My friend and old digging partner, Bud Richards, passed recently at the age of 87 and I felt like I should say something here and share some memories. Bud was an engineer by trade; very intelligent and soft-spoken. He lived a life of adventure, traveling the world for work and pleasure and served in the military. I came to know Bud when I was a boy back in the early 70's, and took up the hobby with the supervision of Bud and my uncle, Steve Phillips. We went digging somewhere in the deep South nearly every weekend in the Fall & Winter for the better part of the next 15 years solid, and sporadically afterwards.
You all know the story about how it was back then with relics to be found everywhere along with the new detectors coming out....we killed it for a long time. I remember digging so much in North Georgia that we had to make multiple trips back to the car with the cannonballs, and one day finding where an ammo wagon had overturned within spittin distance of I-75, dumping thousands of bullets for this teenage boy to find a hundred+ years later. Digging a railroad blockhouse in North Alabama and finding a cache of bayonets. My first, I got so excited to show Bud that I ran through the woods, tripped and fell down a hillside with the bayonet in my hands. Bud thought I was going to be the next war casualty that day. We found naval shells once along the river that were so big & ungainly, we just left them there. In middle Tennessee once, we woke up to a 2" snowfall and headed to the campsite. It was so very cold and we actually built a campfire in the woods. Steve found a bayonet stuck in the roots of a tree that day, and we headed to the car for a hand ax in order to retrieve it. We run into Bud on the way back to the tree, and he is so proudly showing us the bayonet piece he had found and broken out of our tree stump. Good one Bud.
When I finally turned 16, I became the driver. Digging trips would begin before daylight, loading up the truck and then Steve & Bud would both go to sleep as I drove us to the battlefield that day. Once, they forgot to tell me that the speedometer was broken and not accurate. We were all amazed that a 16 year old boy had somehow magically made a 3-hour trip only take 1/2 as long while staying under the speed limit. It seemed like they had just gone to sleep! Around 1980 or so, we spent a tremendous amount of time just wandering the woods in North Mississippi looking for our mythical CS campsite. We literally had a couple of years in it before the time came for discovery. Bud was with me that day when I walked into a little hollow deep in the woods and dug a Georgia frame buckle that was really just under the leaves. We spent years in there at this untouched CS camp and found so many CS relics of all kinds. To this day, that was always the prettiest place, with the best quality relics. It was the best of times.
As we all grew older (and the relics thinned out), life stepped in as it does, and we grew apart with not so much time to go digging any more. School, weddings, babies, jobs, funerals.....it all stacks up, but some of the best memories for me are of those cold Winter mornings in the deep woods as a young man with my uncle Steve & our friend Bud, all of us looking for that next little campsite that's just got to be over this next hill. That's where Bud is now, just out of sight up over that next hill. Go ahead, I'll catch up. Thanks Bud.