THE ADVOCATE 571
VOL. 79 PART 4 JULY 2021
“The Ballad of Dana Urban”, composed to the tune of Marty Robbins’ “The
Streets of Laredo” and based on a trial Dana had conducted against “a particular
prosecutor that Mike was not particularly enamored with”. While
enjoying a limited audience, those who heard it and knew the background
circumstances loved it!
At the end of summer, Mike returned to UBC and graduated with an LL.B.
in 1977. However, he still had not secured an articling position. Unworried,
he spent approximately six carefree months travelling through Europe.
His brother, Daren, described Mike’s trip:
He hitchhiked from Vancouver to California and stayed with our sister,
who was living there at the time. He then hitched a ride from California
to New York with Eddie Morvitz and his brother, whom he met in California.
They lived in the Bronx, and from there Mike caught a flight to London.
He bummed around there and made his way to Spain, where he
lived on the beaches drinking goats’ milk and Kahlúa. He stayed in hostels
throughout Germany and, after a call home for money, finally came
back to Canada after six months.
“Eddie Morvitz” was a stranger around Mike’s age whom Mike met at an
Eagles concert in San Diego.
After returning home, Mike moved to Cranbrook and articled at Melnick,
Memory and Carlgren, a firm that handled a lot of criminal and family matters.
Much of his work was with Don Carlgren, the partner who handled
most of the criminal law practice, including ad hoc Crown work. That year,
he and Randy McRoberts, another lawyer who ran the legal aid office with
Dana Urban, rented a large ranch near Fort Steele. There was one particularly
memorable evening, as Dana describes:
The ranch was hundreds of acres and came with a small herd of horses.
I spent a full-moon, clear-sky night with the two of them. After a lot of
guitar playing, singing and consuming copious amounts of Irish whisky,
Mike decided the three of us should exercise the massive stallions in the
middle of the night, meaning riding those beasts that had not been ridden
by humans for ages, in the dark. Mike’s idea was not only to ride them,
but to do it bareback, and at a gallop. First things first: we had to get on
them. Mike went first, being the city cowboy he professed to be. We got
him to the left side of the unsuspecting stallion. Randy cupped his hands
and Mike boldly put his foot in them, grabbed on the horse’s mane and
swiftly drew himself up, only to keep going completely over the horse,
falling over its right side and landing flat on his back among the aromatic
horse turds on the ground. The horse was very understanding and chose
not to trample him. Undeterred, the city cowboy finally prevailed, and
the three of us galloped full speed over the pasture, howling in the moonlight
on our respective beasts.
Mike completed his articles and was called to the bar in the spring of
1978. It was a proud moment for the Petrie family.