Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ann Richards, Rest in Peace

There are many litmus tests that designate Texans from non-Texans. Here’s one - how do you refer to Ann Richards. People who call her “Former Governor Ann Richards” are not Texans. Real Texans equate the Governorship as a lifetime appointment. Even though she hasn’t served in office for years, Texans still call her Governor Ann Richards.

I had the pleasure of hearing her speak once at the Texas Book Festival. Well, not really speak so much as invite us to pull up a chair and listen to her tell stories. She talked about Miriam A. “Ma” Ferguson, Texas’ first female governor. Apparently, in the 1920s, there was a heated debate about bilingual education. Ma Ferguson stomped her feet and put an end to the debate with the proclamation, “If the English language was good enough for Jesus Christ, the English language is good enough for the good children of Texas.”

Texas breeds characters. We aren’t the smartest, or the best, but we are the most distinctive. We know a good joke and we know how to tell a good tall tale. Set aside politics, set aside ideology, and you have Texas grit. And that is what I will remember the most about Our Governor – she was truly a Texan.

She was larger than life.

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