I was educated in the East and then came West to Boulder. Six weeks after Rutgers Law saw fit to bestow a Juris Doctor degree on me, making me legally a lawyer, I arrived in Boulder with a U-Haul, April 1975. I chose that over driving a Mercedes in New Jersey, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far. That was in 1975, so I am pretty safe in confessing some things, since the statute of limitation has long past. Although there is not statute of limitations on being a youngster, or acting like one. I am sharing this true tale not because I’m proud of it, not because I recommend such behavior, but because it is funny! I believe that a real comedian can make fun of their own behavior and be comfortable with it. Here’s one of my tales of being a youngster with a summer job.

In the summer of about 1970 I was 19 years old. I was working for my father in his factory, manufacturing electron tubes. Those glass things that light up when the power is on. gray CB radioThey can perform a wide variety of functions, ranging from amplification to “rectifier” and more. They were used in everything from radar to ham radio amplifiers. They ranged in size from a few inches tall up to the “EE300″ which was a monster about 16″ tall. This (embarrassingly) true story has little to do with glass tubes.

An alternative to glass tubes were tubes made of ceramic. A section of ceramic tubing perhaps 2″ in diameter and 3” tall were the prime structure. The “insides,” the parts that did the electronic work, were already assembled. the several major pieces were stacked together. In between each layer was a gold ring. Once the “electronic sandwich” was properly stacked, the idea was to heat the tube up, melting the gold rings and forming an airtight seal between each of the 4 major parts. Note the word “airtight.” The oven that we used was 20 feet, six meters, long. A metal conveyor belt carried the assembled parts through the oven. Coming out the far end were supposed to be finished tubes with perfectly airtight seals between each layer. The working conditions were “interesting.” Newark in the summer is hot. Newark in the summer next to a 20 foot, 6 meter oven under a floor of equipment with open flames to melt glass heated the room. That’s an understatement. The long and short of it is that I was working for the summer next to the oven, and the room temperature was typically over 100 degrees F, 38 degrees C. Hot. REALLY HOT! That is still not what this story is about. But here comes the real story.

One day, one of the guys

Over an entire summer I succeeded. I succeeded in totally failing to make a single working tube. Not one was airtight. We could tell by using a very fine creeping penetrating oil, red in color. If the very thin penetrating oil, place on one side of seal, showed on the other side, we knew we did not have a seal. I succeeded in not making a single example of one that was airtight. That is also not the story I’m telling.

The factory was in the worst neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey. I spent many summers doing everything from moving 10,000 unassembled cardboard boxes Dad had gotten a deal on, to building electronic testing equipment. My soldering skills were respected, and during my college days I was responsible for repairing guitar cables for several of my friends’ bands. It was GREAT fun, and I got to hang with the bands. A young person’s absolutely ideal responsibility. And while I never succeeded in building a working ceramic tube, I was excellent with a soldering iron. Between my Dad and the professionals in the factory, I was taught by the best. That is not what this story is about.

The glass tubes, our mainstay, were made from raw materials, and using rotating turret machines, experts would work with the melting glass from the open flames, working their magic. So what? Here’s what! Between the second floor with open flames everywhere, and the first floor where the 20′ oven was, the temperature where I was working was in the range of 100 degrees F, 38 degrees C. Hot. Now we’re getting closer to the story. The heat was so extreme that friend “Smarty,” later the director of clinical research for a MAJOR manufacturer of medical products. He was and is incredibly smart, and also highly skilled with hands-on electronic technician work. To this day he does all the repairs on his Mercedes, himself. And although this is still not what this story is about, we’re getting closer. “Smarty” and I worked together for at least four or five summers. I learned a lot from him. Still not the subject of my story!

The magic and the concomitant skills evident inside the plant displayed a stark contrast to the street outside the plant. The street was home to a group of five adult guys who spent the day hanging out and drinking wine from the bottle from a brown paper bag.

As the years passed, the group of guys did not change, and we got to know each other. They were truly nice guys, and I was and I felt totally safe in their company, and safer than l would have been on the street without them. While we did not socialize outside of the street, we were friends. We trusted each other. NOW we’re getting to what this story IS about!

Periodically one of the guys would ask me if I had a dollar, or two dollars, or a quarter, depending on what they needed that day for some wine.

One day, one of the guys asked for a quarter. He explained that he was $0.25 short of being able to buy a bottle of Annie Boone’s Green Farm Apple wine. I was happy to give him the change to help him out in getting what he was seeking. But this time, I did not hand him the money. I said “give me your $.75 and I’ll go into the boozetorium (liquor store) and buy the bottle of wine.

I came out of the store with a brown paper bag with his wine in it. To his total amazement and surprise, I did not just hand him the bottle. Instead I opened the bottle and drank about a quarter’s worth of the wine. I screwed the cap back on, handed him the rest of the bottle, and explained that I’d merely taken my $0.25 worth of the wine. I really don’t remember which one of us was laughing harder. THAT is what the story is about. To this day I pay $0.25 for a straight line. Who is George Burns without Gracie Allen? Who is Lucille Ball without Ricky Ricardo? If you fancy yourself a comedian, you need a straight man. “Here’s Johnny” would not have been the same without Ed McMann. Since I drank my $0.25 worth from the bottle, I still owe him a quarter <G><grin> I am NOT recommending or endorsing this behavior, nor am I proud of it, but it is still funny after all of these years! As a comedian, this was perhaps the best quarter I ever spent!

Lenny Lensworth Frieling

Shared Wine is I don’t know what!

  • Senior Counsel Emeritus to the Boulder Law firm Dolan + Zimmerman LLP : (720)-610-0951
  • Former Judge
  • Photographer of the Year, AboutBoulder 2023
  • First Chair and Originator of the Colorado Bar Association’s Cannabis Law Committee, a National first.
  • Previous Chair, Boulder Criminal Defense Bar (8 years)
  • Twice chair Executive Counsel, Colorado Bar Association Criminal Law Section
  • NORML Distinguished Counsel Circle
  • Life Member, NORML Legal Committee
  • Life Member, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar
  • Board Member Emeritus, Colorado NORML
  • Chair, Colorado NORML, 7 years including during the successful effort to legalize recreational pot in Colorado
  • Media work, including episodes of Fox’s Power of Attorney, well in excess of many hundreds media interviews, appearances, articles, and podcasts, including co-hosting Time For Hemp for two years.
  • Board member, Author, and Editor for Criminal Law Articles for the Colorado Lawyer, primary publication of the Colorado Bar Assoc. 7 Years, in addition to having 2 Colorado Lawyer cover photos, and numerous articles for the Colorado Lawyer monthly publication.
  • LEAP Speaker, multi-published author, University lectures Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, Denver University Law School, Univ. of New Mexico, Las Vegas NM, and many other schools at all levels.
  • http://www.Lfrieling.com