Our Richards family kin are all across the U.S. However my great Uncle who raised me half time, was from San Augustine,
and Crockett, Texas. His name was Stratford (Strat) Harrison Richards. He was President of the Federal Land Bank in Crockett,
Texas and Asst. Warden at the Huntsville State Penitentiary Walls Unit. When I was a little lass I went with him to the prison
and visited other offices where his office was.
Papaw was also a Secret Service Man. He traveled alot and I was sent to live at :Camel Hill" Ranch with his wife my Aunt
Lena Busby Richards. Papaw loved me dearly and it was mutual. I couldn't wait for him to come home from his trips for he would
pull his chair up out under the Oak tree in the back yard and tell me stories. I called him the storyteller and he called
Papaw had a white Cadillac and I would sit on the arm rest when we went into town to go and get me clothing on my charge
account at Gandy's childrens Wear in Crockett. Papaw (Strat) used to swing me on the fence that led to the pasture. It
was a heavy steel gate. I loved to be swung back and forth. One day he told me to climb aboard, close my eyes and cover them
with my hands. I could hear the clanking in the background coming up the drive. When I was told to open my eyes, there
was a small horse trailer and the most beautiful Pinto pony I had ever seen stepped out. Papa had a white gift box with
a big red ribbon on it. He said to open it and inside was a red and black fringed cowgirl top and skirt, a pair of black and
red cowboy boots and a red cowgirl hat. It was wonderul. I named the horse Pinto and at the age of 4, I rode him
over our 385 acres called "Camel Hill" by myself. Pinto and I had many adventures of which I am writing about in other blogs.
Pinto had been George W. Bushs pony. I even got a saddle with him.
Once when Papaw came home from Huntsville. I was in his favorite chair on the breezway. He had laid his favorite hat
down and I accidently sat on it. Papaw took his hat slapped it on his knee, and put it on his head saying it was good as knew.
We all laughed for it was a little dented and warped.
Another time he came home to find me crying. Cull had tied my pigtails into a knot for meaness. Papaw was furious
and told Cull he better not do it again or else. We never found out what the or else was. lol
Pinto was a fantastic horse. He and I bonded from Day one. I took Pinto down the path to the water tanks with my fishing
pole. Often I fell asleep while he layed on his side. One time a big black water moccassin snake came to get me. Pinto jumped
up and pounded the snake with his hooves until he killed it. The Pinto pushed me all the way back to the house with his nose.
I always said God really gave that horse to me, he just used Papaw to deliver it!
We had a long dining table in the dining area. Memaw used to wake me up to go to the hen house to get us eggs. Often
I got pecked. We returned with our little basket full and Memaw cookded while I watched. Then fancy we were. Sitting all alone
at the big dining table full of chairs. Memaw at one end and me at the other.
She said I got the big top spot on the end because I was a Princess. I often got to hook Pinto to a little green wagon
and ride around in circles at the top of the hill.
Soon Papaw was dying and Mother had remarried and taken me to
Arlington to live. My grandmother came to get me when Papaw was in Houston on his death bed and I was sat upon the dinner
tray over his lap. I wanted to sit on him but he had stomach cancer and so I sat on the tray and patted his white hair with
my hand and said, " Papaw you get better now." he kissed me on the cheek and said in a tired voice OK, Kitten don't you
Papaw left me much but it didn't turn out that way. Soon he had slipped through my little hands and was gone. Things
would never be the same. I was adopted which was a disaster after Mother remarried.
I came back to Crockett years later and much had changed. I wasn't allowed at Camel Hill anymore. Jesse was still around
and tending to things as he always had. Memaw was in whitehall nursing home. She had kept a picture of me on her nightstand
with my hair in little curls. She had kept my tricyle all those years in her little house out back of the big hill. She couldn't
talk and was in fetal position but I visited her almost everyday. I started feeding her Campbell soup and vitamins and soon
she was sitting up in a wheelchair and pointing out the window, Dr. Darsey thought it was amazing. Always
she pointed just in the right direction of Camel Hill just past the loop in Crockett. Take me home she would say. then
she would wonder off talking about me in the third person as tho I wasn't me. She would say "our little Robbin" and that "horse"
she could ride. lol
My Aunt Altee Shivers had taught tap dance in the living room of the Camel Hill house. I used to sit at the self playing
piano for hours with Memaw pretending to play her music. She had imported rugs from Eurpope gracing the floor. Once in a long
while she would take down the brass horse and saddle off Papaws dresser and let me put Barbie on it to ride. It wasn't often,
and I appeciated and was very careful with it for it was Papaws favorite.
The times we rode in the Caddie to town I used to call houses (trees) and Cattle "kitty dogs" Papaw would almost laugh
himself silly, then Memaw would laugh and pretty soon we would all be laughing so hard Papaw would pull over and do a call
to the "Kitty dogs" to come to the fence line where he let me pet them.
Those were the best days of my life, the days I was loved, the days of fondest memories.
* I didn't want to fail to mention old Gray, a hugh Catfish in the tank at the base of Camel Hill toward Jesse's place.
Many had tried to catch him and one day I finally did. It was so sad I put him back!! he had to be ancient.