LONGTIME-JUDGE-TURNED-AUTHOR DALE CATHELL SHARES HIS INSPIRATION FOR HIS LATEST BOOK ABOUT FRIEND PETE BOINIS AND THE JOYS OF HIS SECOND CAREER
CSM: How did you and Pete Boinis meet, and in what year?
DC: We met in Ocean City around 1969. Shortly thereafter, I became one of his attorneys.
What about his personality drew you to become such good friends?
We were two young guys working in a beach resort, running in the same circles. He was running the best restaurant in town, where I took my wife-to-be. Pete and I both came from relatively modest means and were having certain levels of success. I was the city attorney for Ocean City. He had the best restaurant. We just clicked.
When did you discover your interest in becoming a published author, and what about writing gives you the most satisfaction?
When I was 69 years old, I got tired of thinking about writing a book. I told myself to either quit fretting over it or start writing.
Believe it or not, I love the actual writing process, seeing words come together, going from one point to another. It’s a lot like using navigational aids, going from way point to another way point. When I first got out of law school, another guy and I went offshore, about 60-70 miles, in a 15-foot outboard with only a compass and portable radio. We would home in on the strongest signal from a local station and from that and the compass figure out a way home. Writing is a lot like that for me! Figuring out a way home.
What year did you retire from the bench?
In Maryland, the state constitution requires all judges to retire when they turn 70. Accordingly, I retired in 2007. We call it constitutional senility. But the constitution also permits retired judges to be recalled when needed. I still get recalled. Incidentally, I was the second judge in Maryland to be appointed to every level of the state court system. I went on the bench in 1980 and still sit occasionally. At the appellate levels, I wrote over 1,000 opinions – that, in a way, was great training for this next life. Thus, the use of footnotes, not end notes, in my books.
Do you have another book in the works?
I am beginning to think of my next project — it will probably be a book about the great ladies who created Ocean City or about the great sportfishing families that developed after the great hurricane of 1933.