There was this Milwaukee Journalist named Bill Stokes back in Wisconsin. He was my hero, my role model. I read him even before I became a columnist myself.
And, I remember and remembered his columns. Never stopped thinking about that “back forty.” Was riveted by his writings on his bouts with alcoholism and there wasn’t a subject I could touch in the entire state that hadn’t been done better by Bill, before.
He was, you could say, the father of us all. At least in America’s Jerryland.
Which brings me to the mother of us all: Molly Ivins.
I never met her but did have the privilege of appearing on the same editorial page, occasionally, as
one of her columns in the Madison, WI Capital Times. She like, Mike Royko and Charles Kuralt, are among those to whom I owe any talents I may have acquired.
Did you read her? I mentioned her passing to a fellow resident of the apartment complex I live in in Upper Belmont, which is something like living in the Berkeley Hills without Berkeley. He, an astute and very intelligent man, didn’t know who she was but he did recall the name.
I’ve read some books. I’ve read some old columns, even some new columns. How could I not and still call myself a writer?
“She was magical in her writing,” a former editor at the Star Telegram, who hired her a few years back,
commented on her passing
Somewhere I’ve got one of her books on Baby Bush AKA King George IV aka Bubba. But there is another memory that sticks in my mind.
A couple of years ago Molly Ivins appeared on a panel, recorded by CSPAN, with Al Franken and Bill O’Reilly.
She just sat there, much of the time, smiling her knowing smile as Al and Bill went at it. She didn’t
need to say anything.
But she kept on saying things, to the end, anyway.
Departing columns don’t even need to be read, though they remain highly recommended. You can just read the titles and a Molly Ivins smile will begin to appear on your face:
“Populists, Who’d A Thunk It!”
“America Already Has Voted Against A Surge.”
And, the creme de la creme – “Bubba, we – yes WE – have to stop the war now!”
But first we could take just a little time to look once more at Molly Ivins’s smile.
Maybe “Good Hair” even has a few minutes to take away from listening to Ted Nugent play the guitar to
declare a day of mourning?
Take good care of yourself, Helen Thomas, we need you now, more than ever.