving connection to a combination of social meaning and amusement. Many of you know my devotion to movie reviews, and in many ways I feel that I’m living in an episode of Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” (1959-1964).

Yet it is the inability to travel that has sucked the wind out of my sails. I had the good fortune to discover the joy of travel as a child when my parents took the family on vacation to spots ranging from Mackinac Island, Michigan, to St. Augustine, Florida. Traveling by car, I remember my mother conducting an alphabet contest where we boys tried to be first to go from A to Z using road signs. Sounds foolish, but it conquered boredom on the road.

In any event, travel became an adventure to this very day. Monica and I have been married for 32 years (or, as Mo puts it, “the best two years of my life!”) and our first trip was to Walt Disney World in Orlando. Since then we have had the good fortune to spend time in Maine, upstate New York, Quebec, Santa Fe, several parts of California, various Caribbean islands (we were married on St. Kitts), Key West, London, Germany, Rome, Florence, Istanbul and South Africa. Our greatest moments came on cruises to the Mediterranean, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Iceland and the inner passage of Alaska.

But there is more. I was divorced in my last year of law school and was given custody of our 5-year-old son by agreement. When he was under 13, I took him and his friend Beezer in my Volkswagen Beetle convertible to Ocean City, Maryland, the Black Hills of South Dakota, including Mount Rushmore, spring training baseball in Florida and a three-day rafting trip down the Green River in Colorado.

As our grandkids aged, we have taken them to San Francisco, New York, Lake Tahoe, a great excursion snowmobiling in Yellowstone and a trip with their parents to the island of Kauai. Ironically, they loved the experience of Alcatraz as much as snowmobiling past a small herd of buffalo.

And I will never forget the three-week trip to Europe with my brother, Bill, in 1974. Our goal was to experience Oktoberfest in Munich, and along the way we spent time in Dachau Concentration Camp, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Paris and Monaco on the French Riviera. We used a Eurail pass and a book entitled, “Europe on $10 a Day.”

I also should mention the trip to Europe I took with my friend Bob Wagner and two other colleagues where we visited various memorable sites from both WWI and WWII. Normandy was a tear-jerking experience, as was the Verdun Museum and Battlefield. My favorite picture of the group is at a Dunkirk Memorial.

Let me also add reference to the many March trips my bar association softball team took to Florida to play golf, go to spring training baseball and shout at the moon as the day ended. I should note that several of my teammates went on to become judges, and their identities are concealed to protect the guilty.

There is more, but I don’t want to risk boring you more than I already have. All of these trips have special meaning, and each day I wonder if future adventures have ended. In that regard, Mo and I had to cancel a 10-day cruise to Indonesia this past April for obvious reasons.

If this is it, then at least I embraced happiness at every turn. I hope our children can do the same.•

Robert Hammerle practices criminal law in Indianapolis. When he is not in the courtroom or the office, Bob can likely be found at one of his favorite movie theaters preparing to review the latest films. To read more of his reviews, visit www.bigmouthbobs.com. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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