A Tribute to Molly Ivins


Molly and I had been friends for years. I was up in Dallas, writing a column for the Times-Herald, when into the city room strode longtime, no-see Molly, back in Texas after years of slaving for The New York Times in the Big Apple and as a roving correspondent in the West. It wasn’t long before Molly was writing for the Times-Herald as well. After deadline, we would sneak off to a bar just a block away. One afternoon, after one too many shots of Jack Daniels, we headed back to work. Molly stepped boldly into the street. I remember she wore a sparkling dress as tight as anything Marilyn Monroe ever wore.

The Harlem Globetrotters were in town to play at the colosseum, and were standing right beside us on the curb as Molly strode into the street. The 7-footers stepped off the curb and walked ahead of me. To a man, they reached out, pinched her ass, and then peeled away and winked at me. Molly whirled around and KO’d me as we stood in the middle of the street. I spat out teeth and blood, and tried to explain it was the Globetrotters, not me.

Years later, I ended up writing a column for the Austin American-Statesman. Molly helped me find an apartment across the street from her house, which backed up to a beautiful greenbelt. Every summer, my young daughter was sent to stay with me. Sometimes Molly would walk with us and push her in the swings. Molly and I taught her to sing “Row, row, row your boat.”

Molly was a wonderful and generous friend. She’s won more awards than any journalist I’ve ever known. So we can forgive her for using the countless plaques as trivets for her dining guests.

Billy Porterfield is a journalist and author who lives in Wimberly.