This is the third in a series of the campaign journal of Judge Bill Moody of El Paso Texas.
September 7, 2006
The Journey of 1,000 Miles Enters Phase II
We completed Phase I on August 21st after walking 304 miles in 13 days from the El Paso County Courthouse to Midland. My son Joe and I were able to return to El Paso to our supportive and loving family: my wife Maggie, daughters Melissa and Emily and son Jim, daughter-in-law Suzy, grandchildren Christian, Jaydon and recently born Alyssa. I was also able to return to return to work at the 34th District Court and assure that my docket would be current when I left again at the beginning of September. The just over 2 weeks at home were deeply enjoyed and made me more fully appreciate that there really is no place like home. On Monday, September 4, my wife and I celebrated with our many friends in organized labor as we have every year for over 20 years at the Labor Day Breakfast in El Paso. The large crowd was enthusiastic over my campaign for the Texas Supreme Court and heartily endorsed my effort to become the first El Pasoan ever elected to statewide office.
Immediately after the breakfast we started out for Midland to begin Phase II where we left off. Rain was prevalent in El Paso and on much of the 300-mile trip back towards to Midland. Tuesday morning turned cloudy and cold as we started the walk at 7 a.m. and left Midland towards Stanton and Big Spring. After reaching Stanton by noon we attended a weekly Lions Club meeting in the small but proud county seat of Martin County. It was a privilege to speak at their program today. I was able to outline some of the important themes to our campaign, such as judicial campaign finance reform, the importance of real practical experience in the practice of law, how I helped obtain the first juror pay raise in Texas in over 50 years, no campaigning on Sundays (a volunteer suggestion) and the importance of judicial elections.
However, I did more than talk. I asked these hardworking businessmen and women their concerns regarding the judiciary and state government. They were acutely aware of the Texas Supreme Court decision declaring the present property tax scheme for public education funding unconstitutional. They understood that the Texas Supreme Court plays a crucial role in deciding issues that significantly affect the lives of all Texans such as education, health care, taxation, employment and marital rights and responsibilities. This non-partisan group was one of the most astute and interested groups I have spoken with during the campaign. It once more validated the importance of this campaign's efforts to give all of the people of Texas access to statewide candidates. The people of this state are tired of the same old stale, traditional campaign and thirst for the opportunity to have a meaningful voice on issues that directly affect their daily lives. They and I believe strongly that access should not be limited to only those that make large campaign contributions.
After the Lions Club meeting I rushed back to Midland to meet with the Democratic Women's Club of Midland County presided over by Gloria Grier. I was then able to speak to a number of Midland attorneys about the significance of my victory in the Texas Bar Poll and my extensive judicial and prosecutorial experience. The political phase ended with the first of what will likely be numerous interviews by newspaper editorial boards. The Midland Reporter-Telegram editorial board members were polite, friendly and asked insightful questions regarding my qualifications and unique campaign. The day ended with me walking until around 8:00 P.M. on the lonely access road to I-20 between Midland and Big Spring. A total distance of 23 miles was covered and I slept well after a long, exhaustive, but informative day.
- Bill Moody
Events of Wednesday Sept. 6th , written September 12, 2006
A Day Discussing the Disabled
Sorry once again for the delay in getting these journals posted. We have had some issues with our wireless card, which is new territory for me. So we will be a couple days behind here, but I wanted to let you all know that we still are out here walking and meeting the people of this great state.
On Wednesday morning the campaign continued its eastward march; this time towards Big Spring. The weather continued to cooperate with cool temperatures. Near noon we visited the local newspaper for an interview and photos.
We had lunch at a very fine restaurant specializing in home cooking. We had a Texas specialty, chicken fried steaks, bad for my diet but good for the taste buds. We talked with local Democrats including veterans Mr. Gore and his friend affectionately known as “Smurf.” I also had a lengthy radio interview conducted by A.J. Weaver on “Feed Back.” Mr. Weaver is a University of Texas graduate and is an informed and insightful journalist. His questions were thought provoking and stimulated several callers to ask many questions about disabilities. Big Spring has a large VA Hospital and the state’s largest hospital for mental illness. I was reminded of the struggles that wheel chair patients and those with mental disabilities face every day. Many people have great difficulty accomplishing many things that most of us take for granted. As a parent of a mentally disabled daughter, I have had the wonderful experience of watching her strive and succeed in making others more aware of handicaps and bring joy to those around her. We as a society are failing in our assistance of the disabled; the people that need our help the most, those that struggle quietly against great odds and have few powerful or financial or political organizations behind them. We can and must do better for those less fortunate, those that truly need and deserve our help. This day brought much of this back into focus for me and I wanted to pass it on to you.
We briefly stopped by the Court House and a downtown law office with two gentlemen attorneys that still practiced law in a more civilized and compassionate manner; as in days long past. Those attorneys were a refreshing reminder of the civility of the legal profession, a civility that in some cases is sorely needed in the legal community today.
- Bill Moody
Events of Friday September 8th,written September 12, 2006
The Mayor, KVMC Radio, and Colorado City
Today we traveled backwards most of the day covering the area between Colorado City and Big Spring. The highlight of our day was our visit to Colorado City and meeting with Mayor Jim Baum, one of the most fascinating, energetic, and helpful people we have met during this entire campaign. We arrived at Mayor Baum’s radio station at 10am where we discussed my unique walk across Texas along with several judicial issues. From the station we went over for a visit to both the County Court House and City Hall where the mayor introduced me to the numerous fine public servants of Mitchell County. I also had the privilege of meeting with the Superintendent of the Colorado City School District as well as a local high school principal. They gave their views and very valuable insight on the critical issues surrounding education financing, an issue faced by the Texas Supreme Court. They both clearly realized the importance of the Texas Supreme Court campaigns in relation to the educational system of Texas.
We then headed over to Skeeter’s, a local favorite, for lunch. I love meeting the people out at the local restaurants as you can probably tell by reading through these journal entries…and the food is always a welcome treat when we come off the road from walking our morning shift…which is typically 12-13 miles. I do realize though, if I were not burning close to 4000 calories a day I would be putting on some serious pounds.
Our long afternoon walk ended at the eastern border of Colorado City. My wife Maggie and daughter Melissa met us just before dark and we all drove into Abilene which will serve as a base for our campaign for the next few days.
- Bill Moody
Events of Saturday September 9th, written September 12, 2006
Surrounded by Family
Today my brother-in-law, Whit Drake, joined me on my morning walk from Sweetwater toward Colorado City. Today we were again traveling in a westerly direction. My brother-in-law Whit and my sister Carolyn had taken time from their vacation to be with me on this long journey. Whit, a Texas Aggie and an engineer, lives in Houston and is a longtime friend. We began our friendship during our high school years and he later met my sister Carolyn. They have two children, and a grandchild on the way. It was good to get a chance to catch up with him and we talked about family, baseball, and politics.
After reaching Colorado City from the west and running into Mayor Baum again we headed to Sweetwater for lunch at one of our new favorite restaurants, Mrs. Allen’s. My youngest daughter Emily drove down to meet us from Texas Tech where she is attending college and is in her junior year of a pre-med program. Today I was surrounded by the most family members since this journey began in El Paso on August 7th. That fact alone made this day very special, and a little easier than most. My wife Maggie walked about 12 miles with me after lunch and then Emily joined me for another 5 miles. We were able to get within 20 miles of Abilene, which means that Monday’s walk is going to be that much easier. It seems strange to think of a 20-mile walk as an easy day, but as we have gotten down this very long road I have come to appreciate those “short” days.
- Bill Moody
Thoughts on Sunday September 10th , written September 12, 2006
No Campaigning on Sundays
Some of you may have been wondering why there have been no entries for a single Sunday on the walk so far. So I did want to take a few moments to explain that part of my campaign this Sunday. I decided before I began this campaign that I would not walk or campaign personally in any way on Sundays. I have also asked my supporters to refrain from campaigning on my behalf on Sundays. I will not air ads on radio, TV, or newspaper on Sundays. I will not subject voters to automated or personal phone calls on Sundays. I chose to do this for several reasons, one being my personal religious beliefs. I believe that at least one day a week can be used in other pursuits besides politics. And so far everyone I have run into on this Walk for Justice has said that 6 days of politics is quite enough for them. Believe me when I say that the people of Texas are not clamoring for more politics during their week. I hope that my example will lead to other candidates following suit and at least committing one day a week to come off of the campaign trail and let the people of Texas have one day away from politics. Sunday is by far better spent with family, in church, in prayer, or at rest.
- Bill Moody
Events of Monday September 11th , written September 14, 2006
Memories of Tragedy
Five years ago one of the greatest tragedies to strike the United States in its history occurred. Thousands of innocent lives were lost in a senseless and vicious act of terrorism. America to this day remains entrenched in a battle against terrorists who threaten our peace and security. Young men and women put their lives in harms way each day and we continue to pray for their success and that they return home safely with God’s speed.
With these somber thoughts in mind my brother-in-law Whit joined me again for our walk towards Abilene. As we approached the city we witnessed the majestic take-off of 3 B-1 Bombers from Dyess Air Force Base. It reminded Whit and I of the days we would watch B-52s take off and land at Biggs Air Force Base in El Paso. It was also a reminder of Whit’s time in the Air Force. Whit trained at nearby Big Spring where he earned his wings, and he spent years at Carswell Air Force Base in Ft. Worth where he flew B-52s during the early 1970’s.
Just before noon we traveled to downtown Abilene for and editorial board meeting and interview with the Abilene Reporter News. After a lunch, at which we all reminisced about our experiences on September 11, 2001, Whit and I returned to complete the walk into Abilene which we accomplished at around 5pm. It was then that we had a meeting with local Abilene attorneys at the law office of one of the premier Texas lawyers, Mr. Bob Hanna. After the friendly and informative meeting, we moved along to Harlow’s BBQ Restaurant with local Democrats led by County Chairman John Pettit. We also had the opportunity to meet a fine former teacher and candidate for the Texas House, Mr. Mel Hailey. These enthusiastic groups make every bit of this exhausting walk worth every step. They along with countless others thirst for the day that the government will once again rest in the hands of the people. Hopefully that day will be November 7, 2006!
One thing that I have become 100% convinced of on this Walk for Justice is that nowhere in the world is there better BBQ than in the great state of Texas. The friendly owners and employees of Harlow’s but another example of outstanding hospitality and West Texas BBQ. It was then on for a 100 mile drive to Brady. I have now walked over 450 miles from El Paso, almost half of the journey, in 19 days. We are exactly where we planned to be on September 11th, and as we drive in the darkness towards Texas’ famed Hill Country I expect a dramatic change in the topography but am confident I shall continue to meet the same type of independent, hardworking, and friendly Texans that have blessed our journey to date.
- Bill Moody
Events of Tuesday September 12th , written September 14, 2006
Deep in the Heart of Texas
After completing I-20 at Abilene we drove to Brady, known as “The Heart of Texas” because of its close proximity to the geographical center of Texas. After spending the night at the friendly Best Western motel, Joe and I walked from the McCulloch County Court House southward into the Hill Country on Highway 87 toward Mason crossing the San Saba River before returning to Brady for lunch at the fine Mexican Restaurant El Flamingo that is owned and operated by Kathy Gloria. We had a wonderful lunch with County Chairwoman Judy Mitzel and her husband Jerry.
By 1 P.M. we were at the historic and elegant County Court House. The County officials and employees I met expressed their thanks for a statewide candidate coming to Brady and many had heard of my Walk for Justice and were amazed at the effort it took to walk the 452 miles to reach Brady. Ed Hernandez, the reporter for the local newspaper, interviewed me about the walk and the campaign and then we conversed about the history of McCulloch County. I had been aware that Ben McCulloch, whom the county is named after, had an extensive military career that included the Battle of San Jacinto, the Mexican War, and the Civil War. McCulloch was killed in the most significant Civil War battle west of the Mississippi at Pea Ridge in 1862. Mr. Hernandez then told me of the ghosts that allegedly haunt the County Court House, and the film crews that have visited the Court House to establish the existence of paranormal events. The elevator operates without anyone in it, books and records are strewn about in the night, and images of shadowy figures have been photographed by tourists. Interestingly, when I was visiting the County Attorney’s Office and speaking with a lady there I heard a voice say something that I did not understand and thought that it came from behind a partition in the office. I then asked the lady if there was someone back there that I did not get a chance to speak to, and she said that she was the only one in the office. I thought nothing of it until Mr. Hernandez mentioned these ghost stories to me later during our interview. I probably just heard some noise that I assumed was a person behind the partition, but I guess I will never know for sure.
We then briefly visited the small but interesting local museum that was at one time the County Jail; which is still equipped with a hangman’s noose. After thanking Mr. Hernandez for his tour of Brady I returned to my walk. We walked into Mason and a few miles beyond through the Texas hills. It was a memorable and enjoyable day.
- Bill Moody
Events of Wednesday September 13th , written September 15, 2006
Mason, the Llano River, and More BBQ
Today we began the long walk towards Fredericksburg from just outside of Mason. The morning again was cool, but began to heat up quite a bit by the time we took our lunch break. Today for lunch we traveled back into Mason to eat at Cooper’s, for a very different BBQ lunch. My brother-in-law Phil had made arrangements for us to eat at the highly acclaimed restaurant. All of the meats are prepared individually and are of excellent quality along with some good side dishes. You eat at long tables without plates, instead using butcher paper. We had a great time meeting and speaking with many interesting local citizens including a very patriotic peanut farmer. Unfortunately this happened to be the last event that my sister Carolyn and my brother-in-law Whit could join me at because they had to leave to San Antonio.
After lunch we returned to the Court House square and did an interview with the Mason County News which was conducted by the editor of that paper, Mr. Jerry Gamel. Again I was pleasantly surprised by the very engaging nature of the interview. Then Joe and I went on into the County Court House and visited with the county officials and employees. After spending about 31 years in a county court house in El Paso, I always feel very comfortable in court houses. I am very familiar with the budget process as I was local Administrative Judge in El Paso County for 6 years, and maintained excellent relations with the El Paso County Court. The County District Clerk and County Judge were very friendly and we enjoyed discussing the concerns of county government.
The Mason city square is in the center of a vibrant community that the people of Mason County can be very proud of. After lunch, the walk towards Fredericksburg continued with a crossing of the Llano River. I stopped on the bridge above the water and watched the turtles swimming on top and below the very clear water. The quiet scenery and beauty of the Llano River Valley was inspiring. The people of the Hill Country turned out to be as friendly as the land was beautiful.
- Bill Moody
Events of Thursday September 14th , written September 16, 2006
Half Way Across Texas
Today marked a major milestone in the campaign. We crossed the half way point in our journey of 1,017 miles. The Fredericksburg area was the site of 509 miles distance from El Paso. The morning walk also brought us the coldest temperatures we have encountered thus far, a chilly 58 degrees. However, this coolness did not last. By the end of the day we were experiencing temperatures in the mid 90’s. As we approached the city limits of Fredericksburg we were joined by Gary Scharrer, the capitol correspondent for both the San Antonio Express and The Houston Chronicle. The San Antonio paper also sent a photographer out to meet with us. The two walked with me for several miles interviewing and taking pictures of me as I came through Fredericksburg. We got a good opportunity to discuss the major aspects of my campaign, and talked quite a bit about the logistics of this Walk for Justice.
After yet another great lunch (this time a little German cuisine), I again walked through the County Court House here in Gillespie County. It was then that I put my feet back to work and started to move towards historic Johnson City.
The day ended with a picnic at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park, which sits on the road towards Kerrville. Local Democrats from Gillespie, Kerr, Blanco, and Bandera Counties joined me for a pleasant evening in the park to talk a little politics. The group was large, enthusiastic, and very responsive. Among the many people I met were Gillespie County Chair George Keller, Kerr County Chair Dot Larimer, Bandera County Chair Janell Rath, and Fredericksburg City Councilman Tom Musselman and his wife Kelly. The Musselman’s shared stories with me of their son who not only runs a political blog but was the youngest delegate ever to the Democratic National Convention. The crowd was full of great stories like that one, stories of public service and dedication to causes, and they inspired me in my journey across this great state. These are the types of things that really re-energize me after walking nearly 25 miles. While my feet may be sore at the end of any given day out here…my mind is filled with determination and my heart with joy. We also got to spend time with a local candidate for the Texas House of Representatives, Mr. Daniel Boone. Mr. Boone is a write-in candidate, and is a descendant of the famous Kentucky backwoodsman. The people of this area will have a great representative in Mr. Boone come November.
Before I began to speak to the crowd, we joined together in a moment of silence in remembrance of former Governor Ann Richards, who lost her battle with cancer in the early morning hours this day. Texas lost a great woman and one of the finest and most compassionate governors in Texas history. Governor Richards appointed me Administrative Judge of the 6th Judicial Region of Texas in 1991, which gave me the opportunity to work with the judges of 23 Texas counties starting from El Paso all the way to the suburbs of San Antonio. My wife Maggie actually knew Governor Richards better than I. She attended the Governor’s inauguration in January of 1991 and walked with her down Congress Avenue; a walk that we will duplicate with a much smaller group of supporters but with an equal commitment to justice. My wife and Governor Richards also arranged for the Governor to come to El Paso twice to read to the students of local elementary schools, in something my wife called “Read Along With Richards.” Governor Richards’ may have left us this morning, but her vigor and spirit touched many Texans and it will continue to drive those people to do great things for this state. She will be missed.
All in all today was a great day and I have had much to be thankful for during this first half of the walk. We have been blessed with great weather, we have been able to travel safely, and most importantly we have had the great fortune of meeting so many Texans along the way who have been cheering us on and at the same time giving us insight into what Texas is all about. It has been a most remarkable and rewarding experience. Tomorrow we head into LBJ country, Blanco County.
- Bill Moody
Events of Friday September 15th , written September 26, 2006
Today began cool but with very high humidity. Joe and I walked a couple of hours on some seldom traveled farm roads, and then drove back to Mason to meet with a group of County Judges at The Old Peanut Mill. At the meeting we discussed the important function of County Judges as part of the probate system in Texas. The law in that area can be highly technical and can involve harsh disputes between sometimes quite angry family members. Many lawyer judges do not give the many non-lawyer County Judges enough credit for the fine job they perform in this extremely important area of the law. The County Judges stressed this point to me, and we delved into other issues that concerned them as well.
After the brief meeting, it was back on the road towards Johnson City. My wife joined us as we headed back onto the farm roads to complete the journey into LBJ Country. The afternoon walk was extremely tough. The humidity level was about the worst we have encountered on the trek so far, and the temperature hit as high as 97 degrees. This was hands-down the most difficult stretch of walking we have had so far.
Once we got off the road in the early evening we had the opportunity to visit the birth and final resting places of the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson. We spent a few moments reflecting on his legacy and legend, and then retired for the evening. It was a very long and tiring day but I was thankful that my wife was able to join me for the upcoming weekend.
- Bill Moody
Events of Saturday September 16th , written September 26, 2006
Wandering Through Hill Country
The walk between Fredericksburg and Austin proved to be challenging not only because of the change in weather, but also because Highway 290 was too dangerous to walk along. The heavy traffic, high-speed of the vehicles, and the narrow shoulders forced us to walk on back roads near Blanco. These less traveled roads we quieter and more peaceful. We were able to better appreciate the beauty of Texas Hill Country on these other roads, even though the area was quite a bit drier than usual for this time of year.
Again Maggie and I started the morning session together, which began at the very unique Blanco County Court House where local groups were setting up for a Fall Fair. Blanco County is one of the few counties in Texas to have two County Court Houses; a situation caused by the very controversial change of court houses in the early 20th century. The court house that sits in Blanco is no longer a County Court House, and was only used as such for a few years. The people of Blanco still use the building for functions, including the local Junior/Senior prom.
We encountered light rain and very high humidity in the early part of today’s walk. At noon we returned to Johnson City for lunch, a visit to the current Blanco County Court House, and a quick look around the LBJ Boyhood Home. Joe, Maggie, and I posed on the Johnson’s front porch for a picture, much like Lyndon Johnson did when he made the decision to make his first political race for U.S. Congress. In that campaign, a young Lyndon Johnson did quite a bit of walking through the same rural country that we have been walking through. His campaign style was to personally meet the people, and it served as an inspiration for me.
Today also marked the day that my brother-in-law, Phil Morales of Houston, had to return home. Phil has spent nearly two weeks with us out on the road campaigning. His energy, hard work, and willingness to meet people on my behalf proved to be of great value. I sincerely appreciate the time that Phil has taken away from his wife and family to help me on my journey.
By the end of the day we were within 26 miles of Austin, and for the first time…slightly ahead of schedule.
- Bill Moody
Events of Sunday September 17th , written September 26, 2006
>Paying Our Respects
Again Sunday was a non-campaign day, but my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the Capitol to pay our respects to former Governor Ann Richards. As I have noted earlier, she was a friend of both my wife and I and we treasure our memories of the brief time that we had the honor of spending with her. She was truly an amazing person and a highly visible and effective advocate for not only women, but also for many of the less fortunate of our state and nation. Her charm, wit, and presence will be sorely missed. As my wife and I stood in line in the rain at the Capitol and the people kept streaming in, it became very obvious how deeply Governor Richards had touched people across this great state. She is someone who truly made a difference.
- Bill Moody
October 3, 2006
A Farewell to Ann
The day began walking in the rain and ended with family members joining me for tomorrow’s walk up Congress to the State Capitol. The overcast and sorrowful skies were appropriate for the day that former Governor Ann Richards was memorialized and laid to rest. At 11am, Joe and I drove into Austin to attend a magnificent memorial service at the Frank Irwin Center. Thousands of Ann’s friends came to pay their final respects. The rich, the poor, the powerful, and the powerless were all in respectful attendance. I saw former Governor Mark White and his charming wife Linda Gayle. It was his appointment of me 20 years ago that set me out on my judicial career. He had previously appointed me to the State Ethics Commission in 1983 where I served with former University of Texas Law School Dean, Paige Keaton and former Chief Justice Robert Calvert. They both made a huge impression on me as a young lawyer about the importance of high ethical standards for elected officials…and particularly judges. These two legal scholars and men of highest integrity got me interested in campaign finance reform and reforming the election process of judges. These ideas I have testified about to the Legislature, have been the topic of many of my speeches, and have been a central focus of my judicial career.
The ceremony was presided over by Ron Kirk, and had speakers including Henry Cisneros and Hillary Clinton. They spoke eloquently with a respectful amount of humor regarding the life of Ann Richards. Her “People’s March” down Congress 15 years ago, attended by my wife Maggie, was an inspiration to many Texans…and that inspiration showed clearly on this day.
After the memorial, I continued the walk covering a total of 19 miles on the day. I ended at the corner of William Cannon and Congress, which left only a 7-mile walk for tomorrow. My wife, my daughter Melissa, and my Mother arrived by plane from El Paso this evening to join me on the walk up Congress. My sister Carolyn also joined back up for the Austin walk. We all gathered at one of my favorite restaurants in Austin, Guerro’s. After a great meal, we retired for the evening. Readying ourselves for the end of phase two tomorrow.
- Bill Moody
Events of Tuesday September 19th , written October 3, 2006
To the Steps of the Capitol
For once we did not have to get up at 5:30 a.m. since the walk waiting for us was a mere 7 miles. Maggie and I walked from William Cannon to the El Sol y La Luna restaurant near the Congress Avenue bridge. We were ahead of schedule at this point, and were joined by my brother-in-law Don Wagner. Don is married to my younger sister, Helen. Helen and I were both born on February 26th, but 12 years apart. She is a school teacher like my wife and has taught P.E. and Health for 23 years in El Paso and presently in the Houston area.
We were also met by Brandi Grissom, the capitol correspondent for the El Paso Times along with an AP photographer. The entire group, including Maggie, Melissa, my Mother, Carolyn, Don, and members of the press then headed up Congress and on to the capitol. I made this last part of the walk in a suit, because shortly after our walk ended I had to head to an interview at News 8 Austin, and then to an editorial board meeting with the Austin American-Statesman. It was an unforgettable experience walking up Congress Avenue. We were met at the capitol steps by Representative Chente Quintanilla, his wife Gracie, and his legislative aide Robert Grijalva. We had made it 601 miles…from the steps of the El Paso County Court House…to the steps of the State Capitol. A moment of quiet reflection was had standing on the steps of that grand building. We had come a long way…but still had much more to travel.
After our brief time at the capitol, it was on to the interview and editorial board meeting. The News 8 Austin questions were quite engaging and thought provoking. The interview will air in the early part of October and will be available on their website up until election day. The editorial board was challenging as well, and then we were off to celebrate.
Janet Monteros, a high school friend of my wife and a fellow student of mine from UTEP hosted a fundraiser at Little Mexico on South 1st. After the event, Joe, my Mom, and I headed for San Angelo and my wife and daughter flew back to El Paso. We stopped briefly near Dripping Springs to have dinner at The Nutty Brown Cafe with some friends who are taking care of the motor home while we are taking some time off of the walk. It was then off to San Angelo. We arrived at 2am…a bit late for us, but we will get to sleep in some tomorrow.
- Bill Moody
Events of Wednesday September 21st , written October 3, 2006
The Passing of a Legal Legend
I got to sleep in until 8:30am today; quite a rarity for this journey. We then went into downtown and met with the editorial board of the San Angelo paper. The board meeting was followed by a lunch sponsored by the well-known and outstanding trial lawyer, Guy Choate. A very good crowd was in attendance along with one of the local TV stations. I spoke about the familiar themes of my campaign: experience, independence, and reform. After this great reception we headed back for El Paso and home, thankful that our walk had been safe and well received.
As we were on our way back to El Paso, I received a call that my good friend and former colleague, Judge Edward Marquez, had passed away at an El Paso hospital. I was shocked and saddened since I had seen him just before leaving on the walk to Austin. He was still working actively in the Tax Court that as local Administrative Judge in El Paso I had established. When we last spoke he was in excellent spirits and looked well. As usual we had joked with each other and he wished me well on the walk. Judge Marquez had gained statewide attention several years ago when he held a court of inquiry over whether El Paso was receiving its “fair share” of state funds for a variety of statewide projects. Throughout his career he had been a champion of the underprivileged and less fortunate. He vigilantly fought for justice and equality for all. His energy and enthusiasm were only overshadowed by his compassion for his fellow man. He was a pioneer in the Hispanic legal community as a prosecutor and as the second Hispanic elected to the district bench in El Paso. He was a man of great faith, a man who gave much more than he received and deserved, and above all a great family man who will be sorely missed by not only his beloved family but by his numerous friends. Adios mi amigo. Vaya con Dios.
- Bill Moody
Events of Friday September 23rd , written October 3, 2006
Visiting with the People of the Panhandle
I flew from El Paso to Amarillo with Joe to meet with the people of the panhandle and the editorial board of the Amarillo Globe-News. The interview by Mr. John Kanelis, the editor of the paper, was the most thorough and challenging to date. Mr. Kanelis would have made a very skilled lawyer if he had chosen that career path instead.
My son and I then met with a group of local Democrats at the Home Plate Diner. Attorneys and non-lawyers gathered at the meeting that resulted in a good exchange of ideas. My son and I then traveled to Lubbock by car and attended the Law School Gala at Texas Tech. The honored guest was Justice Phil Johnson of Amarillo, and my former classmate in the graduating law school class of 1975. It was good to see him and other classmates from those early classes. I met briefly with Dean Walter Huffman, a man who has done a fine job leading that law school over the last few years. He has brought much attention and prestige to the school in the short time that he has served as its dean. The Law School Gala is a rather new event for Texas Tech, but it has now outgrown the biggest ballroom on campus. A great sign of things to come for the law school.
- Bill Moody
Events of Saturday September 24th , written October 3, 2006
Through the Hub City
Saturday morning saw much of our family reunited in Lubbock for a short one-day walk from the County Court House to 82nd Street by way of Texas Tech campus. The coolest morning of the walk to date showed a temperature of only 42 degrees. A good group of students, family, and locals joined in the walk that was covered by local TV and newspaper. We proceeded down Broadway towards the memorial for the 1970 tornado victims, and then moved past Lubbock’s familiar and large Church of Christ, Baptist, and Catholic churches. I was reminded of my law school days at Texas Tech and attending mass at St. Elizabeth’s. At that time, the church was a much smaller and more humble building. When we reached University, we crossed over to take some photos at the Texas Tech seal and by the statue of Will Rogers on his horse “Soap Suds.” We happened to be in Lubbock on a game day, so the statue was wrapped in red, a Tech tradition.
We continued on to the law school and met with a number of Texas Tech alumni who were in town celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the opening of the Texas Tech School of Law. I spent some time with the first graduating class and we reminisced about the early days of the law school. Many of our friends dropped out of the walk at this point so they could get ready to attend the football game. Our remaining group walked on towards 82nd Street and completed our relatively short 6-mile hike. We concluded the day with a fundraiser at the home of a former law professor of mine and my sons, Bob Weninger. It was another beautiful day surrounded by friends and family. I then made some plans to visit the lower Rio Grande Valley before returning to El Paso.
- Bill Moody
Events of Saturday September 30th , written October 3, 2006
Bloggers, Chris, Kinky, and Grandma
Today we attended two marvelous events. The first just off the campus of UT Arlington at Café Studio. These enthusiastic Democrats put together a wonderful festival with food, music, political speeches, and other entertainment. The moving force behind the event was well-known blogger Faith Chatham. Many of the other statewide Democrats were at the event including Attorney General candidate David Van Os, Lt. Governor candidate Maria Luisa Alvarado, Ag. Commissioner candidate Hank Gilbert, Comptroller candidate Fred Head, General Land Office candidate VaLinda Hathcox, and Court of Criminal Appeals candidate J.R. Molina. We had a great time at the event meeting with a number of concerned citizens. There were also some local Congressional candidates along with other local candidates.
My wife and I were also able to spend part of the afternoon at an educational seminar sponsored by the AARP. The event included a question answer session participated in by gubernatorial candidates Chris Bell, Kinky Friedman, and Carole Keeton Strayhorn. There was quite a crowd present to see the candidates speak about the issues critical to the future of Texas.
The time to return to the walk was growing closer by the end of the day. We will head down to Austin tomorrow, and begin the last phase of the walk on Tuesday morning.
- Bill Moody
Events of Tuesday October 4th, written October 4, 2006
The Journey of 1,000 Miles Enters Its Final Phase
Today marked the beginning of the third and final phase of our historic Walk for Justice. The journey has taken us over 600 miles up to this point, with just a little over 400 miles to go. We began this morning from the south part of Austin, where I had turned up on Congress off of Slaughter to begin our walk to the capitol a short couple of weeks ago. We were met there by some journalists from the Daily Texan. The photographer that came out to visit with us told me of her upcoming bike ride to Alaska, a journey much more extensive than my own. After meeting with the journalists, we began the final phase. We encountered fog this morning for the first time on this walk, which made the early morning stretch a little different. We traveled down the access road of I-35 for the entire day. Along the way, at a local gas station I ran into a man who had previously jogged across France. Between him and the young lady who was planning to bike ride to Alaska, I was beginning to think my walk was pretty easy.
At lunch we returned to downtown Austin to visit with the fine volunteers at the Travis County Coordinated Campaign. There we saw a lot of activity and progress. We also had the chance to sit down and chat with Glen Maxey over lunch at El Sol y La Luna. Glen is one of the hardest working men in the Democratic Party, and we should consider ourselves lucky to have him fighting for us. He works on True Blue Action campaign tools, which we should all utilize and can find at www.trueblueaction.com.
After our lunch in Austin, it was back to the road. This afternoon proved to be quite a tough walk as we encountered unseasonable heat. This week is forecast to be in the 90’s, but hopefully we will see some weather relief by the weekend as we reach San Antonio. Our walk today brought us to within two miles of San Marcos.
Today’s activities ended with a meeting at the Buda/Kyle Democratic HQ, which was set up by the very active Hays County Democratic Chair Gloria Whitehead. We were greeted there by many supporters including close friend and former Justice Bob Gammage, and had a great BBQ dinner while we talked about issues that concerned the people of Hays County. The one thing that I have heard time and again on this walk is the people’s frustration with the fact that they feel as though the politicians have been lying to them. At this meeting, that sentiment was echoed once again. It seems as though the voters are angry at the politicians across the country, in the same way as a parent might be angry at a child if a child did something wrong and then lied on top of that. To me it seems as if these “parents” want to discipline their “children” on November 7th.
- Bill Moody
Events of Wednesday October 4th, written October 4, 2006
Sweltering Heat in San Marcos
We got off to an earlier start at first light which came at around 7:15am. The cool cloudy early morning quickly gave way to a warm and clear day. By noon the temperature had reached an uncomfortable 90 degrees. We had hoped our October phase would greet us with cooler weather, but instead we got near record-breaking heat. But we trudged along despite the heat. After all we had trained in 100 degree weather in El Paso.
The early afternoon was spent with Anna Martinez Boling, the local Democratic candidate for District Judge. She graciously took me through local businesses and governmental offices. We also had a chance to visit with State Representative Patrick Rose whom I had met in 2002 when he was the only Democrat to unseat a Republican incumbent. He has become a rising star in the Democratic Party and is a fine example of the youth and energy that continues to grace our party.
I was able to return to the road for some time in the afternoon, and it was some of the more difficult miles on this entire journey. If it weren’t for my protective layers of clothing and ample supply of water and sunscreen this would have been quite a crispy afternoon. The folks around here assure me that the weekend will bring a cold front…we can only hope so.
Once we completed our walk around the outskirts of New Braunfels, we returned to the campus of Texas State University to speak with the College Democrats. As a prior Young Democratic President during my time at UTEP, it was refreshing to meet with the numerous enthusiastic students, three of whom I had met previously at the state convention in Fort Worth. Tomorrow will take us through New Braunfels and into the city of San Antonio.
- Bill Moody
Events of Thursday October 5th, written October 10, 2006
Doing Some Business in New Braunfels
Most of the day was spent walking through New Braunfels and on towards San Antonio. The day’s ill omen was a major computer malfunction that ended with our discovering that our lap top computer was finished. It was the first official casualty of the trip so far. We were able, through the kindness and hard work of Rhett, Sharon, and the staff at ASE in New Braunfels, to not lose any data…but we did have to buy a new computer. ASE has been in the computer business for over 18 years, and after getting the pleasure of doing business with them…it was no wonder why they have been around so long. Thank you to ASE.
During our afternoon break, we drove to San Antonio for an editorial board meeting with the “San Antonio Express News” and then returned to the walk before a fine meeting with Comal County Democrats and a newspaper interview with the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. A 4 P.M. meeting was well attended and I was able to answer numerous questions from these very active citizens. Alice Oliver Parrott, the County Democratic Chairwoman, arrived back in town and we renewed our friendship from the past Supreme Court campaign I ran in 2002. It was then back on the road until dark as I was able to reach the 410 Loop in San Antonio. We drove into downtown and get our first glimpse of the imposing Tower of the Americas built for the 1968 Hemisfair, and I recalled my 1970 visit to the Tower and a trip I took with my grandfather to Seattle in 1962 when I visited the Seattle World Fair and saw the Space Needle. Tomorrow brings us into the largest city we have walked through thus far. I am certainly looking forward to tomorrow’s visit with Mayor Hardberger and a walk through the very scenic downtown San Antonio.
- Bill Moody
Events of Friday, October 6th, written October 10, 2006
Onward to San Antonio
Today my sister-in-law Irma Morales, Phil’s wife, followed me into downtown San Antonio by car. I followed the old “Austin Highway” which becomes Broadway into downtown. I paused by Brackenridge Park, site of the world renowned San Antonio Zoo, which we have visited on previous occasions. Unfortunately I could not stop because of our 11 a.m. scheduled visit with the Mayor. I did walk by the Alamo and then turned up Commerce Street towards City Hall. I also stopped off for a brief rest at the law offices of Pat Maloney, Jr. The Maloney family has been very gracious on my campaign stops in San Antonio. I fondly remember meeting Pat Maloney, Sr., a very successful attorney in San Antonio and one of the most colorful characters in the long history of Texas lawyers. The stories he related to me four years ago were humorous and insightful. He was a master storyteller and brilliant man. His presence in San Antonio and Texas is sorely missed.
Television stations were present to cover Mayor Hardberger’s welcome of this weary traveler to the Alamo City. We discussed my walk of 674 miles from El Paso, the shoes and clothing I wore and our long standing friendship as judges. I commented to him that not since Davy Crockett came from Tennessee in 1836 has a political figure traveled so slowly for such a long distance to reach San Antonio, and that I hoped my luck would be a little better than his. I then made a short to the Cathedral to thank God for blessing our journey with safety and good health and asked for our continued safety. It was then on to the marvelous old Bexar County Courthouse where I gave a brief speech which follows:“In the 30 days it has taken me to walk from El Paso to San Antonio a journey of 674 miles I have come to realize the spirit that those patriots possessed that founded this great state. The last political figure to walk as far as I have to reach San Antonio was probably Davy Crockett and I hope my luck in the Alamo city is a little better than his. There is no place in Texas more appropriate to talk about liberty, freedom and justice than here in San Antonio. Those ideals are as important today as they were 170 years ago.
The branch of government whose sacred duty it is to protect those ideals is the judiciary, and it is the Texas Supreme Court that sits atop the judicial system. It is the last place that the people of Texas can turn to redress their grievances, their final hope for fairness, equality and justice. I run for the Texas Supreme Court because I believe deeply in the people’s constitutional right to a jury trial that is among those hallowed rights our forefathers fought and died for. I believe that all people should be treated equally before the law without consideration to their wealth, political power, or the size of their political contributions. The highest court should have the highest standards and judges with the greatest experience. I have been a district judge for 20 years, a prosecutor for 11 additional years, presiding judge of the 6th judicial region of Texas for four years, presiding judge of the Council of Judges of El Paso County for 6 years and served on the state ethics commission for 3 years. I have tried nearly 500 jury trials and have handled thousands of civil, family and criminal cases. My real judicial and legal experience is broad and vast. My opponent while being a nice young man never was a judge prior to his recent appointment, never tried even one jury trial or appealed a single case. The Supreme Court is not the place for beginning to learn the law. It is a place for learned and experienced legal professionals to closely and carefully analyze the complex legal and factual issues of each case and apply the law consistently and fairly resulting in true justice.
I have worked hard in the legal profession for 31 years and for 40 days I shall have struggled across this vast state to bring public awareness to the importance of judicial elections. I hope my example of walking over 1,000 miles will encourage the voters of Texas to walk a short distance to the polls on November 7th…a mere one month from now…and cast their votes to preserve liberty, justice and freedom.” .
We then had lunch at a well known small Mexican restaurant, the “Oasis” on McCullough Street. The chicken flautas are excellent as was the salsa. I then began the walk toward Seguin and later Houston. The day ended with my wife Maggie and daughter Melissa joining us in the Alamo City. In the evening we had a great time at a political house party for Larry Stallings, an outstanding candidate for State Representative. The overflow crowd was very enthusiastic. We arrived while Attorney General candidate David Van Os was electrifying the crowd with one of his magnificent speeches. I also got to speak briefly and was very appreciative of the crowd’s genuine warmth towards me and my family. Tomorrow we continue our trek…now turning our sights to the largest city in the great state of Texas…Houston.
- Bill Moody
Events of Saturday October 7th, written October 10, 2006
700 Miles Behind Us
Just one more month until election day and we began the day with breakfast with the Northwest Democratic Club at Luby’s off of Loop 410. Congressional candidate John Courage introduced me to a crowd of over 50 people. John and I ran together in 2002 and his prospects for victory this November look better and better each day. I also ran into Tom Walker, the Democratic Committeeman from Senate District 21, and an old personal friend from the Governor Mark White days! We were then off and walking again this time with Maggie and Melissa and we covered 10 miles before stopping for lunch near 2 P.M. We went to an excellent new restaurant off I-0 in Seguin called the “Dixie Grille” and the food was exceptionally good, especially the banana pudding for dessert. I got to meet Mr. Bill Funderberg, a local businessman and rancher and we talked about several political issues including the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor and he has graciously agreed to help me in the Seguin area. Meeting people like Mr. Funderberg is what makes much of this walk worthwhile.
After lunch I continued to walk but this time with Joe and Phil. The end of the day brought us to the Guadalupe River and a total distance of 702 miles walked. We have made it all the way to Seguin, and the road sign read 161 miles to Houston. It is hard to believe how far we have come…and that in one short week we will be in Houston.
- Bill Moody
Events of October 9th, written October 13, 2006
Down the Texas Independence Trail
Columbus Day was an added bonus for me as my wife had the day off from teaching in the public schools, and was able to stay on the walk for another day. Walking from Seguin to Gonzalez began with fog and low visibility, but eventually became quite a bright and warm day. This area of Texas is quite picturesque with its oak trees, vast pasture land, and rolling low hills. This could possibly be the perfect cattle country. As we passed through Seguin we saw some of the country that served as the backdrop for El Paso author Janice Woods Windle’s acclaimed novel, True Women. She and her husband Wayne, an El Paso attorney, have been long-time friends of ours.
My wife and I moved out of Seguin and found several coins embedded in the asphalt. Adding to our “money found on side of the road” contribution list, we picked some of them off the road…but others were seemingly stuck. Then, we encountered our biggest find to date. Near a historical marker on Alternate 90, my wife spotted a billfold and several bills scattered on the ground. There was nearly $50 in and around the billfold. The ID indicated that the item belonged to a young man from Seguin. When we met with the local paper in Seguin, we handed the billfold and its contents over to the reporter that met with us, who then took it to the local police station.
My wife and I also witnessed the graceful flight of two eagles along the scenic road to Gonzalez. After a brief lunch, Joe and I walked through the very small town of Belmont. It was there that we found a small tin-built convenience store. We met the owner of the establishment and gave our campaign pitch. After hearing us out, he seemed to be leaning our way but still wanted to do a little more research on our website, something that all voters should do. I have been told by many people across Texas that ours is one of the most informative websites they have come across this campaign season. Please tell others that you may know to check out the website and make their own decision.
As we continued down the road, the County Chair of Guadalupe County, Mr. Tony Bazaan, found us on the road and stopped to chat. He gave us some background on all of the happenings in Seguin, and suggested some people that we should meet before getting too far down the road. We walked until sunset when my wife came out to pick us up off the road. We then had to make the drive back into San Antonio to drop her back off at the airport, as she had to get back to El Paso. It was then back to Seguin for the evening.
- Bill Moody
Events of Tuesday October 10th, written October 13, 2006
Where the Battle for Texas Independence Began
Low, dark clouds hovered on the horizon as the approach to Gonzalez began. A beautiful field of blue bonnets graced my path and the stillness of the country was only interrupted by the occasional passing of a vehicle. A rather tranquil morning with a few light sprinkles turned a little ugly as we approached the lunch hour. As I was nearing a country home, a rather mean looking and snarling pit bull bounded out of the tall grass on the side of the road. As we sort of circled each other, the rain began to pick up in intensity. To my surprise and relief, the fierce animal realized the severity of the oncoming storm and headed for shelter. I wasn’t so lucky. Within two minutes it was pouring rain as the skies opened up. I made a quick call to Joe, and he picked me up off the road…although not before I was soaked to the core. It was back to the hotel at that point to get dried off…and I figured it was about time for a lunch break.
We returned to Seguin for lunch at a local Mexican eatery owned and operated by Mary Louise Gonzalez, former council woman in Seguin and present Secretary of the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce. Her homemade salsa was quite hot…and easily one of the best we have had on this venture across the state. After the great lunch, we went around the town square meeting local business owners. We made a quick trip to the County Court House as well as the local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
After our visit in Seguin, we returned to Gonzalez, the scene of the first shots in the Texas War for Independence. Gonzalez is yet another fascinating small town with a rich and unique history. I only wish that I could have spent more time visiting the sites in the town. We did get a chance to visit the County Court House, the memorial to the Battle of Gonzalez and to the 32 volunteers that went to the relief of the men at the Alamo. We also went through the old County Jail which now serves as a museum for the County. It operated as a jail until 1975, and still has a dungeon and a gallows.
The museum contained an exhibit on Texas gunman John Wesley Hardin who may have killed as many as 40 men. Apparently he had married a woman from near Gonzalez and lived here for about 11 years. His wife is buried in a small village cemetery close to Gonzalez. Hardin, after leaving his wife, came to El Paso and practiced law. It was in El Paso that he was eventually gunned down at the Acme Saloon and was buried at Concordia Cemetery. A lengthy legal battle was recently fought over the attempts by distant relatives of Hardin to move his body from El Paso to East Texas. I had heard part of the case and concluded that the exact burial site was not precisely locatable in the cemetery, that all the relatives did not agree upon the removal pursuant to state law, and that after over 100 years of resting in El Paso soil his remains should be allowed to rest in peace.
After enjoying the historical excursion, I continued my walk towards Shiner in the afternoon. The walk began with a light mist, but by the end the skies had cleared and the sun reappeared. At the close of the day we headed back into Gonzalez to have dinner at a local Steakhouse. We had a great conversation with the owner, a waitress, and several customers about the state of politics in Texas. It amazes me how so many politicians who profess to believe in democracy have so little faith and trust in the people…and so badly underestimate their intelligence. This campaign has reinforced my faith in the people. In my countless conversations with them they have shown their care, concern, and knowledge of countless critical issues that face this state and nation. If politicians would just tell them the truth and give them the honest facts, the people would show themselves very capable of making difficult choices in the future of their communities. Those same people do that very thing on a daily basis in their own lives, at their jobs, or in their families. The spirit, strength, and will of the American people remains our greatest resource…we should trust in it!
- Bill Moody
Events of Wednesday October 11th , written October 14, 2006
The Cleanest Little City in Texas
The day began a little late due to the thickest fog we have seen thus far. Visibility was quite low, and the cars and trucks would emerge somewhat eerily out of the dense fog as I stared down the road ahead. There was a stark silence as well…that left only the sound of my footsteps on the moist shoulder of the road. The fog did not completely clear until around 10:30am, and by then I had arrived in Shiner. Shiner, known as The Cleanest Little City in Texas, is a small German-Czech community mostly known now for its local brewery. For breakfast in Shiner, Joe and I found Mary’s Taco Stand…a place for some fine breakfast burritos if you are ever through Shiner.
After a brief break I walked through the town, stopping at the mayor’s office, the police station, the local bank, a barber shop, and a few other local businesses. The people of Shiner were quite friendly and seemingly interested in my walk…some had even already heard that I was coming down the road. It is amazing how the word travels in these smaller communities. People will see us in our campaign shirts and ask us if we have met Judge Moody…many wondering if he may be coming into their town. I am quite humbled by those experiences. These many stops at small local businesses and government offices have given me great insight into the views of everyday Texans, which has been refreshing.
Passing out of town was a Lutheran Church which sat atop a small rise and was surrounded by cattle country…quite a stunning setting. After moving away from the town I passed by acres and acres of ranchland. La Vaca County was seemingly well named as I saw quite a bit of cattle on today’s walk. For lunch we returned to Shiner and had a wonderful break at Werner’s, a local steakhouse that came highly recommended by the locals. Then it was back on the road towards Hallettsville. Along the way I saw several patches of blue bonnets, and saw the first of the pine trees that will become more prevalent as we continue on to Houston. The later afternoon saw overcast skies and cool temperatures. Our day ended just past Hallettsville.
- Bill Moody
Events of Thursday October 12th, written October 13th
Day Through East Texas
Last night we drove into Kingwood after the completion of the day’s walk. We stayed with my sister Carolyn and her husband Whit. The forecast had called for rain in and around the area, which ended up being a good thing. We had planned to take this day off from the walk in order to swing up through east Texas. On our way out we visited with the Courier in Conroe. Then we moved through Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Longview, and Tyler; meeting with the papers in both Longview and Tyler along the way. It was a long day, but enjoyable because I got to stay off of my feet for most of the day. We drove back to near where we had left off on Wednesday night so that we can pick up again tomorrow.
- Bill Moody
Events of Friday October 13th , written October 14, 2006
The Best Weather Yet
Our walk began just past Hallettsville this morning. As I moved down the road the land seemed to finally flatten out a bit. We had seemingly entered the beginnings of the coastal plain. We haven’t seen flat terrain since we left Abilene, and it was a welcome sight. Ranchland was again the main scenery for the day. The morning was quite cool as we moved towards Altair. In the early afternoon we had to come off of the road and head into Houston for my final editorial board meeting, this time with the Houston Chronicle.
After our visit with the paper, it was back out to the road. Once walking again, I had the chance to stop in at the Lone Star Café and speak with the owner and her daughter. They both had been made aware of my campaign by TV and also by a local teenager who had stopped to see if I needed help a little earlier in the day. The weather was so good today that I decided to jog for about 20 minutes. The cloud cover and cold front moving in kept the temperatures at around the low 70’s. It was easily the most pleasant day weather wise on the entire journey. This has been the first day that has seemed even remotely like Fall. However, the forecast for the days ahead calls for rain and higher temperatures…not welcome news. All in all it was a quiet and refreshing day, something that some might not have expected on Friday the 13th.
- Bill Moody
Events of Saturday October 14th, written October 16, 2006
From Columbus to Sealy
Once again family was around me on my walk from the Columbus area to Sealy. My brother-in-law Whit walked the whole day…nearly 23 miles. My Texas Aggie brother-in-law is a great guy and I have really appreciated his company on several days out on the route.
My younger sister Helen and one of her sons Stephen, a sophomore at Kingwood High School, along with my daughter Melissa joined us for lunch and the afternoon portion of the walk. We had a fine BBQ lunch at Mikeska’s BBQ right off of the interstate just past Columbus. The restaurant has been there over 50 years, and I had the privilege of meeting the very gracious owner who is an avid hunter and a very colorful local figure.
We then went into Columbus to visit the County Court House, the Opera House, and the 2nd largest and oldest live oak tree in Texas. The afternoon walk was pleasant with cooler temperatures, overcast skies and a fresh breeze blowing towards us. It was a good way to end the week of walking, with good weather and surrounded by family.
- Bill Moody
Events of Monday October 16th, written October 18, 2006
We usually begin each day by listening to the weather reports. Today’s report was the most alarming of the walk. Harris County was under a tornado watch and winds of nearly 100 mph, and the reports were partially covering the area that we were at in Sugar Land. Rain had been falling in the Houston area since the early morning hours. Tree limbs were reported down along with power lines, and several areas were being flooded. Schools in Galveston County were being closed as well. It was certainly an ominous beginning to the day’s walk. I decided that Joe should stay within ½ mile of my wife and me in case any serious trouble arose. We started a little later than usual amidst intermittent rain and brisk winds. By 9:30am, we decided to walk close to our hotel to avoid potential danger as we received reports of three deaths in the Houston area.
During a lull in the storm we headed up to Katy to visit with the local paper there. By the end of our visit the storm was back in full force. So at that point…it was time for a lunch break. We stopped at the world famous James Coney Island for some chili and hot dogs. The restaurant has been featured on cable TV as one of the better hot dog places in the country.
The heavy rains that came down in sheets caused us to cut our day short. We were not able to walk our scheduled mileage for the day, and will have to make it up later down the road. This is the second time in two weeks that heavy rains have affected our walk schedule, but it is more important to maintain safety than to adhere to a rigid schedule. My son has faithfully made sure that I follow safe practices. Once back at the hotel I was joined by my brother-in-law Phil and another campaign assistant, Robert Andrade. We sat around pouring over maps of the greater Houston area…planning our move into the biggest city that we will see on this journey. But even with this planning in full swing, we had always in our thoughts the people who had lost their lives this day and for the families that were affected by the horrendous weather. Our prayers were for them this evening.
- Bill Moody
Events of Tuesday October 17th, written October 18, 2006
Walking Down Westheimer
After the heavy rains of yesterday, the ground was soaked so we chose to follow a path that included a sidewalk. Starting outside Hwy. 6, I walked past Beltway 8, the Galleria, and Loop 610 before noon. I stopped to talk to a number of people along the way. Most were curious about the walk and tested me well. Joe and my brother-in-law Phil took turns walking with me.
The afternoon was pleasant on the way into downtown. My path led me onto Louisiana and past some of the giant buildings that are a common sight in this incredible city. I was able to talk to several attorneys on my way down the boulevard and finished by heading northward toward Loop 610.
My sister Carolyn planned a party at Bill’s Restaurant in Kingwood for the evening. A non-partisan affair was held and many of my sisters Carolyn and Helen’s friends attended. My mother was able to fly in for the event and also got the chance to appear at another event in my place. These wonderful people from Kingwood made me feel very welcome and a splendid evening was had by all. I spent the evening at Carolyn’s home and prepared for a highly political day tomorrow.
- Bill Moody
Events of Wednesday October 18th, written October 18, 2006
Meeting Up with some Statewides
We started our walk in Humble on the way back towards Loop 610, and again heavy fog was present. Walking past an old graveyard brought to mind the quickly approaching Halloween holiday. We ended our morning walk early and drove into downtown Houston for a walk through the University of St. Thomas with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell. My mother, sister, son, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law joined us for the well-covered media event. Chris and I discussed education and public school financing that has left the homeowners and educators of Texas frustrated and angry. The property tax relief promised by the governor was non-existent, as was a pay raise that was promised to teachers. In fact, as Chris and I began our walk a man that was walking nearby ran up to Chris and told him that he hasn’t seen any tax relief and that he is with Chris “all the way.” The Texas Supreme Court has been deeply involved in the issue of education and property tax, and it is very likely that another case dealing with those issues will come back before the Court for further consideration.
After our meeting and brief walk with Chris, we went over to the Harris County Democratic Party HQ and visited with the capable and friendly staff and volunteers at that office. It was then back to the road walking through the north Houston where I encountered Carl, an off and on homeless man who was not only interested in my campaign but actually quite concerned for my safety. We sat near the curb and discussed where he has been in his life and the condition of the Texas economy. I found the conversation with Carl extremely beneficial to me and was very impressed with Carl’s interest in the issues and of the significance of my Walk for Justice. I wished Carl well, and then it time to close down the walk for the day.
Once again, we headed into downtown Houston to rendezvous with Democratic Attorney General candidate David Van Os. This populist, constitutional scholar, and extraordinary orator made his 251st County Court House stop in front of many vocal and active supporters. I told him I had walked 825 miles to hear his speech, so it better be good. I was not disappointed, to say the least, with his fiery speech. After bidding David and his many supporters goodbye, Joe and I walked a little more in the downtown area and then returned to my sister’s home in Kingwood for my nephew Dan’s 24th birthday. It was a busy and fun-filled day. The biggest city in the state is now moving into our rearview mirror…and it is on to the state line and the completion of the Walk for Justice.
- Bill Moody
Events of Thursday October 19th, written October 27, 2006
Across the Lake
After Wednesday’s 100% humidity without rain, a cold front moved through the area lowering temperatures and making for a much more pleasant day. I walked through Kingwood along green forested paths and out towards Lake Houston. The long walk across the lake became quite breezy and cold. To take my mind off the cold, I watched the birds zigzag into the wind towards small islands out some distance in the lake.
After crossing Lake Houston, it was on towards Dayton where we visited a picturesque Methodist Church. We then turned our sights on Liberty and ended up just a couple of miles short of the city by nightfall. I am glad we have seen a shift in the weather today…I am not so sure how much more of that humidity I could have taken. Now hopefully it just doesn’t get too cold.
- Bill Moody
Events of Friday October 20th, written October 27, 2006
The Walk Lands in Liberty
My brother-in-law Whit got an unexpected day off from work and volunteered to walk with me for the day. We crossed the rain-swelled Trinity River that was near its banks because of recent heavy rains. We were greeted by an officer during our morning walk who let us know that if we needed anything to just give him a call and that he’d be looking out for us during the day.
When we reached Liberty we met with a friend that I had made during my last campaign four years ago, Mr. Zack Zbranek. Zack’s father had been known as Mr. Democrat in Liberty County. He is also the law partner of Richard Baker, a well-established attorney in Liberty. Zack graciously led me through the Court House and we met wonderful people, especially the women in the Clerk’s Office who were actually hard to convince that I had literally walked all the way from El Paso. We then went to the Liberty County Fair and I met the County Judge, the Sheriff, and several other county officials. I also had the opportunity to witness the auction, and got to visit with the fine people of Liberty County.
We had a great lunch of red beans and rice along with just a little funnel cake. That wasn’t really on my diet, but who can go to a fair and not have funnel cake? We spoke to local radio personalities while at the fair and then returned to downtown where I visited the local barber shop and newspaper before heading back out on the road towards Beaumont.
- Bill Moody
Events of Saturday October 21st, written October 27, 2006
Maggie by My Side
The weather was threatening today with off and on rain, so I walked in and around the Kingwood and San Jacinto Monument areas today. Family walked with me the entire day and my devoted and beautiful wife Maggie was with me every step of the way. Maggie has driven and flown back and forth from El Paso every weekend that I have been on the road. Having a lifetime partner of Maggie’s character for 31 years has been the greatest blessing God has ever bestowed upon me. Our wedding day on November 1, 1975 was without a doubt the most special day of my life.
We had the chance to tour around some historical sites in between our walking, including the Battleship Texas and the San Jacinto Monument. We ended the day with dinner at the Monument Inn as a small token of thanks for my family’s tireless efforts in this campaign. It was then back to Kingwood until Sunday evening.
- Bill Moody
Events of Monday October 23rd, written October 27, 2006
Bearing Down on Beaumont
Today was the coldest morning of the walk, and for the first time I could see my breath in the air as we began the walk at 7:15am. A walk down Old Highway 90 to the historic Jefferson County Court House in Beaumont was the goal of the morning walk. The press and local activists including one of the most effective and brilliant Democratic County Chairs in Texas, Mr. Gilbert Adams, were present to greet me on this first day of early voting in Beaumont.
While speaking to the media I joked a little bit about possibly swimming across the Sabine River tomorrow as this trans-Texas adventure comes to a close. As has become custom, we had lunch at a locally owned and operated restaurant. The food at “Carlito’s” was excellent and the service was even better. Chairman Adams graciously spent some of his afternoon introducing me to various Beaumont citizens. I was also able to visit with former State Senator David Bernsen. I followed the early afternoon visits with a walk past Lamar University. The football field at the university was the scene of my oldest son, Jimmy’s, final high school football game for Cathedral High School of El Paso. I continued to walk and even jog some on my way towards Port Arthur. I finally stopped as darkness had surrounded us at about 7 P.M.
Tomorrow will mark the 44th and final day of the Walk Across Texas. It has been a great education for me and I only hope that the people of Texas have come to see the significance of judicial elections.
- Bill Moody