I first laid eyes on the Texas Hill Country back in the early ’70s when I came to Austin as a journalism student. That was also in August and being from the arid part of Southern California, I was slammed by the humidity. I’m still being slammed by it today.
In addition to family and BBQ, there is something about the Hill Country that keeps pulling me back. Austin has a special energy with its vibrant music scene, the University of Texas (my alma matra), and the always-fascinating Texas legislature.
One of my most vivid memories of graduate school was being thunderstruck as I leaned my chin on the rail in the Senate visitors’ gallery watching the then-young, articulate State senator Barbara Jordan advocating for some issue. I don’t recall the issue … but I do remember being riveted by her personal passion and her eloquent words.
The following year Jordan went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives (1973-1979). She was a brilliant orator.
One of my biggest thrills was meeting her in Washington, D.C., during President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993. She died a few years later at 59. A great voice quieted too soon.
Photos. Top: Texas State Capitol, Austin, Texas. Bottom: U.S. Representative Barbara Jordan (D Texas). 1976. (Source: Wikipedia).