As some of you may know, I rotated off the Public Transportation Advisory Committee this month. This caused a stir amongst those for whom I was a major thorn in their side on that committee. Suddenly, the members of the loyal opposition have come out of the woodwork to provide me with Job's comfort - gloating over my perceived demise and listing reasons why I was not reappointed.
These reasons included factors like my titanic ego, my unrepentant arrogance and my colossal ignorance. I fully expected to get an e-mail that starts, "Tom, you ignorant slut..." like the old Dan Ackroyd/Jane Curtain Point/Counterpoint bit on Saturday Night Live. Interestingly enough, E-mails from my critics included a particularly scathing "nanny, nanny boo-boo" letter from ETCOG's executive director* (which I understand got a lot of really big laughs down in Austin when I showed it to them).
To those of you who have supported the efforts of East Texas Just Transportation Alliance to bring some real consumer participation into regional transportation planning, I want you to know that everything is moving along as planned. I was replaced on PTAC by not one, but two new members; good people - one an advocate and the other a business person with strong ties to Commissioner Andrade who has been carrying the banner for regional service planning from the very beginning. I leave the PTAC in good hands.
As for me, personally, I have a huge capital campaign to run for Generations Together (taking cash donations, credit cards, pledges and unused bus tokens anytime - just call me) and I'm looking forward to some more really interesting fun with regional service planning in the near future (I can't talk about it just yet, but will let you all know as soon as I can). In contrast to the gloating of my opponents over my leaving the PTAC in disgrace as they suppose, I've also had a stack of thank you letters and expressions of appreciation from a wide range of people in TxDOT and the advocacy community. It's nice to hear from people who really do care about people who need a ride to work or the doctor or the grocery store. It's encouraging to know your work was appreciated and to be reassured that you weren't taken out by the forces of darkness, but that everything is part of the plan.
The whole thing reminds me of a Jerry Clower story about Uncle Versi's coon hound Old Brummi. Old Brummi had been after the She-coon of all time for years. Finally, one dark night Old Brummi treed her. Well she tried to jump clear on over to the next tree and escape, but she missed and landed right on top of Old Brummi. They commenced to fightin'.and scratchin' and bitiin' and clawin' up one side of the hill an down t'other.
Finally, they rolled down a little railroad cut and out onto the Union Pacific railroad tracks. Old Brummi and the She-coon was so intent on killin' one another that they weren't aware of where they were conductin' their fight and that great American train, The City of New Orleans run right over the top of them.
Uncle Versi ran over to the battered body of Old Brummi and dropped down on his knees and commenced to squallin'.
Clovis Ledbetter, his great good friend, caught up with him and knelt down beside him there on the tracks and tried his best to comfort Uncle Versi.
"It's a hard thing to lose a good coon hound," he commiserated with the old man.
"That ain't it," Uncle Versi shook his head sorrowfully. "Old Brummi had a good long life and did a lot of huntin' in his time and he had a quick death. He didn't suffer none neither. That's a mercy."
"Then why are you so upset?" Clovis asked puzzled.
"Well," sobbed Uncle Versi, "It's just that Old Brummi died thinkin' it was that coon what killed him!"
For me, it's just nice to know it weren't the She Coon what killed me.
Thanks to all who wrote such nice things.
*A full copy of the text of Glynn Knight's letter is posted in the "comments" section to this post.
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