Its been a tough couple of years for our community, and this week is no different; this is the week we lost Richard Craig.
As a kid, my brother was my biggest hero, and his friends became the same after he passed. The first memories I have of him with his friends usually involved going to Richard’s to pick up Lyle and Casey. That group of guys, including Jamie, Brock, Heath, Brandon, and the Craig brothers had a lot of fun together. My mother missed having them all together after Brad passed away.
Richard’s barber shop has always been the unofficial meeting place of the men in the community. When I would come home from Auburn or Charleston, Richard’s barber shop was one of my first stops. He was an orator with a captive audience; I always thought he would have been as good a writer or politician as he was a barber. I’d go early and stay a good while; when Richard was talking, he always kept us entertained with stories of the old days, soldiers coming home, and haggling with Max Arnold over the price of a good hair cut, before he was rich and famous. I’m going to miss those trips a lot.
I have always thought of the Craig family as the real life Waltons. They worked hard, stuck together, loved each other, served the Lord, and were fun to be around. Ryan had gone to college by the time I came along, but he was always like John Boy Walton to us; the community was proud to see him come home to write. I remember dad calling Ryan as soon as he came back to Hopkinsville, wanting him to cover our yearly rodeo at the farm.
Casey and Lyle were hard workers and industrious too. Casey and I have spent many nights tying cows to trees and pulling calves in snowstorms. When Casey or Richard called, we’ve always tried to be there. They were our neighbors and our friends; in Todd County that Is close to being family.
Last year, Richard called me after a big snow melt. He said he had a cow down, but she was near a creek bed a quarter mile from the road. I told him I would try to find her and get her fixed up. He said, ” good luck brother, it’s slick down there.” We had a new vet student from Lexington with us that week, and she was trying to decide between equine and bovine medicine. After a long morning of palpation and sick cow work, we skipped lunch and headed to Richards. Richard was working at the barber shop, so we were on our own.
She opened the gate, and as I entered the field, I knew driving was going to be tough. The snow melt had completely saturated the ground, and is was like driving a truck through soup. I started to sink immediately, and I knew if I stopped the truck, I would never get to the cow. The student made a run for the truck, and jumped in as I gunned it across the field. We slid and sputtered the truck across Richard’s field, trying to reach the cow on the other side. The vet student was covered in mud and manure from opening the gate and Trying to catch up with the truck as I tried to keep us moving to the cow. We finally reached the cow and treated her, but this was only the beginning of our ardorous journey. As we started back up the hill from the saturated bottom land, we were immediately spinning like we were on a sheet of glass. when we got close to the gate, I told her to bail out and try to open the gate, this further solidified her argument for equine medicine and her saturation with debris. We got home successfully, but I’m pretty sure that Richard and I, inadvertently, helped that student make her decision to be an equine vet!
When I remember Richard, I will remember chasing cows on four wheelers, bulls chasing us around allegre, all the good times in the barber shop, and the legacy he leaves with a good family.
I hope the family finds what I have found with the loss of my mother; no matter where you go or what you do, they always seem to be with you. The loss is heavy, but Richard will have Saint Peter cornered, asking a lot of questions and wanting some explanations for the next few weeks. He was an icon around here, and he can’t be replaced. He will be missed by us all.