Laura Stone (stoney321) wrote,
Laura Stone

It just got a whole lot quieter.

First off, I owed dooki and crazydiamondsue calls last night, and I just dropped the ball. Too much to do - and I'm heading to the airport for Tree City in about three hours, so... Home on Sunday, jiggity jig. Plane reading material: The Liar, Stephen Fry (almost done - loved it) and Confederacy of Dunces. also taking Book 6 of the Outlander series. And a journal to write! Okay, the plane ride isn't that long, but I believe in being prepared!

Seriously: hit me with a link to your fics, etc. here so I can CATCH UP. I'm not even going to bother going back through a week and a half of my flist - I do know that lettered has some fic I want to read, the scranton_times has TONS of good-looking Office fic I want to read... Hit me up!

And now, a personal little note for my own posterity...

Ann Richards finally succumbed to esophageal cancer. She's been in a bad way for the past several months, and her death coupled with Molly Ivins' illness makes me sad for my home state. If you ever wondered what a real Texas woman was like, that's it. The state's full of them, too, but none as funny, as passionate, and strong as Ann. Well, maybe there's a sixteen year old in Student Council thinking she's got a chance. I'll root for her, too.

I grew up believing women were strong - that they were capable. Hell, all of my favorite people were strong women. My local mayor - one of the most beloved in Dallas' history - was Annette Strauss. Pretty, feminine, and stronger'n a bois d'arc stump. Ann Richards was our State Treasurer and looked like my grandmother, but with money. (You know - she didn't go to the Beauty Box to get her hair done on Saturdays - she probably could do it up a few times a week?) Just as I was nearing the age where I could vote, I started paying attention to politics. Reagan was in office, and I knew I didn't like him. (Comic Relief showed me that his administration was a good reason for all the homeless people.)

The Democratic convention was big news in 1988. And so was Ann. Remember hearing someone say "Ginger Rodgers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels?" Yep, that was Ann. Dry humored, smart-mouthed, perfectly coiffed hair. Yeah, that was my role model.

Texas was still a Good Old Boys club before she took office. And for a fantastic period of time - a time with grunge music, with environmental awareness, with a new President that the world over STILL loves and pines for - Texas was progressive. It was just like in the beginning, and any upstanding Texan who knows their history should remember that our state was based on independent thought, on less government interference, and on strong men and women who stood up for what they believed was right for us.

Her governor's race was the nastiest on record. And that's saying something, considering one opponent shot and killed another opponent back in the 1800s. Clayton Williams was a lock. They thought. He had the good graces to open his mouth one too many times and practically held the door open for Ann Richards to waltz in with a toodle-oo over her shoulder. Clayton, you may remember, was the asshole who was on a camping trip with some "buddies" and remarked off-handedly how rape was a lot like the weather: "as long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it."

Thanks for going on record, Clayton; it wasn't a lock before. Sure, he tried spinning it as being "out of context" and "I was just shooting the breeze with my buddies, camping." You can't spin that and Ann won with a sigh of relief. She celebrated her 60th birthday by getting a motorcycle's license. She hired more women and minorities into her cabinet than any other governor or elected official before or since. How can you not love a woman who's hair is perfect, used to be a teacher and homemaker, has a mouth that can cut you to ribbons or soothe you with a mother's love, who then decided to step up and make a real change? As far as I'm concerned, you can't. You point to her on the tv screen and tell your daughters they can be just like her. You watch her, you listen, and you change yourself and better yet, follow her example and try and change the world. I loved Ann Richards as a symbol of the Texas woman, but more importantly, she perfectly embodied everything I love about my home state.

She was a house wife that decided to get involved and make a change. She showed me that it's never too late to start fresh and make a difference. I will miss her presence terribly.

Some of my favorite quotes (because lord, could that woman make you laugh):

  • I am delighted to be here with you this evening because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like. [1988 keynote address, Democratic National Convention]

  • They blame the low income women for ruining the country because they are staying home with their children and not going out to work. They blame the middle income women for ruining the country because they go out to work and do not stay home to take care of their children.

  • The here and now is all we have, and if we play it right it's all we'll need.

  • Poor George (Dubya Bush). He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.

  • Someday you're going to look in the mirror and your hair is going to be as white as mine. And people are not going to hire you because of your good looks. They're going to hire you because of what you have in your brain. (to a group of students on her weekly address to groups of school children)

  • In looking back on my life, I could of course say the predictable thing: that the greatest thing I've ever done is bear my children and have grandchildren, and all that kind of stuff. But the reality is that the greatest part of my life was the opportunity to be in public service. To make a difference for the community I live in, for the state that I love, to be able to try to make things better, whether they turned out in the fashion I expected them to or not. Sometimes it's serendipitous. Good things happen accidentally. But they're not going to happen unless well-meaning people give of their time and their lives to do that.

Tags: essays, texan

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