Betting on Alice and the freedom of the press
Over the weekend, I traveled to Austin for Patsy Partin's memorial service. It was very nice and I got to see some old friends. Here I am with Patrick, Patsy's youngest, and Robert Duren. I went to junior high and high school with both those guys and then Patrick and I went to the same college. I thought so much of Patrick that I found him a wife. I guess I thought he couldn't do it on his own. Anyway, Patsy would have loved that her service brought together so many people who hadn't seen each other in a long time. It was especially great seeing Patrick's wife, my bff Carol, for the first time in three years.
Now on to our latest adventures with Jenna. Last Monday, she got our church office staff thrown out of a bar. Really. One of our ministers (WHO SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS) is a barbecue fan and makes a hobby of seeking out hole-in-the-wall BBQ joints in search of great barbecue. Being from Texas, I get this. Sometimes the best BBQ you will ever eat is sold in establishments you might otherwise want to avoid. Like the Rib Cage in Baytown.
(For those of you tracking my vegetarian progress, don't panic. I was going along with everyone on Monday to seek out some potato salad. I've been meat-free for over two years now.)
Anyway, Mr. Nameless Minister thought we should try a certain "restaurant" out here in Saline County. I felt a little funny about going to this place, because I thought it was a bar. But the sign said barbecue, and Rev. Nameless was paying, so who was I to complain? Anyway, we go in there and sit down -- with 4-year-old Jenna -- and the waitress comes up and says, "I'm sorry, but according to Arkansas law, no one under 21 can be in here." Why? Because it's a BAR. So we all left.
For those of you who live around here, it was "The Pit" by the race track. The race track where the hillbillies race their hillbilly cars every Saturday night. Yes, I took my child in there.
The whole thing reminded me of Reese Witherspoon's line in "Sweet Home Alabama": "You have a baby! ...in a bar!"
Then this morning, Jenna kept yelling "MOVE, LADY!" at the woman giving the forecast on the Weather Channel. Apparently the poor woman was blocking Jenna's view of the U.S. map. I guess we need to work on Jenna's manners. Keeping her out of bars might be a good place to start.
Finally, I'm so, SO proud of the staff of the Optimist, ACU's campus newspaper. (Where I was managing editor for one year and senior staff writer for two years in college.) They made a candidate endorsement that they had to know would not be well-received in the ACU/Abilene community, but stood by it anyway. They have taken all kinds of flak as a result, which was to be expected. I just remember making a difficult endorsement while on the Optimist staff (for student body executive offices, that time) and going to press knowing we were going to make a lot of people unhappy, but knowing we had to stick by our convictions. (And one of the guys we weren't endorsing was Chad's friend and scheduled to be in our wedding that summer. Ugh -- still not fun to think about. He got elected, anyway.) That was rough at the time, and I can only imagine what the current situation is like for the Optimist staff, especially since this controversy has made news beyond the campus. Part of learning to be a journalist is accepting the fact that in doing your job, you will make people upset. I think this experience will serve to prepare the current staff for their future jobs, and I also chalk it up to a victory for freedom of the press.
Here's an article about the controversy in the Abilene Reporter-News, and another article at the College Media Matters web site.