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Mon, 12 Apr 2010 22:46:17 -0400
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Cindy Lovell <[log in to unmask]>
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Hal serves on our advisory board at the museum, so we are in contact with him. (He is also coming to Hannibal to peform on May 8th.) We'd be happy to facilitate a group message.  Please let us know how we might help.


Cindy Lovell, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum

120 N. Main St.
Hannibal MO 63401
Phone: 573-221-9010 ext. 402
Fax: 573-221-7975
Email: [log in to unmask]
Web site:

Have you signed our petition to designate 2010 as "The Year of Mark Twain" yet?  Click here, sign, and pass it on!

Support the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum at no cost to you! When shopping online, begin your search at, select the museum as the recipient, and start shopping!  A small percentage of your purchases will be donated to the museum at no cost to you!  Also, please sign up for a Museum VISA card at:  There is no annual fee, and the Museum will benefit.  Thank you for your help!

"Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain
From: Mark Twain Forum [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Harris, Susan Kumin [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 9:33 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Dixie Carter's Passing

Is there some way that we as a group can express our sympathies?  --skh
Susan K. Harris
Hall Professor of American Literature & Culture
Department of English
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66042


From: Mark Twain Forum on behalf of Rick Talbot
Sent: Mon 4/12/2010 20:49
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Dixie Carter's Passing

April 12, 2010

Dear Forum Members,

When I met Mr. Hal Holbrook at the Elmira conference last August I was
struck by his love for Dixie Carter. He made no secret of it to me then, =
bless him. I didn't repeat the following to anybody there at that time,
because it really wasn't mine to share, but with the passing of Dixie =
yesterday, I want to remember it again. All of Mr. Holbrook's colleagues =
friends in the MT community share his sadness and offer their =

August 8, 2009

When I stepped up to Hal Holbrook in the classroom that morning, I meant
only to shake his hand and tell him that he was the start of Twain for =
me. I
wasn't going to tell him that he was great or any of that happy horse =
as I knew he'd heard it all before. But that is not how our conversation
began. I extended my hand and took his in mine.

He smiled and said, "Hello."

I said, "How's Dixie?"

He gave me a funny kind of quizzical look and paused. He was thinking. I
have never observed personal boundaries, a failing of mine, and I =
knitted my
eyebrows together and asked, "What is it?"

His eyes widened, but only slightly, and then he released it: "It's =
he said. "We've just come from a week of intensive chemotherapy. She's =
and worn out, but she's feeling much better now."

I asked, "Would you mind--if I kept her in my evening prayers?"

"Would you?" he said. "So many others are doing so."

It set me back to have a man tell me something so personal, so dear to =
heart. I could feel his pulse beneath my fingertips, the softness of his
paper-thin skin, his warmth, his blue eyes; it was all so real. I wasn't =
longer awed by him. He was just a guy like me who loves his wife.

Then squeezing my hand he said, "What brings you here?"

I said, "Well, when I was seventeen I saw you on TV, and I thought then =
Mark Twain was a pretty funny fellow. After I'd grown I read him and =
that he was singing a song that was already in my heart-always had been. =
from that day to this, I've just wanted to hum along. And you sir, you =
the first link in a very long chain-so I thank you."

He loosened his grip but only slightly. He had listened intently to what =
said, and now not saying a word, he just stared at me with those pale =
eyes. They suddenly grew red and tears formed on the rims. He placed his
other hand across my forearm, swallowed hard and gave me a nod.

Later that night at the farm I met up with him as he stood alone behind =

He said, "I want to thank you for that remark you made to me today."

I patted his chest with the flat of my hand and replied, "I didn't even =
you if you were any good."

He laughed and I said good night.

Tonight's prayers will go out to Mr. Hal Holbrook. Dixie's gone home to

Rick Talbot
Falcon Heights, Minnesota