Tag Archive | the Clinton School of Public Service

Get together

Seeing our homeboy President Bill Clinton never gets old.

Seeing homeboy President Bill Clinton never gets old. Behind him are Senator Mark Pryor and former congressman and gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross.

This political season is one of the ugliest yet. With so much at stake, we really need to get together and get our priorities straight.

But first, let me apologize for the video linked to the title of this piece. The song is great, but the video’s out of sync. Listen, but don’t watch – it’ll make you nuts. Why didn’t I chose a better version, you might ask? Why, that would be because every other one I tried forced you to sit through a vicious political attack ad.


Better to go with out of sync in video than to share an ad from someone as out of sync as the politicians who would take away basic human rights to give more money to already insanely wealthy campaign donors and oil or stock barons. If by internet voodoo one has appeared anyway, forgive me, please.

This is really intended to be a pleasant post about how great certain elements of the last week were. Like getting to hear Rebecca Darwin, founder and publisher of Garden & Gun magazine, speak at The Clinton School of Public Service. The fabulous lecture series is one of the many benefits of living in Little Rock.

Rebecca Darwin, of "Garden & Gun" magazine discusses "The Southerner's Handbook."

Rebecca Darwin of “Garden & Gun” magazine discusses “The Southerner’s Handbook.”

What was really nice was hearing how the regional magazine, which is often called “the Southern New Yorker,” is so popular in other parts of the country. That’s a nice coming together of people. Speaking of coming together, the place was packed, especially for a workday noon talk.

Former North Little Rock mayor, now congressional candidate Pat Hayes, speaks at the "You Vote, We Win" rally. Flanking him are gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross and former President Bill Clinton.

Former North Little Rock mayor, now congressional candidate Pat Hayes, speaks at the “You Vote, We Win” rally. Flanking him are gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross and former President Bill Clinton.

But not as packed as Argenta, in downtown North Little Rock, on Sunday. What a happy, upbeat, hopeful day. Bill Clinton never fails to inspire (even those of you of a different persuasion have to admit the man is eloquent and brilliant), and the weather was perfect, the crowd polite.

Seeing history made once again outside the store where students of my era and before had to buy our textbooks from seventh grade through graduation was fun. The fact that so many people are shocked to learn books weren’t always furnished serves as a reminder of what can be done when people get together in harmony.

I was proud and happy to see to my friend – from those old textbook-buying days – State Rep. Patti Roberts Julian speak. Prouder and happier to see my kids/kids-in-law and all the grands there. I’m so happy to have children who are engaged, politically minded and willing to make the effort to herd toddlers in a large crowd.

This is a huge election in Arkansas. For two days, I’ve been hearing a paraphrase of Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee in All the President’s Men in my head:

Nothing’s riding on this except the, uh, first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country.

Substitute the Affordable Care Act, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid for the first two items, and you get my drift.

(And, in a sad twist of fate, I just read that Ben Bradlee has died at 93. One of my idols has fallen, though he’d been ill for a long time. Truly the end of an era. Rest in peace, Mr. Bradlee. You were one of the lions.)

That future is why John and I early voted yesterday. And why I’ve been encouraging everyone to vote and vote early.

The future does hinge on this election. I feel like compassion will win out over greed. But you’ve got to make sure it does.

Smile on your brother and vote your heart.




Haven’t got time for the pain

By the number of hits this humble blog has gotten on the post about my stepfather’s death from a bowel obstruction, I need to come back to the topic. I will, and I’ll also write about my own lifelong battle with, ultimate major surgery for and continuing problems with my own gastrointestinal system.

It’s laid me low again since Sunday night, which annoys the hell out of me and scares the people who love me.

And regular readers know that Daddy died from colon cancer – it’s rampant in our family and it’s still killing way too many people each year.

But right now, I haven’t got time for the pain. Things were scary for a while but are considerably better now (except for my damned right shoulder, which flared up again a minute ago because I forgot and cleaned a spot on the rug). So I don’t want to go there tonight. Positive vibes and all.

But I’ll come back to it. I don’t mind sharing ugly/embarrassing details if it can help anyone else.

Maybe you’ve figured that out.

Today, though, I’d rather talk about happier things. Like getting my new bicycle last Friday evening.

Annabelle stands next to Lolly's new bike, an Electra Wren from Spokes. Zuzu is not impressed.

Lolly’s new bike, an Electra Wren from Spokes. Zuzu is not impressed.

Like seeing the fabulous actors/director panel discussion on the Rep’s presentation of “Death of a Salesman” with Mother at the Clinton School of Public Service yesterday then taking her shopping for a new mattress.

Like seeing Nancy Pelosi today (again, courtesy of the Clinton School) in a packed and polite house under Robinson Auditorium with my friend-since-we-were-teens Anita.

Like the fact that my semi-tame, huge hummingbird is already back, even though he’s way too early and had to fuss at my window because I didn’t have his food out Saturday. Poor little guy. He’s going to be cold tomorrow night. John and I discussed trying to lure him into the house but  haven’t figured out how.

He’s out there right now feeding away as I type. I love that little guy.

Oh, and like spending $84 at Dillard’s for the following: one dress, originally $108; one pair of super-skinny red jeans, originally $88; a leopard print top, originally $29; two sleeveless tunic-length tops (one with a scarf!), one originally $48 and one $34.

There and back in about an hour. Nothing like finding uber-bargains (that actually fit) to cheer up a woman who hates shopping.

And now my aching shoulder decrees that I stop. It doesn’t understand that I don’t have time for the pain. Getting old is for the birds. Except I get five grandchildren for my aches and efforts!


Mercy. So this is 57. Or in my method of measuring, this is nine years older than Daddy ever got to be.

So I’m happy to be 57. Doesn’t feel that different from 17 or 47 in my mind. My body might beg to differ on certain days, but I’ll take it.

Friday was the big day, but my birthday has been of the extended variety this year. John had to leave Tuesday to help with his mom, so he started giving me gifts a week early. His absence was definitely noted, but family and friends took up the celebratory slack.

Thursday Liz, Jude and Sylvie brought me cupcakes, cards and the new Avett Brothers CD. I may be an oldie, but my musical tastes run wide, and those darling boys put out a  The Carpenter just in time for my birthday. 

(Dave Matthews Band obliged my 57th with Away From the World, and Ben picked it up, along with a bonus copy of the Avett Brothers.

On Friday, the real day, Mother, Julia, Anita, Rhonda and I went to the Clinton School (the gift that keeps on giving, lecturewise) to see Fran Drescher, who was engaging, informative and entertaining as she talked about her fight with uterine cancer – as well as with the medical community that kept misdiagnosing her – and her organization, Cancer Schmancer (cancerschmancer.org – you owe it to yourself to check it out). 

Then we all went to a lovely late lunch. That evening, baby sister (Cathy, who will always be 3 years and 4 months younger than me, no matter how old we get), Julia and I went to Market Street to see Robot & Frank, which is interesting, quirky, slightly funny and slightly sad.

For the record, I almost titled this post “Ants Marching,” which is still one of my favorite DMB songs, because time marches on for all us ants and I love the lyrics. (This acoustic version should let you understand them, plus it’s pretty cool.)

But “Mercy” seems to address it all – the surprise at being this old, the happiness that is my life most days, and the feeling of luck at getting here at all.

So, this is what 57 looks like, only backward, of course, courtesy of my trusty MacBook. I normally dodge photos, but what the heck. I’m a golden oldie.