Friday, February 02, 2007

More on Molly

Mi amigo Mike Blackman (left) had a very nice rememberance of Molly Ivins in the Startlegram this morning. Mike's a talented writer, an even better editor and an even better human being. I remember when he hired Molly back in 1992, she said something to the effect of how could I say no to Mike when he came riding in to Austin on his Harley with his long hair and black leather jacket. How indeed, Molly.

Ken Bunting recalls that in Mike's piece this morning: "She was one of a kind, with a Texas-sized presence about her that was totally devoid of pretense. I'll never forget our trip to Austin to convince her she wanted to come to work for the Star-Telegram. We practiced our sales spiel over and over, trying our best to perfect it. But she told me many times she was sold the moment you walked into the Oasis restaurant wearing a leather jacket and no tie. She knew right away you were the kind of newspaper editor she wanted to work for." Mike was, and still is, a cool breeze.

Anyway, Mike made me laugh this morning when he described the challenge of editing Molly:

I finally got Molly on the phone, hemmed and hawed and cajoled and groveled and finally, after all the agonizing and sputtering, knowing how proud she was of her word choices and their impact, said something like: "Molly, I just want to be sure we want to say 'dildo' in the lead. I'm a little worried ..."

Mike also remembered how he introduced Molly to one of Tarrant County's most eminent Republicans, Richard Greene.
After picking her up at the airport, I swung by the auto dealership where then-Arlington Mayor Richard Greene worked. Mr. Republican himself -- think really tight underwear. As conservative as the political assembly line ever produced. But a straight shooter and good guy.

What the heck, I thought -- what poetry for Molly's first introduction to be to one of the Star-Telegram's most prominent detractors.

"I wouldn't say I was stunned," Greene recalled last night. "Let's just say I was surprised in the extreme."

The meeting lasted about 20 minutes. After each got over a mite of unease, they carried on like, if not long-long friends, cordial acquaintances. Both were gracious and good-humored and genuinely appreciated the incongruence of their encounter.

I remember thinking: Molly and Star-Telegram readers might just do all right together.

"Even conservative Republicans have to admit that with her use of words, her use of the language and her commentary and criticism, she gave Texas an identity," Greene said. "She helped the whole country understand Texans.

"I will always carry the memory of that meeting with me."

Nice words from Richard, who is a man as gracious as his comments. Nice work, Mike. Molly would have been proud.

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