The Man Who Drank Pancake Syrup

And why I am undefeated as a criminal defense lawyer.

Orrin Onken
Crow’s Feet
Published in
7 min readJun 12, 2024

--

AI Image. Prompt by Author

It started with a call from the courthouse. Our local judge had directed Emily, the probate coordinator, to find a lawyer for the protected person in a conservatorship. I was the next guy on the bailout list, that list of lawyers willing to step into a probate proceeding when there was somebody without a lawyer who the judge felt needed one. That call led me to William.

I logged into the court docket and looked at William’s file. He had dementia and was currently in a top-tier care center near where I practiced elder law. His son, William Jr., had been appointed his guardian and conservator. As guardian, the son decided what kind of medical care William would get and he had done a good job with that responsibility. As conservator, he managed his father’s property, and that was where the trouble lay.

William had owned a small farm on the outskirts of Portland. It produced little if any income, but as the city expanded, the land had become valuable. William’s wife had died many years earlier and his son, although now in charge of his affairs, had opted out of farm life in his late teens and never come back. William’s most frequent contact in the neighborhood had been his next-door neighbor, Ed, a hobby farmer in his fifties who’d made his way in the…

--

--

Orrin Onken
Crow’s Feet

I am a retired elder law attorney who lives near Portland, Oregon. I write legal mysteries for Salish Ponds Press and articles about being old.