Now if that doesn't top it all

Some people come out on top, no matter what they do. Like our Chief Magistrate Judge Warren P. Davis, who, among other honors, has received the William McMahon Award from the American Bar Association and the "Man of the Year" award from La Vision, a bilingual newspaper.

And even when it comes to giving excuses, he tops anything I've ever heard. Last February, when I was recruiting readers for Dr. Seuss' birthday, I called Judge Davis, expecting him to read as usual. (I volunteer to do this so when I write my poem, I know I'll have names that rhyme with something.)

Anyway, Judge Davis declined because he'd be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro that day. And it wasn't something he'd come up with at the last minute. He'd worked long and hard on this one.

"Selecting a training regime was difficult," Judge Davis said. "The first Web sites I reviewed contended that Kilimanjaro climbers must be able be to run at least six miles in 48 minutes. With that information, I did the only thing that a prudent AARP member could do. I looked for other Web sites with less rigorous requirements."

He and his wife, Elizabeth Belden, began training in October for their March climb up the world's highest free-standing mountain, which at 19,340 feet, would be like a dozen Stone Mountains piled on top of each other.

"Primarily, we worked at the YMCA on cardiovascular and strength-building exercises," he said. "We spent weekends carrying loaded backpacks several times per day up and down Stone Mountain or Kennesaw Mountain."

This was the first mountain Judge Davis had ever climbed, but he now plans to conquer Mount Rainier in Washington and Machu Picchu in Ecuador.

Despite my disappointment that he could not read for Dr. Seuss' birthday, I can't judge him too harshly for not serving time in the library that day. After all, this getaway was partly inspired by a book, "1000 Places to See Before You Die," by Patricia Shultz, which included Mount Kilimanjaro. And while the rest of us wore silly striped hats and read books like "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" he was putting those words into action by actually going someplace.

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.