Doubly blessed for 60 years
Reaching a 60th wedding anniversary in the music industry is almost unheard of. The life of a musician can certainly take its toll on wedded bliss. Ralph and Rena Richardson managed to avoid those pitfalls. “I always came home,” said Ralph. He never took to the rode with his music career, though he had plenty of chances. He chose to play only local gigs and kept a day job. He also avoided the drugs and heavy drinking sometimes associated with a musician’s life.
“They’re all dead and gone,” he said of others, such as Hank Williams Sr. who had offered him a chance to play with them. “Had I went, I might not be here today.”
Ralph has played the fiddle since the age of 12. He says it is a God given gift and he has been doubly blessed, both in music and in love. Rena said, “There’s something about a musician that can’t be bad.” Rena never had a desire to play an instrument. “One musician in the family is enough,” she said.
The couple was married May 6, 1950. Rena was 19 years old and Ralph was 26. They had four children. Their oldest daughter, Alana, passed away in 1984 but gave them four grandchildren. Ralph said she had a beautiful voice and had been offered the role of Patsy Cline in a movie about her life, but died before the movie was made. Arlene Spurlock, their second daughter had one child, son, Randall Richardson has four children and the Richardsons’ youngest daughter, Linda Richardson has one, giving them a total of 10 grandchildren. They also have 11 great-grandchildren. “I’ve got a beautiful life, a beautiful family,” said Ralph.
Thursday, their anniversary was celebrated Cajun style, with gumbo and music at the home of close friend, Charlie Hartman. Charlie’s momma, Polly Hartman made potato salad that everyone raved about.
Several musician friends joined Ralph and Charley in the jam session including Lennie Benoit on drums, Carroll Broussard on steel guitar, Jr. Benoit (Ralph’s first cousin) and J.B. Broussard on base.
This weekend, the Richardsons will travel to San Marcus for the 22nd annual Hall of Fame Reunion. He is looking forward to visiting with Jerome Stubbs, “One of the greatest guitar pickers in the world,” said Ralph. He will also be joined with Deacon “Rag Mop” Anderson. “They invited me 10 years ago,” said Ralph, but it was only year before last when he went for the first time. He wasn’t going to attend this year, “but they talked me into it.”
The Richardsons just recently came back from Bobbie Wayne’s place in Rye, Texas where Ralph played with “Bud and Bud,” the Hooper twins.
That’s how Ralph and Rena are spending retirement, gathering about once a month with old country and Cajun legends, playing the night away.