I arrived in Rockwall to interview Rep. Ralph Hall last Wednesday with a list of questions — a whole page of them. I had researched more than 100 Internet articles, and hadn’t found a single instance where the congressman had sat down for an hour-long interview before. So I wanted to make it count.

I arrived in Rockwall to interview Rep. Ralph Hall last Wednesday with a list of questions — a whole page of them. I had researched more than 100 Internet articles, and hadn’t found a single instance where the congressman had sat down for an hour-long interview before. So I wanted to make it count.


But as the interview began and Hall went about unspooling the details of his life, I realized how unnecessary my little list of questions really was. Why waste time with "Do you update your own Facebook" when a 17-term congressman is willing to talk about the time he was with Mickey Mantle in a bar fight, or the time his wife panicked because she didn’t have any clean sheets for Buzz Aldrin?


Rep. Hall and I sat for nearly four hours in his living room, as he ran through the story of his life in such detail and with such candor, that I would suppose it was among the most honest interviews a politician has ever granted.


When I sifted through the 20,000-plus words he and I exchanged in the interview transcript, I tried to focus on the core of Rep. Hall’s biography — the story of what someone can accomplish with nothing more than a strong work ethic, an unfailing sense of humor, and most importantly, a spouse that makes literal the cliché "my better half."


So whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican — Ralph Hall’s biggest supporter or his most vocal detractor — it is my hope that you can read this Sunday’s story apolitically; see it not through the lens of Obamacare or Ronald Reagan’s domestic agenda, but through the lens of simple human interest.


Because what’s most fascinating about Ralph Hall isn’t his politics or his voting record, or even his age and his position as America’s oldest member of the House. Ralph Hall is interesting because his story really encapsulates the American Dream. If a little boy from Fate, Texas, who was a "terrible student" and "not popular" in high school can grow up to spend weekends fishing with The Mick and have astronauts as houseguests and marry a woman who challenged him and made him a better person, it’s a much-needed reminder of what makes this country special.


Happy Sunday morning birthday to Ken Studer, and Kathy Neff of Denison; Patsy Cecil, Donald Portman of Durant,Okla.; Dr. Ogden Bauer, Darian Curry, Janánn Power, Jan Gaddis, I`Dazia Traylor and Ruby Sisemore all of Sherman.


Happy Anniversary to Jason and Christi Strange of Whitesboro — 19 years; Joe and Norma West of Whitesboro — 62 years; Gaylon and Ruth Hightower of Sherman — 52 years.