For today's column, I needed, of course, to do write one with a Christmas theme. To that end, I was playing with ideas yesterday, but still not sure where I was going.
Readers of this column know that I usually, but not always, tie the column to Easton. Then again, stalwart Easton folk believe that it all ties back to Easton, one way or another.
So, last night I was at Buddy's Union Villa, and I stopped in front of a photo attached to the wall in the foyer of the entrance on the Unionville Playground side of the highly popular family restaurant. When you walk in, it is to your right. It is a photo the essence of which is family and love and Christmas.
The photo was taken about 20 years ago, on Christmas Eve, at the home of Edmund “Buddy” Richard and his wife, Kay, on Elm Street in North Easton. Buddy Richard is ensconced in his favorite comfy chair, and he has his four grandchildren – approximate ages, 4, 4, 2, and 1 – all around him. He has a book in his hands, and he is reading to his grandchildren.
The title – which is partially visible – of the book is The Night Before Christmas.
This photo describes the comfort and security and fun that every child should know on Christmas. Described in the photo is satisfaction and happines that grandparents should know in the legacy they have fostered and for which they have sacrificed, and for which they have worked.
It is a photo of the home of working class family, not a McMansion, but also the home wanting for nothing, and enjoying the luxury of America. I mean, really, so many of us have no idea how good we got it here in America.
As for the photo, I need to give you some coordinates so when you look it, you can place the children of the married couples.
Buddy Richard is grandpa in the middle; you can figure that.
As for the kids ....
On the far left is Devin, about 4 years old, the daughter of Cathy (Richard) Reynolds (Oliver Ames High School '79) and Fred Reynolds (Southeastern Regional High School '75); out front, in the foreground of the photo, is Jamie Richard, 1, son of Mike Richard (OA '77) and his wife Robin; seated in the lap of his grandfather is Joey, 2, the son of Karen Richard (OA '84) and Bill Callanan (Stoughton High School '77), and to the far right is Katelyne, 4, daughter of my OA classmate, Linda – (we were OA '81) – and Steven Sykes (OA '77).
Oh, yes, not mentioned here is the fifth Richard child, Edmund Joseph (EJ), who graduated from Archbishop Williams in 1988, and Stonehill College in 2003. At the time of this photo, EJ, had not yet married his lovely wife, Sheila. They wed in 2003.
All the grandchildren are attired in green and white plaid nightwear knitted by Buddy and Kay's daughter, Cathy.
A little background, the Richard family came to Easton in 1961. Buddy, a U.S. Military vet, and his wife, Kay, grew up in Boston. They were married in 1958. Buddy worked for Boston Edison, and so did Kay. When the couple started a family, Buddy stayed with Edison, and Kay became a homemaker.
In 1974, the Richard family bought Spillane's Union Villa, a long established bar and pizza place, on the corner of Washington St./Rte. 138 and Elm Street. Buddy's Union Villa was the name of the new business. The Richard family has made a great go of it for decades, and Buddy's Union Villa is one of the most successful and best known family spots on the South Shore.
And for decades, the Richard family has given generously to the community in many ways. Buddy Richard, who passed away in 1998, believed fervently in helping others and supporting good causes, and his dedication and commitment to community lives on through Buddy's Union Villa and his family.
Indeed, that the Richard family has been such a strong and generous giver in Easton is a reason that this story does not include the photo which has inspired the column.
You see, I only decided last night to write a column which was centered around a photo in Buddy's Union Villa. But the thing is, and again I was up against deadline, the photo is attached to the wall with screws. It wasn't like I was going to pull out the photo and scan it for the story you are reading now.
But, you know, this is in of itself a good thing – for it should inspire people to visit Buddy's Union Villa so they can see the photo for themselves, and then patronize a wonderful business whose soul and history embodies much of the warmth and giving which is essential to the true meaning of Christmas.