"One Last Party for Molly"

The Melancholy Ramblers and others played at the Scholz Garten while friends shared beer and barbecue on February 4, after Molly Ivins's funeral in a photo by the Austin American-Statesman's Larry Kolvoord which accompanied Patrick George's February 5 article, "One Last Party for Molly."

Back on September 15, 2006, Alternet published Ivins's "Remembering Ann Richards" about a long-ago political do at the Garten:

everybody who was anybody was there meetin' and greetin' at a furious pace. A group of us got the tired feet and went to lean our butts against a table at the back wall of the bar. Perched like birds in a row were Bob Bullock, then state comptroller, moi, Charles Miles, the head of Bullock's personnel department, and Ms. Ann Richards. Bullock, 20 years in Texas politics, knew every sorry, no good sumbitch in the entire state. Some old racist judge from East Texas came up to him, "Bob, my boy, how are you?"

Bullock said, "Judge, I'd like you to meet my friends: This is Molly Ivins with the Texas Observer."

The judge peered up at me and said, "How yew, little lady?"

Bullock, "And this is Charles Miles, the head of my personnel department." Miles, who is black, stuck out his hand, and the judge got an expression on his face as though he had just stepped into a fresh cowpie. He reached out and touched Charlie's palm with one finger, while turning eagerly to the pretty, blonde, blue-eyed Ann Richards. "And who is this lovely lady?"

Ann beamed and replied, "I am Mrs. Miles."

On September 26, 2006, when Howard Dean arrived at the Garten to campaign for Democrats in his 50 state strategy for the Novemer Election, Democratic Party politics sure had changed.

At the Statesman, you can find a photo gallery with additional shots by Rodolpho Gonzalez (who took the photo from yesterday's entry) and Kolvoord. You can also find audio files of tributes by :

Sheila Lennon, who is features and interactive producer of projo.com, the Web site of

The Providence [RI] Journal has compiled reports on the memorial from Austin bloggers at her blog, Subterranean homepage news, which she started in 2002.

Kinky Friedman, who graciously admits that he didn't always agree with Ivins had eulogized her February 4 in the Los Angeles Times as essay as

a truth-seeking missile.

Meanwhile Theresa Alexander had this tale to offer about Ivins at the public memorial at the Texas Observer:

Everyone who knew her has a favorite “Molly” anecdote. For me it was the one she described to a group of her friends in Dallas about the endless summer of tracking and reporting legislative elections in South and West Texas (late seventies, early eighties?). Almost every meal was in some diner or other served by waitresses with teased peroxide up-dos and huge starched, folded handkerchiefs hanging out of their pockets or cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. Once when she feeling very tired and hungry she ordered the usual fare - meat and potatoes - thinking that she hadn’t eaten a non-fried vegetable in weeks. There was, however, a healthy-sized portion of parsley garnishing the plate. Out of desperation she popped it in her mouth — at which point the gum-chewing waitress admonished her: “Why, hon, if I’d a-knowed you was gonna eat that I’da washed it.”

Joseph Burgess wrote in:

I live in Kentucky, where the bottom-of-the-deck political climate rivals that of Texas, where many folks can trace their family trees back to some ancestor getting run out of the Bluegrass state for various crimes and misdemeanors. What Molly Ivins wrote and said showed that she and I — born four years before she was — shared pretty much the same political and social outlooks. For much more than a decade I have read her columns and exclaimed — “damned right!”

In trying to sum up Ivins, whom he knew only through he writings, he called her

the lately late progressive and idealistic champion of little folks, of poor folks, of set-upon-by-the-rich-and-powerful folks, of forgotten folks, of ordinary folks, of shortchanged folks, of Constitutional rights and guarantees, of justice and fairness, and more — . . . the lampooner and harpooner of the five-percenters, the fixers, the neo-John Birchers, the neo-Gilded Agers, the neo-Robber Barons, the grifters and grafters, the chicken-hawks, the political humbugs, the anti-Constitutionalists and pro-corporatists, the new-world-order ideologues, the self-servers, the power-grabbers, and worse who have gained so much ascendancy in recent years.

Gary Hart (yes, the former Senator) even signed in on the page, rather than with the celebrities here. There's also a collection of Ivin's work. When I look at Ivin's August 21, 1970 essay for the Observer, "South towards home" and realize that she had been a news reporter in Minneapolis and just three years out of school, prior to returning to Texas, I'm amazed at just how good a columnist she was from get-go.


One fan on the tribute page talks about how he would email Ivins with his reactions to her columns and she would always write him back. I have been reading her essays since the eighties and I never wrote her, not once, not even after I had been lucky enough to hear her lecture at Radford University March 21, 2001.

So, Molly Ivins, this post is truly for you. Your words continue to bring your voice alive from the page and we write back to you, even though you vanished from our realm. You live on in your effect on us as we struggle to continue your work.

And if there is an afterlife, as Bill Moyers describes it as "that great Purgatory of Journalists in the Sky," I picture so much potential contained in our thoughts and our love for you that our energy travels out to whereever you may be.

As invisible as electrons, our energy travels out, even as tangible contact is never again possible.