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December 1, 1992
Merry Christmas! The annual family reunion has come and gone again. I believe it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Well, for all of you who attended the reunion this year, you know that Becky and Carl put on one of the better feeds of the past few years. There was some really good steak, and everybody brought a lot of other fixings which, luckily, we did not have to share with any of the lower creatures such as Bill Henry. All in all, I would say it was successful. Only a couple of people took shots at me, and both of those were deflected. Becky, being the gracious hostess that she is, offered to help them reload, but cooler heads prevailed.
When we got to the reunion, Meta came running out to meet us. I am a good bit faster than she is, so I kept a good distance between us until I was sure she was in a good mood. I am sure you will understand when I tell you that the sight of a smiling relative fills me with mixed emotions. I never know whether they are genuinely glad to see me, or just anticipating the pleasure of killing me. Meta is an especially dangerous relative because she works at the Internal Revenue Service where she is the manager of Torture Chamber Number 3. She says that it is against the rules for her to look up any particular person's taxes, which helps to establish her alibi when you are suddenly picked for an audit. Beware of anyone who claims innocence before your bad luck.
As usual, Bill Henry did not show up for the umpteenth year in a row. As you all know, I have no interest in trashing his reputation, even if such a thing was possible. Therefore I shall try to report only the most favorable things I heard about him.
There were signs that Bill Henry would show up, but it turned out to be a false alarm -- somebody ran over a skunk. Bud was not fooled, he knew right away it wasn't Bill Henry.
"Ain't nearly as pungent as Bill Henry," he said. "You'd have to have whole carload of skunks before I'd think Bill Henry was coming."
"Now Bud," Louise said, "I think you're going to offend some skunks with that kind of talk."
As it turned out, nobody had anything nice to say about this low-down individual. Even Louise Leard, who normally comes to his defense, had to admit that Bill Henry and soapy water had never been close companions. "You have to remember that it is not really his fault that he has never attended a single reunion," she said. "it is just that he is so obese now that he takes up two first-class seats on the airplane. He has to steal an awful lot to get that much money."
Ruthie tried to apologize for him. "I heard he tried to come but his kids couldn't make it through the farm animal quarantine."
"Talking about farm animals," Pete said, "Living with Bill Henry was kinda like living with a grand champion Berkshire hog that eats nothing but chili beans."
"Now, be careful there," Louise cautioned him. "You might offend some Berkshire hogs that way."
Don said the worst things about Bill Henry. "Me and Bill Henry are buddies," he said, "like two peas in a pod. Bill Henry always looked up to me as a model of refinement and fine behavior. Of course, he never was quite the gentleman that I am." Don was right about that. Bill Henry never was a high society character like Don, and was not nearly as good-looking, either.
I called Bill Henry, just to see if he had any kind of miserable excuse for missing every single reunion that has ever been held. He was his usual weasel self. He told me that the most recent lewd conduct charges were all a mistake, because he was only holding it for a friend.
He told me he was coming to California in December to see some woman named Nasa. He said Dawn knew nothing about it and tried to get me to believe that he and all his family are doing well. Mark is either in college or in jail, and Craig is in his senior year in high school and will soon be eligible to be tried as an adult. Dawn, he says, was recently arrested for a long string of unsolicited good deeds. Bill says he has been doing a fair amount of running in 5K races lately and soon hopes to run a sub-15-minute mile. He became concerned about his physical condition when some old lady ran him down and took her purse back.
As usual, he gave me the mealy-mouth pretty bad about coming to the reunion. He said he would try but he could not promise anything. (His wife hears that a lot.) He said he wanted to make up for his thoroughly disgusting behavior, so he told me to tell everyone that he would give one hundred dollars to every person who calls him collect to remind him to come to the reunion. He said to be sure to call between the hours of midnight and 2 AM, California time. If he seems a bit irritable when you call, just hang up and try again in ten or fifteen minutes.
James and Edna were there in fine form, and James spent a good deal of time telling me about one occasion when he did not go to jail even though, by his own admission, he thoroughly deserved it.
Don Morris was there. More than anything else he reminds me of a mountain gorilla with a good beer gut, wearing Frisco jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, desperately trying to pass for human. You have to give him credit because sometimes he almost makes it. Elinor came along, too, with no unrealistic expectations about Don's behavior. Jeff did not come along. Elinor explained that he slipped his collar and ran off to Sacramento. Elinor does not attend all that many reunions but it must be stated that her attendance record is a thousand times better than Bill Henry's. I heard that Don was sick with a heart problem earlier this year and, on one occasion, he actually passed on for a short time. The Lord, however, saw Don knocking on the pearly gates, thought better of His actions, and immediately sent Don back. Don says I "appreciate" him. I suppose that is one way of putting it. I guess the Lord does too.
Joanne was there with her new granddaughter. It looks as if Christy's attempts to breed Andy have been successful. Their daughter is an absolutely stunning child, a fact which can be confirmed by anyone who had the misfortune to wander too close to Joanne's new cub. I would send you all a picture of her but the only picture I got shows Joanne proudly displaying her in the Morris Moon position, and you have all seen that before. Her Grandpa Don is justifiably proud.
Pete and Sandy were there. Pete says I should go talk to Gary in Oregon. Ruthie says that she has the highest possible opinion of Sandy and explained that Sandy is Grade-A Certifiable. I think we can believe Ruthie on this one.
Ruthie was there but Tom was not. Ruthie explained that, in less than two years of marriage, Tom had come down with double pneumonia so she thought it best to leave town while he recovered.
Louise Leard wrote me a letter in which she told me that she liked all the parts of these letters that I thought were the dullest. There is no accounting for taste, particularly in Louise's case. She says that she enjoys reading them aloud with the other members of her family. Now that is something I never even contemplated -- Louise Leard telling fart jokes to her grandchildren. Maybe she should ask Don to come over and share a few of his experiences with them. Louise said that she was pleased to see that I was able to talk about the Leards without using swear words, because it is so seldom done.
We missed Edith and Louise Taylor at the reunion for the first time in years. They are usually there every year, except for those rare occasions when there are rumors that Bill Henry might show up. The last I heard they were both doing well and making lots of money. Edith is probably organizing a marathon.
Bud was the clear winner for bringing the most family members to this reunion. I never thought he was that prolific, but from the looks of the crowd that he had, he must have been having a whole lot more fun than I thought. You could tell they were all related to him, too. They showed up and the food vanished.
Several of you have complained about (among other things) that I never say anything about myself and my family. Part of this is due to the fact that I tend to be considerably more refined than the rest of you (especially the Ohio branch of the family) but, in deference to the unending stream of complaints about one thing or another, I shall try.
What can I tell you about my family? You can't really hate somebody until you marry them. There is no happiness in life that having children cannot cure.
Serena and Alyssa (the twins) have both graduated from high school, more or less on time. The Pope has declared it a miracle and will be erecting a small shrine in front of our house. Alyssa is now going to the local junior college studying nothing in particular, and works as a secretary for a real estate appraiser. Serena has been working full time for the last two years at Pinkerton Detectives in the Employee Benefits Department, and will begin college in January. They have matching worthless boyfriends.
Melissa is in high school, has not been arrested recently (last thirty days) and had a job over the summer doing telephone canvassing for a real estate company. Her boss said she was good at talking on the phone -- a real surprise for all of us.
Courtney is now in junior high school and is wearing the braces that could have been my new car. Anyone who thinks they have ever seen stubborn should meet Courtney. For years she has insisted that one of the Four Tops biggest hits was "I'll Be Darned".
Bonnie works at Pinkerton as some kind of manager in the computer systems department, when she is not home complaining. As a hobby, they all spend money.
Now, I am sure that all of you with children feel that your children are a very special brand of idiot. In the majority of cases, I am sure you are right. That is, you spend a good deal of time just staring in amazement and shaking your head at the dumb things they do. Well, so do I, but yours probably don't make it into the local newspaper. I have enclosed a copy of a news article which appeared in our local newspaper.
It seems that Courtney (our youngest) was accused of gambling at school. One of her friends dropped a quarter, so Courtney picked it up and handed it to her. One of the teachers (a well-known local nut) saw Courtney do it and assumed that Courtney and her friend were gambling. Consequently, the teacher confiscated the money, which was the friend's lunch money, and said Courtney must come in for Saturday school (their usual punishment for schoolyard felonies). It was clearly a bum rap because neither one of them could even accurately describe the usual technique of gambling, because neither one of them had much interest in it until they got busted.
We, as parents, took exception to a stupid situation and protested the matter but, as long as Courtney didn't have to go to the Saturday school, we were ready to drop it. However, I am sure the school authorities had no idea they were messing with Alyssa.
Alyssa is the kind of person who will tell people off just because they need to be told off. She sort of considers it as a public service on her part. In fact, she goes out of her way to find people who need this service. Since we have lived here she has told off the neighbors, their kids, their pets, the homeowners association, the gardeners, the security guards, the mail man, the street sweeper, the sheriff, and the people building the housing tract next door -- to name a few. Somehow, an issue always seems to come up which requires her input. She is often the kind of person who makes you wonder if you can knock them out with one punch. Alyssa could piss off the Pope. Mother Theresa would strangle her. I have disclaimed any knowledge of her on many public occasions.
Alyssa never seems to run short of things that she objects to and she likes nothing better than a good crusade, so when this happened to her younger sister she was outraged and vowed to do something about it. I am not entirely sure why she felt she had to do something because, on any other occasion, she would gleefully torment Courtney in any way she could, and I have had to break up more than a few good fist fights between these two. If she could have personally arranged for Courtney to attend extra Saturday schools on any other occasion, I am sure she would have done it in a heartbeat. I guess the injustice of the situation was just too much for Alyssa to tolerate.
Alyssa called the local newspaper and reported it to them, providing them with our correspondence with the school, the name of the other girl, a few other pertinent facts, and a suitable amount of righteous indignation. They investigated and published the enclosed article on page one of the Sunday paper.
As result, the school authorities now eye Courtney with great suspicion, like Richard Nixon views reporters. No doubt they will tread lightly when they think of messing with Alyssa, or anyone who might know her. Their policy of arbitrarily seizing money from kids has, however, stopped.
As for me, I am doing itinerant computer consulting, some writing on various subjects, and a good deal of rabble-rousing for radical organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union. I am the only member of the Los Angeles Chapter who is also a member of the National Rifle Association. Even the ACLU thinks I am a radical. It makes me feel special to be a misfit even among the misfits.
My specialty is the legalization of drugs, although I will willingly engage almost any conservative fool on almost any subject. As some of you may already know I have spent the last few years debating everyone from local prosecutors to the Drug Czars on this issue and, to date, have never lost. The reason I don't lose is simple enough -- any rational review of the evidence shows that legalization is a far better approach. Most of the information I have is really surprising.
Do you know why drugs were originally outlawed? Cocaine was outlawed because of the fear that superhuman Negro Cocaine Fiends would drink large amounts of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola and go on a violent sexual rampage and rape white women. Caffeine was almost outlawed at the same time because of the same fear. Police nationwide switched from .32 caliber to .38 caliber pistols because, as one police officer put it, "Those cocaine niggers sure are hard to kill." Opiates were outlawed because of racial prejudice against the Chinese, and marijuana was outlawed as a legal weapon against Mexican laborers during the Depression. The laws never had anything to do with public health and safety.
As some of you may know, this year there were three judges from Orange County who publicly came out and said they supported legalization of drugs. I have been coaching these judges on how to debate the subject of drug legalization in media appearances and there has been more than a little success. In any flat-footed debate they are just about unbeatable. On one recent radio talk show one of the judges I am coaching was supposed to debate Sherman Block, the LA County Sheriff. The morning of the debate, Sheriff Block announced that he would have to release 20 percent of all of the prisoners in Los Angeles County because there were no more jails to hold them. Sheriff Block failed to show up for the debate and the radio station could not find any official in LA or Orange County who was willing to defend the criminal laws against drugs. A recent survey showed that forty percent of all of the judges in Orange County now support legalization.
(Can you imagine Louise Leard reading this propaganda about drug legalization to her grandchildren? I'm gonna get scolded for sure. She already blames me for corrupting her youngest child, and still watches me warily when I talk to him.)
Attached you will find the latest info on the next reunion. Pete says there will be more information later, presumably after he has already collected all the money.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Where: Merced River Resort, near Turlock When: June 26 and 27, 1993 In the absence of further information from Pete, we should assume that the contribution will be the same, $8.00 per household or loosely organized mob. Important: Pete says he needs to know who is coming by January 15, 1993 in order to reserve the camp sites. Reserved camp sites, tents, and trailers will need to be paid for by April 15, 1933.
The campground has camp sites, tents, trailers which may be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. The camp sites and tents each rent for $15 per night, and you may have more than one tent per camp site.
The trailers rent for $35 per night. The trailers, I am told, have three beds and will sleep up to six people, depending upon their degree of familiarity. One bed is an actual bed, another bed is really a table, and a third is a sofa -- kinda like we all used to sleep when we lived on Fedora. The trailers are supposed to be 24 footers with all of the amenities of home. Those of you who use linens on your bed will need to bring them with you.
Pete says to get your reservations in early because there are only six trailers and Pete and Laurence have already taken two of them. Ruthie will probably take another one, so anyone who doesn't speak quickly is going to be sleeping in the park again.
There is also a clubhouse which serves breakfast from 9 to 10 AM (too early for me) for about two or three dollars per adult (too rich for most of us). Alternatively, they have large dumpsters available to feed the Morrises and the Leards.
Additional accommodations are available in the motels in Turlock eight miles away, for $36 to $44 per night. Pete says he will supply more information about these later.
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