Cheryl Miller is an attorney practicing in the Virginia and D.C. Metro area. She has, as one of her clients, September Group, LLC, and recently spent an hour with Candidates.vote’s Clark H. Caras admitting to “eating anything with cheese on it”, spending as much time as she can with her rescue dog, Jade, and to visiting the beach in Normandy on which her grandfather became part of the “Greatest Generation.”
Candidates.vote– You’ve mentioned a need to be near or around water. My guess would be the unique way you learned how to swim has a lot to do with that need?
Miller– I had the opportunity to grow up in a beach house just two blocks from the ocean. I have this need to be near water and learning how to swim from my Grandpa is one of my very favorite memories. He literally swam me out to a rock that was surrounded by water at high tide, and I figured out how to swim back.
Growing up I did all my writing and thinking there too. Being surrounding by water… it’s an incredible feeling. It was a great place for a fourteen-year-old who was writing poetry and enjoyed being close to nature.
I’ve always had to have my home near water. It’s near water now here in Virginia, in Lake Anna.
Candidates.vote– It sounds as if you had quite the relationship with your grandfather?
Miller– He raised me. My parents passed away when I was young. He lived to be 92 years old, at the time the second oldest person to have been working, and worked, at the VA. He worked in Calverton National Cemetery.
Candidates.vote– So besides a habit of resurrecting Plato and blowing the dust off The Republic to re-read it – what other books might we find on your nightstand or desk for some good reading?
Miller – I am reading a lot. I just read a lot of books in general. Some are crazy, some are boring. I think most people think I’m a nerd when they hear I’m reading Plato again. It’s old, but it’s good. And right now, I’m also re-reading “To Kill a Mocking Bird”.
I recommended it to a friend’s daughter recently because she needed to pick something to read for school. I’m re-reading it to her so I can have some great conversations with her about it. She’s 15-years old and she wanted to know what was so great about it?
My very favorite though is, “The Old Man and the Sea”, by Ernest Hemingway. I love Hemingway and I’d decided a long time ago I wanted to visit all of the places where he was inspired to write.
Candidates.vote– You’re kind of speaking in the past tense. As if, maybe you’ve already made the trip?
Miller– In fact, I just spent the past year doing it because it was going to be my 40thbirthday; which I spent on Mykonos with my friend from college. We had a blast and it was so beautiful there.
Candidates.vote– But Hemingway didn’t ever travel to Greece or Mykonos?
Miller– No, but I wanted to visit islands and beaches all over the world, wherever my work took me and wherever friends encouraged me to go. Remember, the story of how I learned to swim? The rock was my first island – it was just like an island! So yes, Mykonos was a perfect addition.
I learned to surf in Puerto Rico, and we did go to Key West. Key West is so full of Hemmingway history. And it does have the six-toed cats!
I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot in my life. I’ve been to Italy several times. I love the island of Capri there. Last year though I visited every island and beach I could. I learned to sail in the Bahama’s by just walking up to this random couple and said, ‘Teach me to sail.’
Candidates.vote– You did what; where; and to whom?
Miller– Yes, we walked up to this random couple in the Bahamas and asked them to teach us to sail.
Candidates.vote– And they just of course; out of the goodness of their hearts they said they’d do it. Did they even have a boat to teach you with?
Miller– Yes, it was great, we got them to visit places they’d never been – like Pig Beach. (An uninhabited island that takes its official name from being populated by a colony of feral pigs living on the island and the surrounding shallows.) Yes, the couple told my girlfriend and me, at first, they were going to say ‘no’ when we asked them to. And, “We hope you don’t rob us.” We told them we secretly hoped they didn’t kill us. I still stay in touch with them and will try to meet up with them in the Bahamas again soon.
I was able to have a once in a lifetime experience though… A year of travel. And I was lucky. I did it while still working a fulltime job! I was even able to visit the Pearl Islands off the coast of Panama.
Candidates.vote– You’ve talked about many of the places, especially the islands, but there is one beach you were able to visit that brought you full circle in the relationship with your grandfather.
Miller– I went to Normandy and while there had a private tour in honor of my grandpa. While he, like most, did not talk much about his experiences during the war, he did share that when he landed, he went on to fight and survive The Battle of the Bulge.
Candidates.vote– You had to have been in awe at being there?
Miller– Yes—as I toured, I couldn’t imagine those young men surrounded by the bombs, making it up the beach with so many obstacles in front of them. The American cemetery there is beautiful, and the tour guide left us there just to take it all in.
My travel experience incredible! And Normandy seemed like the perfect ending to the year. Now I spend a lot of my time trying to convince my friends to get out there and have some big adventures as well.
Candidates.vote– I’m not really sure with all the traveling you have time for these, but what are some of the favorite movies you have?
Miller– There are are a lot of movies that I love, too. I obviously enjoyed the movie “Papa”, “Life is Beautiful”, all the James Bond movies in the series – they are just fun. I also enjoy the classics like “Casablanca” and love Will Ferrell and his role in movies like “Talladega Nights”, and, “Anchorman”.
Candidates.vote– So why and what made you choose to be an attorney?
Miller – I found myself always working in the legal profession and was working as an executive assistant. And like I keep saying – I do random things, of course for random reasons. Heard a lawyer say one day, “Hispanic women don’t make good attorneys.” So, I went to law school to prove him wrong and I loved it. And I’ve been loving what I do ever since.Cheryl Miller received her Juris Doctor from CUA Law, or the Columbus School of Law, which is the law school of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Miller did her undergraduate studies and graduated from Georgetown University.