I haven’t blogged since the election, although there have been a few postings of articles I’ve written for the Free Press. But I break this unofficial vow of silence to mourn Molly Ivins, the longtime Free Press columnist and Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer.
I can remember the first time I met Molly a decade or so ago. She was in Columbus speaking at a private prep school, the Columbus School for Girls. My good friend and Free Press Senior Editor Harvey Wasserman insisted that Molly would want to meet me. So, we went over to the School for Girls to say Hi.
Molly not only wanted to talk to me, she insisted on shooting hoops before the event. While the crowd gathered in the auditorium, Molly, Harvey and I played a little “21.” As a recall, Molly won, and she was a mean rebounder. She was a tall woman with a quick wit and equally quick elbows, who knew her way around a basketball court.
After her speech, we met back at the Wasserman home in Bexley where Molly was eager to share the longneck beers that she was drinking. Since Harvey is a healthy Green, the task fell to me to drink the longnecks with Molly – and exchange stories. While I hate to admit it, her stories were much funnier than mine, and her charm was incomparable, like her writing.
Molly’s Texas populist perspectives always sided with the poor and the oppressed over the wealthy drunken yay-hoos of her native state. She captured Texas politics and national politics in a way that made you proud to be an American. Molly’s last column entitled “Stand up Against the Surge” was also her last campaign to stop the criminally insane war in Iraq. Many now are calling her the conscience of America. But that’s what they wrote of Michael Harrington, Norman Thomas and Eugene Debs. Molly was more than that, she was not only the conscience, she was the comedic voice that defined the follies and the foibles of the Bush dynasty. As much conscience, as a jester speaking truth shrouded in humor.
We have lost one of the great voices in American journalism. I’m just happy she let me shoot hoops with her, and publish her columns at the Free Press.