My blogs this year are about clearing your life – the good kind. A wonderful author was cleared from our life this week – and no one was ready.
I met Dusty Richards 8 or 10 years ago. I can’t remember what year I first attended an OWFI conference, but I know Dusty was there. He’d sit in the main area of the conference and call out to anyone walking by.
“Hey Peggy, have you read the latest?” He didn’t have any idea who I was, but he read my name tag from across the room and started a conversation with me. He never met a stranger.
I was so nervous just to be there and knew no one except for a few people from the writing club I had just joined. But Dusty was friendly.
Not knowing what to say to this “larger than life cowboy,” I mentioned Johnny Quarles – the only western writer I’d ever known. He’d worked in radio with my husband back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. “Oh, he was a wonderful writer – one of the best!” he said. Then he wanted to know how I knew Johnny. Dusty was personable like that and found a way to make everyone feel at ease. His wife, Pat, would sit quietly at his side and crochet or read while he talked. And of course, I bought the book and had him sign it to my husband.
The next morning, he asked us to have breakfast with them. Somewhere I have a picture of that breakfast.
Dusty was interested in my books about the Heavener Runestone. He was as mesmerized by the area as I was, and we talked about runestones found all over Oklahoma and Arkansas. He sat at a book signing in Arkansas and talked to me about my book instead of tending his table and selling his own work. He made me feel very welcome. He was just that type of person.
Like everyone who knew Dusty and Pat I was devastated hearing about the wreck that eventually took both their lives. I read he had published over 150 books. One of his latest was made into a movie. “The Painted Lady” has won several awards. I think that is one the greatest complements a writer can receive – to have one of their books made into a movie. I’m so glad he received the opportunity to see it come to fruition before his death.
Happy trails, Dusty and Pat. You will be missed.