Peacock Tales • Winter 2011

There and Back Again

By Barbara A. Graham

Reflecting on sabbatical leave has been a Peacock Keller tradition; I will not break that tradition. Nor will I break the tradition of expressing heartfelt appreciation to my partners, the Peacock Keller staff, and the Firm's clients, for affording Darryl, Jessica, Matthew and me this wonderful opportunity.

Two overall impressions: sabbaticals are great fun, but the time passes far too quickly.

Initially, I finalized plans for our family's great adventure, our sojourn to Germany, England and France. We traveled first to Munich, then to Fussen, to tour Bavaria's premier castles, Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. From there, my intrepid husband drove us along the Romantic Road, with stops at Nordlingen and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and on to Mainz, to fulfill my lifelong dream - a Rhine River cruise. Germany was lovely, incredibly verdant. Sadly, only I enjoyed Germany; a delay, cold weather, food poisoning, an unfamiliar language, and a disdain for German cuisine convinced Jess and Matt to remove Germany from future travel itineraries. (Fortunately, Darryl has not yet objected to my suggestion that he and I return in a few years.)

Our next stop was London. We did the "touristy" things - rode the Eye, toured the Tower of London, watched the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, visited Parliament and Westminster Abbey. But my favorite memories are the strolls through Hyde Park, watching Matt kick around his soccer ball, and listening to Sir Paul McCartney perform in the amphitheater. I was also pleasantly surprised by the interest both Jessica and Matt displayed in the Imperial War Museum.

We arrived in Paris, just as the heat wave arrived. We all have interesting memories of the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Couer and Montmarte, Versailles, the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Seine, the Arc de Triomphe, and of course, the Champs Elysees. One of my favorite memories, however, was watching Jess and Matt devour nutella banana crepes at an outside bistro.

Once home, the months flew by. I chauffeured the kids to their friends' homes, the wave pool, the movies, the lake, the rec center, riding and guitar lessons, soccer and baseball games, and anywhere else their imaginations suggested. Jessica and I ran (though I often walked) most mornings, and then let the day play out. We entertained beloved relatives from Illinois, and I visited Texas and Louisiana to spend time with friends and family. I read, just for the fun of it, and I was finally able to volunteer to transport other children. I discovered my nascent love (and, if I may be so bold, talent) for cooking.

And yes, we did tackle those "deferred maintenance" projects. My list was probably overly ambitious, despite my willingness to paint anything, but when I look around our home and yard now, I am pleased with what we accomplished.

So I begin 2011, refreshed and ready to go, and more convinced than ever that the best career move I ever made was joining Peacock Keller. Again, thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

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