Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bye, Lady Bird.

Lady Bird Johnson died today at the age of 94.
She hated billboards and loved wildflowers, so she left a beautiful legacy in Texas, where spring wildflowers still dot the countryside along highways all over the state.
Unlike the current first lady from Texas, she never hot-boxed Newports, didn't kill anyone in her car as a youth, and didn't marry a stupid son of a bitch.
But Lady Bird did have a mean streak. When singer Eartha Kitt publicly denounced Lyndon Baines Johnson over his policies regarding the Vietnam war, Lady Bird saw that her career was effectively ruined for at least a decade.
Her press secretary was Liz Carpenter, the first journalist to hold that job.
She sold her husband on Head Start, the program for poor little kids to get better educational opportunities.
As a widow, she did an amazing amount of work toward beautifying her hometown of Austin, especially the Town Lake area which remains gorgeous to this day.
Essentially, she was one of America's first environmental proponents.
She was a classy old broad, a proud Texan and a helluva woman.
Godspeed, Lady Bird.


Kate S. said...

I just learned of this a little bit ago. So sad. But you wrote a beautiful and classy tribute that takes away some of the sting of loss. Thank you. I will think of her more fully now.

karenzipdrive said...

Thanks, Kate. It feels a little hollow this morning knowing she's not there to raise hell over some new environmental eyesore.

Anonymous said...

I cried at our loss of Lady Bird because she's the last of the women in this state, and most of the rest of the country, who truly loved nature. Not just for political reasons either, she simply loved the outdoors and all of god's gentle creatures.

Thanks for the great farewill to her Zip, you said it all.

karenzipdrive said...

OMG my big sis just related a Lady Bird story to me I just have to share.
Before LB got her hands on the project of cleaning the then-fetid Town Lake in Austin, the city leaders asked if they could name it "Lady Bird Lake" in her honor.
She tartly replied, "No thank you, I don't want a polluted lake named after me."
Instead of just having her say and walking away, however, she did manage to have a huge influence on creating a far more beautiful lake and lakeside.
I wish everyone who reads this could see the throngs of people who walk, run or ride along the lake every morning. It's really a sight.

dguzman said...

After months of enjoying your comments on PSP's blog (btw, Ursula's MINE), I finally made it over to your blog. As a native Texan and former Austinite, I really enjoyed your tribute to Lady Bird. Texas has lost so many greats in the last year--Molly Ivins, Ann (the honorary lesbian) Richards, and Lady Bird. Everything that made Texas great is all but gone. At least there's still Austin, I guess.



1. Ursula's MINE. I dibbed her first.
2. Everything that made Texas great is all but gone? Heyyy, watch it.