I have always been a planner. That means, of course, that I have been thinking about this foreword for years. It is my last.

I notice as I pack up my things and begin to take stock that I have used this space to catalogue my professional life (and on more than a few occasions, my personal life as well). I have confessed to you how easily distracted I am whenever my work takes me to the library, (1) how much time I spend reading for pleasure, (2) and how readily I give in to the summons of a why-is-that if one happens to catch my eye. (3) I have let you see how closely I follow the legal news, (4) and you have perhaps deduced that I would follow it closely even if doing so were not an essential part of this job.

I have made it clear that, among the Justices, I admire Robert Jackson most of all, (5) and you have probably figured out that I was born so long ago that I can hardly believe in the existence of Justices O'Connor, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. (6) I have also let you know how much I admire the writing of Thomas Jefferson, (7) the work of the Founders, (8) and the courage of Margaret Chase Smith. (9) I have told you a little about my parents, (10) and you cannot have failed to notice that my outlook has been shaped in part by my lifelong connection to Maine. (11)

You may not have realized, however, that I always pictured you--a curious, intelligent, and well-informed reader--as I began to write. I hoped each time I started that you might already share, or would come to share, at least some of my interests and enthusiasms. And I hoped by the end of every foreword to have left you thinking about something new.

My plan for this final foreword reminded me to note toward its end that I hoped someday to meet you, to shake your hand, to thank you for reading, and to suggest that we go get a cup of coffee--doubtless in some little place where there was always a line and never more than a couple of open seats. But those ways are behind us. That world is gone. And of course I knew even in the best of times that we were unlikely to meet in real life. So please understand from this foreword that I appreciate your sticking with The Journal--and with me--for all these years.

Trusting that you will indulge me one last time, I close by telling you that my plan called for me to address just one of my readers here at the end. To tell him that he will understand years from now that whatever story I set out to share each time I used...

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