ANGEL EAVES AT A GLANCE
Education: graduated from Forest Hill High School; attended Hinds Community College
Family: married to John Arthur Eaves Jr.; four sons
Hobbies/interests: writing, singing, classical music (including Mozart and Bach) and video games (Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man)
Angel Eaves: A survivor, she aspires to help, heal Mississippi
By Gary Pettus email@example.com
She was 12 years old, lying on her back, her eyes hurting from the lights in the ambulance.
Moments earlier, she had been at a neighbor’s house, jumping on a trampoline, where she slipped and fell on her neck. Now, it felt like her legs were missing.
Inside the ambulance, she started to blink, until a voice, coming down between her and the lights, stopped her cold.
“Don’t close your eyes, sweetie,” the voice told her. “You might not wake up.”
Angel Ainsworth began to pray – her eyes wide open.
Rain is falling on a Wednesday morning, 13 days from the general election. The campaign bus is shooting north on I-55, its tires slinging mist and mud.
It’s the kind of day that can be bad on her neck.
When the weather turns cold, she can feel it sometimes, a loose piece of cartilage, or something, touching a nerve.
Angel Eaves – born Ainsworth – is on the bus with her husband, John Arthur Eaves Jr., the Democratic candidate for governor, who will comb north Mississippi for votes on this day.
They probably won’t see the children again until late that night – the kind of disruption in the family routine their four boys call “campaignful.”
Angel Eaves, who says she enjoys campaigning, still has to laugh – appreciating the pun and the truth wrapped inside it.
They are the underdogs.
The overdogs are popular Republican Gov. Haley Barbour and his wife, Marsha.
As expected, the two men in this race have attacked each others’ records. Not as expected, maybe, was a “campaignful” moment when Barbour made an issue of Angel Eaves.
“I got my trophy wife the first time,” he said at the Neshoba County Fair in July.
It was a reference, it seems, to another marriage and to Angel Eaves’ youth.
She is 30, about 11 years younger than her husband who, like Barbour, is an attorney and a millionaire.
She was married twice before – her first husband was also an Eaves, although not related to John. Brady, 11, is her son from that marriage. As for John Arthur Eaves Jr., he has three sons from his first marriage: John III, 13; Sterling, who turns 12 on Thursday; and Christian, 9.
The four boys live with them in their home in Madison, which features a room decorated with posters from favorite movies.
Angel Eaves’ is Gone With the Wind.
“I’m a Mississippi girl,” she said.
In a way, that’s one reason her second marriage ended.
“My husband was a wonderful man,” she said, “but we were more like business partners. We kept moving for his job; we were supposed to come back to Mississippi at one point, but he was transferred again. That wasn’t the life I wanted for my son.”
It was Brady, and all the boys, she was thinking about, she said, after Barbour’s comment.
“They were with us at the fair and heard about it,” she said. “I had to explain what it meant.
“The comment from the governor was true to his character. I was embarrassed for him. I don’t want anything to ever bother the children. As long as it’s not directed toward them, I’m fine.”
For her part, Angel Eaves refers to her and her husband’s previous marriages as “the circumstances we both have been through.”
“I believe God gave us a second chance,” she said.
John Arthur Eaves Jr.’s “second chance” is the daughter of Daryl and Kristie Ainsworth of Jackson, who named her Angela.