When I was in 5th grade, I used to get in trouble a lot at school for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, for being a smartass and for not letting other kids have a turn to answer. Some of the stuff I said was pretty funny, but the teacher didn’t think so. Anyway, she gave me a little notebook to keep at my desk and write down the funny things that I wanted to say but shouldn’t, and also to write down the answers that seemed obvious to me and less obvious to some of my classmates.

I suspect my teacher would have given Ann Richards a notebook of her own, and I am so glad that no one ever did.

I never knew Ann Richards and I don’t really remember much about her being our governor, but I am still very sad that she died last week. (It is very strange that I call so many adults Mr or Mrs, but everyone seems to refer to our former governor as Ann.) I love everything I’ve heard about her and she seems like the kind of woman I wish I had met. I am glad for what she did to make women almost equal here in Texas. I love that she spoke her mind, that she cared about real people and real issues and that she talked about her alcoholism.

I go to Alateen every week because my mom is an addict. My mom is in prison and she hasn’t yet found the recovery and sobriety that Ann did 26 years ago. But … there are 12-step meetings in all Texas prisons and so I have some hope that my mom might get clean and sober in a meeting that exists because Ann Richards thought it was important to help Texas felons get sober.

We are driving down to the capitol tomorrow to say good-bye and to say thank you.

—Freckles