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The "31" group celebrating Geneva Richardson's birthday. (l to r standing) Vicky Townsend, Annie Barnes, Alice Harris, Martha Aimes, Laura Kerschion. Sitting, Geneva Richardson, Betty Waggoner, Margie Salazar

Born in 1922 in Crosno, Missouri, a small town that no longer exists because of the Mississippi River floods, Geneva Richardson and her husband, "Doby" moved to Illinois for a short while. Geneva went to work as a cook in a well-known restaurant to help supplement Doby's income before they moved on and settled in Texas.

Her son, Terry Richardson, recalls when he was about six years old that his mother "used to go down to the little creek with one of her fishing friends. She would sit on the bank with her feet in the water about a foot or so. One time a Water Moccasin crawled out on the bank, crawled across Mom's legs, went down the bank and back in the water. A few minutes later, mom got over her shock. We packed up and went home. As far as I know, Mom never went fishing again."

In 1957 the oil boom hit. Eager to make a better living, the Richardsons moved to Farmington where they had been told you could make a million dollars but nobody told them you had to have two million first. Still, Doby made enough money to provide for his family and Geneva returned to being a full time stay-at-home mother of five. She spent most of her time raising her children and caring for her husband.

About forty years ago, in Aztec, a group of ladies began meeting on Monday afternoons in the Hiway Bar and Grill to eat lunch and play a card game called "31." It was probably about eighteen years ago that Geneva was invited to join. Loving card games of all types, she quickly accepted and proved to be an admirable opponent. Although "The Grill" has since been sold, the game continues in the home of former owner, Betty Waggoner, where Geneva is currently experiencing another winning streak.

On July 15th, local family members threw a "Happy 95th Birthday" party for her. Family and friends came from everywhere to celebrate. Counting her children, her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, she proudly counts thirty-six descendants. All of them are eager to tell you how wonderful she is.

One friend says, "She never complains like a lot of the elderly do and she has that wonderful sense of humor. She knows how to laugh." Another one says, "I've known her for years. I only saw her get crabby once." And another says, "We used to go fishing in the Animas River together. I miss that."

One handsome gentleman, with a twinkle in his eye, declared, "That ol' gal's looking pretty good for 95." And yet another friend, Cathy Barker, says, "When my mother was sick . . . she was bad, really bad. Geneva took care of her. If she hadn't done that, I would've had to quit my job." Son Cary Richardson says, "She's a wonderful mom and an amazing woman. She does a lot of her own housework and still drives her own car. She's ninety-five and sharp as a tack."

Although she does not drive at night any more, Geneva can take herself pretty much any place she wants to go. Last Monday, she was pleased when she had only one trip to make to MVD. "You know, I had everything ready that they needed. And I passed my eye test just fine! I just popped right in and popped right out of there."

So, folks, if you happen to see a smiling, silver-haired lady driving a silver P. T. Cruiser around Aztec, honk the horn, give a shout, and wish this wonderful lady a "Happy 95th Birthday!"

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