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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Charles Kaiser on Molly Ivins

Charles Kaiser has written a farewell letter to Molly Ivins, posted on
But the Molly I'll miss the most is the magnificent human being I first met at The New York Times in 1976. As one of only two staffers who ever went shoeless there (Arthur Sulzberger Jr. was the other one -- until Abe Rosenthal told him not to come into his office anymore in his socks) Molly was the perfect antidote to Times stuffiness.
When I moved to Paris a couple of years ago, Molly happened to be in town. It was right after 9/11 and she insisted on meeting me outside my new apartment to help me get five huge suitcases and a bicycle up the stairs. After coffee at a nearby cafe, she issued me one sleeping pill and sent me to bed for six hours. Then I met her on the Ile de la Cité for the perfect Paris dinner. No one had had a warmer welcome since Americans troops reached the City of Light in 1944.

A year later Molly was back in Paris with her close pal Eden Lipson, and we brought our friends Naka and Meredith to dinner at the huge duplex apartment on the Ile St. Louis that one of her Texas-millionaire friends had lent her for a couple of weeks. Naka had just read this passage in the introduction to one of Molly's books:

"Texas has a lot of things suitable for export. The songs of the Flatlanders or the Dixie Chicks come to mind; ruby-red grapefruit from the Rio Grande Valley, boots from El Paso, sweet crude from Odessa, and brown shrimp from Corpus Christi. But public policy stamped MADE IN TEXAS is like Hungarian wine -- it does not travel well. In fact, it ought to be embargoed. Very few laws passed east of the Sabine River or south of the Red River are safe for national consumption."

When Naka greeted her with a bottle of Hungarian wine (whose label featured a contest to win a mini-van), Molly reacted with that gigantic Texas cackle which was her most beguiling trademark.


Blogger Ben on Sun Feb 04, 10:39:00 AM:
My (Austin-born) father points out that someone has mistaken "east" for "west" of the Sabine river, since the Sabine river separates Texas from Louisiana. He also is sure Molly did not make this mistake, but was mis-copied or edited later.