Sunday, July 15, 2007

Paying our respects

I've been discussing Lady Bird Johnson with the girls, especially with Lily, far more than I anticipated. While we were driving to school on Wednesday, Lily noticed that flags were "only halfway up." I explained that a very kind woman named Lady Bird had died and talked about some of the wonderful things she had done - the Wildflower Center, which we visited in the fall, the Hike and Bike Trail, where we go to feed ducks, etc. Every time Lily heard Mrs. Johnson's name on the radio she would say, "It's Lady Bird, the lady who died!"

I have been in tears more times than I can count during the past week while reading tributes to Mrs. Johnson or watching coverage on the news. The tears may be more a symptom of my fragile mental and emotional state than a true sign of mourning, but whatever the cause, I felt the need to do something to show my respect to Mrs. Johnson and her life. I knew there was no way I was going to make it to the library on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning for the public viewing, and I'm not connected enough to garner an invite to the funeral. So when someone posted on the RunTex site that a good way to honor Mrs. Johnson was to plan a run on the Town Lake Trail on Sunday morning and pause as her funeral cortege went past, I decided to do just that.

But after all of my talks with the girls about Mrs. Johnson and everything she's done, I decided I should take them with me. We made a bit of an adventure of it, parking on the south side at Zach Scott and walking across the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge. The girls loved looking at the water and the flooded trail at Lamar. We saw a heron stalking fish in two feet of water on what is usually a sidewalk. The girls did get a bit sweaty and bored while waiting for the "parade," and Ella sulked under a tree after I told her to stop climbing on her brother's stroller. But I'm glad we went. Luci Baines Johnson, who has been the public face of the family throughout the week, thanked people for coming as she drove past, and it was so nice to see all of the folks who came out to say thank you to a woman who has done so much to make our town the wonderful place it is.

As we walked back across the bridge, with the girls begging for water, I cried a little more, this time truly out of sadness. Too many great Texas women have died this past year - Lady Bird, Ann Richard, Molly Ivins. I've regarded them all as examples and role models, and it makes me wonder who my daughters will have to look up to as they grow up.


The Kretzings said...

My heart sank when I heard about Lady Bird's passing, just as it did when I heard about Ann Richards last fall. A friend had recently informed me that Molly Ivins had died too. He referred to it as "the whole old guard {is gone}", which is true.

Without having a personal connection to any of these women, I did have the connection that I was a Texan and had been for 31 years and that is enough to warrant a little heartache.

t. Cooke said...

Pilgrim and I went down to see the casket drive by.