The Daily


In 1962, I was born in Morgantown, West Virginia. My parents were young co-eds at the University. Mom was a Chi Omega and Dad a Phi Psi. She taught at a local school on the side and he played basketball and served as the  Mountaineer mascot.

I remember my phone ringing in my room at the Phi Psi house in 1981 when I was a sophomore at Washington and Lee University. It was early and I was asleep. More accurately, hungover. As I tried to shake my cranium awake, I heard the unmistakable bellicose yells of my Father’s voice on the other end. “CONGRATULATIONS!! You made it longer than I did without having a kid!” He hung up before I could say anything. As the fog lifted, I realized he was talking about me. I was nineteen, lying in a fraternity house room occupied by a tarantula, two loft beds and my roommate. Beer cans and cups were strewn around the room mixed with audio equipment, records and the remains of the night. It was a surreal moment.

Four years later, I was still in Lexington, Virginia – but in the law school this time – sitting in Tax class. My professor, the inimitable Timothy Phillips – a small force of nature that nobody ever forgot once coming into contact with him (even for a short time). I was expecting a visit from Dad, but not in class. He didn’t even know which room I was in. Suddenly, the door to the lecture hall threw open and I heard that familiar deep yell again, “PHILLIPS!” I turned to see my Father bounding down the stairs toward the front – right past me. He embraced my professor warmly – and got a long hug back. Phillips had taught Tax at WVU when my parents were there and he and Tim had been poker buddies. He’d recognized the sound of Phillips’ voice and just followed it – not knowing or caring that I was in the room. We used to laugh about that. A lot. Also, I passed Tax even though I had no idea what was going on and Phillips undoubtedly knew that. So …