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Richardson-Taylor Reunion News

November 10, 1993

The Richardsons right before the raid. Nobody of any importance is missing from this picture.

The Reunion News is coming out a little early for a couple of reasons. The first is that I got a call the other day from Laurence. He left a message on my answering machine telling me that he was going to get "fixed" in January and he wanted to invite a whole bunch of people to watch. If it is going to be held in Santa Rosa I may have to pass. He did not explain much about whether this was some kind of civil or criminal requirement which had been imposed upon him, or whether he thought it would just be a fun way to spend the afternoon.

Come to think of it, the tape was not very clear and he could have said either that he was going to get "fixed" or that he was going to get "hitched." I figured the first was much more likely, and of far greater public benefit, so that's how I will pass it on to the rest of you.

The second reason I will explain a little later.

As you all know (with the exception of those who have never attended a single reunion), the last reunion was held on the Merced River where it was hotter than Hell most of the time. You could drink all day and never take a leak.

When I arrived a rather strange looking person came running toward me. "Hi, Cliff!" he said.

I always find it unnerving when eye-witnesses can identify me. I figured it was best to humor him. "Hi," I said.

"Do you know who I am?" he asked.

"Stranger," I told him, "I think you are in the wrong camp. We don't ask questions like that around here."

"I'll give you a clue," he said, "I'm a Taylor," as if that would have narrowed down the field.

"That may well be, but it's nothing to brag on," I told him, "and taking your word for it, I would hate to guess."

"I'm David Taylor," he said merrily, "and I brung my whole family with me," apparently not noticing the look of shock and dread which crossed my face.

Don Morris: Redefining handsome

I had no reason to believe that this had any relation to the truth but I decided to accept his story for two reasons. The first is that it is my standing policy not to question anyone's tales of how they could be related to the family, no matter how remarkable the story might be. The second is that I quickly decided that if anyone wanted to claim to be David Taylor, I would not dispute him for the honor of it.

Pete's explanation for why he is unemployed.

He told me how much he liked reading the Reunion News and assured me that, while some high-falutin' people may have been offended by some things I said, he certainly was not. He went on to assure me that he was just as hard to insult as any of the Morrises, and for pretty much the same reasons. It was a comforting thought.

He spent the better part of half an hour introducing me to all the people he had brought with him with the obvious expectation that I might remember some of them the next time around. I have made no such effort to remember anyone in the past and no one should expect that I would make such an effort now or in the future. It makes no difference in the conversation anyway. From then on, he would pull me aside every couple of hours to introduce me to some new "relative" of his (he claimed that the majority of them were his children, though he was hazy on more than a few) who had shown up just in time to eat. I figure that the eight dollar contribution for his household probably worked out to about ten cents a head.

David Leard and his wife, Pat, were there. She still uses her maiden name, Lindsey, in order not to be too closely associated with him. They could be legally attached or just living in sin. She was suspiciously friendly and I wondered why until she pulled me aside and slipped me five dollars so I wouldn't say anything bad about them. The going rate is ten -- each.

Laurence under the influence again.

Now I am going to tell you something that you probably would not have believed even if you had been there and seen it with your own eyes, but they decided that David Leard met the sanitary standards to host a reunion, and that he and the woman who cleans his cage would host the next family reunion in some place called Seattle. I know that some of you will find this hard to believe but it is cold, hard fact. I can assure you that I had no part in the transaction and I would have denied responsibility in any case. The vote was made and carried entirely by the Alzheimer's crowd, led by Margaret, whose mental state had apparently been adversely affected by the long drive from New Mexico. Pete went so far as to auction off fifteen pounds of perfectly good hamburger rather than cart it up to Seattle for next year.

Lunch wasn't quite enough for Richard and Pat.

Laurence was there and spent some time telling me that he agreed with me wholeheartedly on legalizing drugs. "It is tremendously important," he said, "that sick people have a right to pain killers and anesthesia." He demonstrated the point by applying a liberal dose of anesthesia to himself.

As many of you know, Laurence spent some time in the hospital earlier this year and he says that, because of his emotional condition after Wilma's passing, the hospital staff labeled him as being under great stress and therefore allowed him to do anything he chose. "It was great," he said, "I could cuss and scream and kick and rant and rave and piss on the floor and they wouldn't do nothing. It was just like home." Despite his emotional stress he was on his best behavior, so most of the time he actually left the crowd and went behind a trailer to relieve himself.

When he was at least a couple of six packs into the conversation, he got into an argument with Dorothy about something to do with politics. I don't remember what it was exactly, and I don't think you could have gotten a clear explanation from either one of them.

"Laurence, you are a stupid, ignorant, bigoted, illiterate, and disgusting idiot!" Dorothy told him.

"So what's your point?" he asked. He is among the quicker of the Taylors.

Louise Leard (my Aunt Polly) was there again. She said that nothing much new has happened in her life, except that she has a new pair of stove lids for glasses. They look nice on her. She says that I should respect her more now that she is a hundred-and-something (or is it two hundred-and-something?) years old. I told her that if she had gotten to be that old she should stop expecting miracles. I am quite sure that some day Louise will be just as old as she always wanted to be.

Ruthie and Tom were there but Tom spent most of Saturday in the trailer. Ruthie explained to me that he was laid up because of something that had happened between them the previous night. This was no great surprise to me and I would tell you what it was, but there are some things that I prefer she didn't share with me.

Ruthie spent the weekend burglarizing cars.

James and Edna were there and Edna was sporting the latest in orthopedic appliances for her broken leg. She is doing better than anyone would have a right to expect after such an injury (she really did it good when she did it) although she passed up a perfectly good chance to get several cartons of pain-killers and other mind-altering drugs. She claims she likes it better that way. Not me. I want morphine for paper cuts.

Since the reunion there have been a number of interesting developments on the drug legalization front. Judge James P. Gray and Joseph McNamara presented the resolution to Dr. Lee Brown, the current drug czar at a dinner meeting on August 4. The Drug Policy Foundation in Washington has picked up the resolution as a cause. They have already printed it once in their newsletter and will soon print it again as a tear-out page that people can send it to Clinton. Federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein wrote a major article about the resolution in the July 8 NY Times, it has been on Nightline, in Newsweek, in High Times, and has received lots of other media coverage. Dr. Dean Edell mentions the resolution about once a month on his radio show and Hugh Downs has done two shows in which he has mentioned the resolution and quoted directly from the things I have written. (Oddly enough, he chose the only facts in my little booklet which I cannot directly support with actual statistics. For example, he used my line that, "More Colombians die from American tobacco than the number of Americans who die from Colombian cocaine." I don't have any actual statistics for that one, although there is every reason to believe it is true.) We have received literally thousands of signed resolutions from all over the world, including Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, England, and other places.

Unlike Bill Henry, David Taylor scrounged up the cash to make bail and came to the reunion.

In one of the more interesting events, I appeared on the Mo Gaffney show (an Oprah-type talk show) against William Von Raab. Mr. Von Raab is the former Customs Commissioner under Reagan and Bush and the father of the "Zero Tolerance" program where they confiscated millions of dollars worth of property under the pretext that a marijuana seed was found. He quit the Bush administration because he thought they were not tough enough on drugs and has been one of the biggest campaigners for tougher sentences and bigger prisons. James would love him. I had been waiting years to get somebody like him in front of an audience where they could not run and could not hide.

To make a long story short, I beat the snot out of him for an hour and he caved in and gave up. I did not even give him a break during the commercials. At the end of the hour he signed the resolution calling for an objective commission to rewrite our drug policy and admitted to me that he did not know anything about drugs and, therefore, was not qualified to speak on drug policy. He also told me that our previous Drug Czars, William Bennett and Bob Martinez, knew even less about drugs than he did, so there was no way they could have been qualified for their jobs, either. (His words.) I do not believe that he will ever try to speak out on this issue again.

As a result of the resolution, on September 20, a bill was introduced into Congress, H.R. 3100, The National Drug Control Policy Act of 1993, by Representative Don Edwards of San Jose. This bill calls for a thirteen-member commission to review and rewrite our national drug policy, based on an objective evaluation of the evidence. Five members of the commission would be appointed by the President, and four each by the Senate and the House of Representatives. Currently elected or appointed government officials would not be allowed as members of the commission. The bill is being supported by the Drug Policy Foundation, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, and others. I urge everyone to write to your elected officials and support H.R. 3100.

Anyway, I told you there is another reason why the reunion news is coming out early this year. It is because David Leard has put together the plans for the next reunion and, assuming everyone agrees to it, it will be necessary to notify the place where it will be held by November, 1993. So you all have to respond fairly quickly to let him know.

So here is David Leard's proposal for the next reunion, recited verbatim, with only minimal comments on my part.

First, he wants to hold it at a place called the "Icicle River" in Washington. Pretty inviting, huh? Bring your bathing suit and watch your body pucker. I guess he thinks that is the only way he could top Becky after she invited the Morrises to Mooney Grove.

Here is what David had to say. Some corroborating incriminating evidence is also enclosed.

Because of the distance folks will have to travel, they won't be able to bring food as they normally do for the California reunions. That limited choices to places which could provide food at reasonable cost, provide activities, have camping nearby and be beautiful (not hot and dusty) We have chosen Mountain Home Lodge in Leavenworth, WA as the main location for lodging and meals. There are many activities available here.

Those who are driving or camping can plan on going straight to the Lodge or rv/camping area described below. If you are flying into SEATAC airport, you will have to rent a car to drive to Mountain Home Lodge. You will need a map of Washington. Detailed directions to come later should there be enough interest.

Mountain Home, Tel.(509) 548-7077, is a destination vacation lodge just outside Leavenworth, WA, approximately 2-2 hours drive from SEATAC and Seattle. We have arranged to have the entire lodge if we can book enough rooms in advance. Tentatively planned for weekend of Friday/Saturday, June 24, 25, Sunday optional. We would have to reserve for Friday and Saturday nights and anyone wishing more nights could do so. (rate sheet enclosed) The cost for entire lodge is $892 for lodging of 18 people, 24 maximum. There are eight (8) rooms, each accommodating one to three people. Rates range from $88 to $118 per night for two people. An addition person in a room is $15 more. A buffet dinner on Friday and Saturday would cost $15 per person, per night, Continental Breakfast is $3.50 ea. and big breakfast is $8.25. (Their continental breakfast is quite good and the regular breakfast is more than ample). Lunch is $6.00; usually soup, sandwiches, lemonade, cookies.

In order to guarantee that we are not sharing the loge, we have to let them know by November. If we don't fill the lodge, we could still use it as a base, but other guests would be there also. That could mean younger children would not be allowed in main lodge accommodations, but OK for day visits. i.e., children and pets normally not accepted at lodge. The accommodations are much better than average and the food is always good. The owners are friendly and willing to work with us on the menu. Usually dinner is BBQ salmon or steaks, done outside main lodge. Lots of activities, including: hiking, horseshoes, volleyball, tennis, swimming in the pool, and a hot tub located just off the large main deck. Lots of things to do.

There is the "best RV Park I have ever seen" just a few miles from the lodge. The Icicle River RV Park, 7305 Icicle Road, Leavenworth, WA 98826. Tel. #(509) 548-5420 They are closed during winter, open in April, a Good Sam Park, with 10% discount for Good Sam members, AAA, Golden Age (62), and when taking 5 unites or more, other discounts apply, please inquire if interested. Rates are: $22.50 per day for full hook up; $15.50 per day for tent space. These rates apply to two people per unit. It's very clean, with facilities for laundry, showers, etc. They are the kind of place that fills early in the year, so make reservations as soon as possible. They do take reservations during the winter when closed. Keep trying if no answer.

There is fishing right out your back door if you stay at Icicle River. It's a bit of a drive to Mountain Home from the park, in the range of 20 -25 minutes because of the road to Mountain Home. (A bit primitive, slow going, but it is kept in good shape during most of summer. Can be muddy in spring if snow melt is slow.)

The Lodge will provide transportation to the Lodge from the bottom of Mountain Home Road, just outside Leavenworth, but they charge a fee. In addition, if you are not staying at the Lodge, they charge a day use fee of $10 per person allowing access to all facilities at the lodge, this fee is reduced if you include a meal while there.

We realize this is more expensive than reunions in the past. Although Margaret volunteered us, we accepted the challenge and did our best. It was a difficult search because of the summer demand for recreation and camping in this area. The close-in spots are taken years/months in advance or lease their best facilities by the month only and they are all taken. If this doesn't work for too many people, there is always the option of returning to somewhere in CA. We will be happy to follow through with the plan if the OK is given by enough folks to fill the lodge and others can stay in the camping area.

Well, there you have it. This plan will probably require a fair amount of decision-making so discuss it all among yourselves and call David Leard

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