This year the poet Miller Williams won. His daughter is Lucinda Williams--and she was there! looking totally cool and even kinda punk with multi-colored hair and a leather jacket. Everyone else was all formal and square. I wanted to talk to her, but chickened out.
Arkansas Gov Beebe was there too--and that man is funny. As everyone was milling around the tables, chatting and getting wine and not sitting down, Beebe went to the mic. "Let us pray," he said, his voice resonating like a preacher's.
We all looked at each other. This was a secular event! And my husband's Jewish! And Beebe's a democrat for goodness's sake! A hush descended over the crowd and everyone took their seats in a hurry.
"Just kidding," Beebe said into the silence. "A call to prayer is the quickest way I know to get a group of Southerners to be quiet."
I like him way more after that. Beebe's the man.