The Following is a short story written by David R. Tanis that was submitted to, and won first place in the North Carolina Bar Association writing contest.
THE REDEMPTION OF HAMISH O’HALLORAN
David R. Tanis
No one really knew where he came from. When anybody asked he would just say he was from here. He was old enough that none of the other attorneys remembered when he wasn’t a fixture in the old Court House that occupied the center of the sleepy old southern town of Pine Ridge.
Of course, Hamish O’Halloran wasn’t the kind of antebellum name that could be related to the old solid aristocracy and other land owning families in the area. Nevertheless, he had a queer kind of pedigree for just having been there so long.
He was a tall, gaunt man in his sixties, somewhat Lincolnesque. His hair was thinning, but he wore it in a scraggly pony tail the color of dish water. He usually sported a rumpled old suit which seemed to be one of two that he alternated regularly without bothering to ever send to the cleaners. He wore nondescript ties and a white shirt that never seemed quite white and was usually frayed at the collar. His lack of sartorial splendor was just one of the many factors that did not endear the old barrister to the other members of the bar.
He held himself aloof, never bothering to engage in the legal prattle or Court House gossip that so delighted the other members of the bar. When he would find himself in the little lounge that was the hangout of the other District Court denizens he sipped his coffee diffidently, did the unchallenging cross word puzzle and casually perused the local newspaper, spending most of his time on the obituaries and trivia that was the local news. He was polite enough, responding with a nod or a good morning, to the kindly few that deigned to acknowledge him but he didn’t appear to have what you would call friends among members of the bar.
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