Thursday, September 14, 2006

Backwards and in high heels

One of my heroes died yesterday.

Most of you non-Texans who knew Ann Richards at all, knew her for her remarks about George H. W. Bush at the 1988 Democratic Convention:
"Poor George. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

But she was so much more. She grew up during the Depression, fortunate enough to have a father who told her she could be anything she wanted to be. With that in mind, she joined a debate club. And the rest, as they say, is history.

A honeymoon campaigning for a Democratic candidate. Raised 4 children. Travis county commissioner. Recovered alcoholic. State treasurer. Most famously, only the second-ever female governor of Texas. A favorite of the press corps, who loved covering her because they never knew what might happen (like taking up a Harley when she was almost 60). Her favorite comment about the difficulties of being a woman in politics: "Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels."

She was a classic Texas lady -- a heart as big as the state, and at the same time, tough as nails.

Vaya con Dios, Governor. Heaven's a little brighter now, and Texas a little darker.