Texas is a bit less flamboyant tonight. Columnist, author, and salon host Molly Ivins died earlier today after a long bout with breast cancer and a horrific regime of chemotherapy this past year. Molly was outraged by many things, occasionally Texas's use of the death penalty. I've known Molly since 1975 when she was co-editor of the Texas Observer and we covered that year's session of the Texas Legislature.
"We covered," -- well, I was just starting out in journalism, and she was already an established character and a respected journalist.
Molly knew how to put on the big Texas act, with an extra dollop of twang. She knew how to be angry in a critical and constructive way, but best of all she knew how to have fun and laugh out loud enjoying living life among a community of friends.
I heard her tell the story several times when asked how tough it was carrying on as a progressive in Texas. Molly referenced asking a death penalty attorney what the reward was in her work; often scorned by others for representing clients who were usually executed. "The reward," the attorney answered, "is in the relationship with my colleagues doing this work. They are the best, most dedicated people I've known, and I feel honored to be a part of this community. That's the reward."
And I believe that sense of kindred spirit of community was a reason Molly often kept glancing at what was happening with the death penalty in Texas. It was an interest beyond simply reporting the injustices of a broken criminal justice system.
She leaves behind many friends with many happy memories of times well spent, and now, a void. Adios, amiga. Happy trails.