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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

October, 2006

 

A Texan In Bolinas - RIP Ann Richards
By Alex Horvath

The passing of former Texas Governor Ann Richards reminds me of the time back in 1995 when I met her briefly down at Smiley's Saloon as she was looking over historical local artifacts in the former fish tank. The moment was fleeting, but memorable nonetheless. It was on one of those balmy summer afternoons when anything can (and often does) happen. Me: part-time bartender, political junkie, and at the time, columnist at Pacific Sun newspaper.
I looked out across the room and there was this nicely dressed, older woman with big white hair, along with a couple of other female companions, taking in the bar as though they had just walked in from another planet. I squinted my eyes and looked more closely at the older white haired lady.

"That sure looks like Ann Richards," I remarked to a patron. I walked out from around the bar and over to the woman. "May I answer any questions for you" I asked. "No, that's okay, we're just visiting from out of town." I was an admirer of Gov. Richards, so I wanted to be sure. "Where are you from?" She replied with slow semi-twang, "Texas."

That was pretty much it. The former governor had quit drinking fifteen years earlier, so that's probably why she never ordered anything. Richards and her friends left - and toward the end of my shift I encountered local musicians who had been playing at a political benefit on the outskirts of town that was in honor of the Texas governor. The party had been held at the home of Espirit co-founder Susie Tompkins and her then boyfriend/now husband, Mark Buell. Richards was up for re-election against none other than George W. Bush - no easy task - hence, the Bolinas fundraiser.

After getting information about the event, which raised $80,000, and included appearances by local and national celebrities and a reported helicopter with gun turret dropping off the guest of honor, I wrote about it in my column in the Pacific Sun, which resulted in my being summoned up to the Tompkins-Buell estate for a chewing out by the lady of the manor, who with a wagging finger insisted that there had been no chopper!


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