Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pumpjack Riding and Confirmation Hearings

3-9-2009
The Fringe of the Beltway
Our Nation’s Capitol

I had to pull over to write this down. It’s just to great!

It’s been a long driving day. I left Asheville, NC shortly after 1:00 p.m. The birds were singing, the sky was blue. I’d had a big bouncy walk up into the hills above the city with my cousin – my cousin, a master woodworker and accounting student who has two beautiful boys a great wife and tiny vegetable plants sprouting on the picnic table outside his front door.

Now it’s after 9:00 p.m. I’m in a parking lot near the intersection of VA highways 7 and 21. The road took a lot of attention today. For the first time since beginning this trip, I got sleepy at the wheel. It happened in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley – another breathtaking stretch of our country’s landscape. In spite of the beauty, I was dozy. As antidotes I chose Lipton green tea (a touch too influenced by REALemon) and National Public Radio … for hours ….

About 60 miles outside of DC, I hit the search button for the umpteenth time in so many hours. Fuzzy reception caused me to attempt a better grip on an NPR signal. I’d listened to the news hour twice and now we were to “Subject Earth” or some such. An interview was promised w/ the new Secretary of the Environment. I was interested.

The search button landed on voices that sounded NPRish so I stuck there. I heard the commentator say, “mumble…mumble…confirmation hearings…miumble…Kirk.” Then there were the voices of Senators and Representatives asking questions to a man being considered for confirmation as US Trade Representative.

Could it be?

Ron Kirk? Former and first Black Mayor of Dallas? And – way more importantly – one of my very best pump jack riding1 buddies from college?

It was!

Ron Kirk. Brilliant and entirely informed. Competent. Visionary. How entirely exciting and how actually comforting accidentally to happen upon hearing the words of this fine leader speaking in this most honorable of venues.

I dialed our mutual friend, Juliana, in Dallas. “Can you believe this?”

We shared our awe and pride, our unbridled happiness for Ron Kirk, his family, community, state – and for our country. His leadership will only extend the impact of positive change.

Yes, I’m likely a bit biased, given our history of riding a few of lunatic fringes of late adolescence on the same stretch of steel. On the other hand, I’m certainly not the only one who can see the great gifts this man brings to this time.

So BIG Thanks, Ron – and best possible wishes to you and to all of us!
Yeeeeee Haaaaaa!



1 Pump jacks: The large structures of steel, usually painted black, that dot the Texas countryside atop holes drilled to yield oil – structures that, mightily hinged, dip down and lift up in infinite repetition like ominous chickens pecking seed from the ground. Pump jack riding: The sport of college students in the NE Texas 70’s actively probing the question, “Just how many people can fit on a pump jack under the stars and unbeknownst to every authority for counties around?”

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