Mr Richard

genecolin(Zone 9, LA)August 19, 2010

The fig I got from him was just a plain old Brown Turkey. Since it had been planted 57 years ago in his yard and he had gotten it from an older neighbor across the street, I had high hopes that it might be a fig brought to this area by an immigrant. But it was not meant to be, just a plain old Brown Turkey.

Even though the fig was nothing special, Mr. Richard was anything but. I met him on a whim when I saw a fig tree in the background of a picture of someone showing off some fish. I question the presenter of the picture and that led me to Mr. Richard, Claude Richard to be exact. Mr. Claude as he was affectionately known. I placed a phone call to him asking him questions about his fig. He answered all I asked but had no idea what kind it was. Then he invited me to come over and pick up a tree that he had started in a pot. It was a 2 hour drive and when I got there he offered me all the cuttings that I wanted also. We had a very cordial visit with him and his wife, and since it was in the middle of winter, he invited me back when the figs would be ripe.

A few weekends back I happen to find myself only about a half hour away from his house so I took a chance on catching him home. I had been fore warned by my fishing friend that Mr. Richard was suffering from a severe cancer. Somewhat apprehensive I knocked on the door. Mrs. Richard answered the door and recognized me immediately and invited us in while she was announcing our arrival to her husband. We joined them in the den where we sat and talked a bit. Mr. Richard told us what was going on with him and his disease and that the contraption hanging around his neck was a Chemo pump supplying him with chemicals around the clock to try to knock back the cancer.

At that point he got up and said I want to show you something. He returned to the room carrying a fairly large folded picture and handed it to me. This is what caused my cancer and all the other bouts IÂve had with it. As I looked at the picture, at first I thought it was a picture of a tornado. He seeing the puzzled look on my face pointed out some tiny speck in the foreground and told me those were battleships. That set the scale of the picture and then I realized that it wasnÂt a tornado that filled the background but an atomic bomb mushroom cloud. He and hundreds of fellow soldiers were put on deck to receive an almost deadly dose of radiation. He learned later that through the VA that a reading of 3 on the measurement scale was an overdose and that he had received 600 units. He was one of those soldiers weÂve heard about.

The reason IÂm writing this is that Mr. Richard pass away yesterday. He didnÂt contribute much to the fig world except to enjoy them very much and opened up his house and his figs to me. This is a tribute to his goodness and his valor. The world would be a much better place with many more like him, and I think here on the forum IÂve met many such honorable people.

Thanks for your time to read this, I hope I didnÂt bore you. I close with a salute to Mr. Claude Richard whose name will remain alive always in the name of the tree he gave me and I've shared with a few of you.


Look closely and you can see the battleships in the foreground.

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Hi Gene.
i think sometimes in our life's journey here we may meet someone that touches our life and makes us stop and think deep thoughts in a fast pace society we now live in and whats really important. Your story is one of those.
Sincerely Many thanks Gene for sharing your experience with Mr Richard here .

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 12:58PM
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Thank you for your posting. It brought tears to my eyes. Take solace in the knowledge that Mr. Claude is now at peace.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 6:38PM
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Thank you for sharing this story. I salute Mr. Claude. He deserves that.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 11:52PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)


Are you saying that the government experimented with the sailors to see what would happen to them when exposed to the A-bomb's detonation and how could they be that close to it and not get killed outright?

I am always amazed when I think of how people would set up a tent and sit there to observe an A-bomb detonation in person, getting all kinds of radiation from being as close as they were. Of course they didn't know what they were dealing with like we do today.

Thank you for letting us know about Mr. Claude and how sweet he was. What a special thing you experienced and I'm sorry he got sick and died. God bless our service men and women.

Are you going to keep the tree in his memory? I hope so. I love BT figs. Name it, "Tribute." :)

God bless Mr. Claude and his wife and family and you...


    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 12:15AM
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Gene, thank you for sharing. Rest in Peace Mr. Richard. Tim

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 1:14PM
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They did this to ground troops in the Nevada desert too. I knew one who also showed me pictures. He said almost all of his friends died of cancer. Its believed this took John Wayne and most of the actors and crew from one of his films he made in Nevada.

Many good men have been taken early just like Mr. Richard do to this stupidity. May they be remembered well and let us not forget. Not everything our government does is good for us. Whether its subjecting men to venereal disease or drugs or radiation to see how much they can take and still perform their duties; its wrong. Those who issue the orders sit safely away, live to a ripe old age and get rewarded for their work while the subjects pay with their lives. It usually takes 50 years for this stuff to be declassified and published.

If you think the same kind of stuff does not go on today you are kidding yourselves.

Sorry for getting a bit off topic but the shear numbers of lives our government has put on the line again and again without any thought for the people involved does not make me the trusting type.

To our government we are all guinea pigs.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 8:18PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Some people have no souls and they are running our country! They are inhuman creatures who will do anything under the cover of secrecy. God help us all.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 3:11AM
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