I had the privilege and pleasure of seeing ANN, a play written and performed by Holland Taylor based on the life of Governor Ann Richards. I was inspired not only by watching someone who brought to fruition a 6+ year labor of love including the research and writing, but also the marvelous window she opened into this extraordinary leader’s world.
My particular favorite part was that the audience got to see Ann at work in her office, where she:
- Fielded calls from Bill Clinton
- Made a life and death decision concerning a man on Death Row
- Navigated family dynamics among her children regarding the playing of charades and her sensitive son’s feelings on the matter
- Paced nervously because her speech writer had not yet faxed her a talk she’d soon be delivering, etc., etc., etc.
For me, the greatest demonstration of her character was the way she handled what at first seemed to be a favor, but quickly turned into an expensive debacle.
A constituent had arranged a flight for her on a private plane. When she discovered that this ‘favor’ could be used against her politically, she offered to pay for the flight. It cost her over $8000, and she promptly wrote a check out of her own account, down to the last 40 cents worth. She called out to her offstage secretary that she should notify the bank that this large check that would be coming through. I loved how, even though it was a painful, expensive lesson, she didn’t hesitate to do the right thing.
I often congratulate myself for how much I get done in a day. Now, I’m going to laugh at my grandiosity when I think about what Ann Richards accomplished in an hour. Humbling, but truly inspiring.