Why A Book About Archie?

As interest in Archie (registered name Titan Up) continues to grow, his fans are asking me about my decision to turn his life into a book (Archie’s Tale: Life as I Saw It). Well, as my website slogan says, it just happened.

Dianne and I are staunch fans of Clinton Anderson, a renowned horseman we met and befriended many years ago. The Method, as he calls his training technique, has been the mainstay of our small horse operation since we first saw Clinton at one of his Walkabout Tours in Las Vegas. As a result, we have attended nearly every version of his training clinics at his Downunder Horsemanship facility in Stephenville, Texas. It was during one of those visits that we first saw the young stud-horse named Epic Titan. He was only two years old then and one of many horses Clinton had in training. Simply stated, we fell in love with that horse! Years later, we had a chance to breed our mare, Dance, to Titan and quickly seized the opportunity. That’s where Archie’s Tale began, but neither of us knew it.

Titan is a magnificent and very different sorrel and white paint. Dance is an attractive buttermilk buckskin. While Dance was in foal, Dianne and I developed high expectations about our future baby horse’s markings because of these variations in colors. We envisioned something that would stand out in the horse world, a colt with lots of colors and different, like Titan. We were so sure of it that we often boasted that our foal would be among the prettiest of all of Titan’s offspring. We even installed barn cameras to capture video of the live birth of this star to be.

Last spring, while Dianne showed one of our geldings (Kola) at a horse show in Florida, we got a frantic call that our foal had been born early. Shocked but excited, we quickly accessed our video system to see if we had captured the birth of what we hoped would be a one of a kind foal. Unfortunately, Dance had managed to avoid sharing her privacy, but we could see the newborn and tell that our dreams had not come true.  Additionally, our attendants back home were concerned about how Dance was acting toward her newborn and had summoned our vet to assess the situation while we packed to return.

We were happy that the birth went well, but disappointed when we got home and saw the foal.  Dance had given us a colt (male), half of our wish, but no color, just a common sorrel with a white mark on his forehead. Worst of all, she was not letting the foal nurse. The vet said that she was rejecting him, and we would have to make sure he nursed enough until she calmed down. He asked us to keep a journal of what we did and how often we did it for his use. We were worried, but agreed and began our round the clock vigilance. It was something that neither of us had ever experienced, much less expected. We were exhausted after the first week. Where had our dreams gone?

At about 2 am one morning, it just came to me that I should take our notes and attempt to tell Archie’s story. Dianne had encouraged me for years to write, and mostly she wanted me to write a children’s book; I had never taken her seriously. That night, though, it just happened, and I began the Archie’s Tale series.

Today, we wouldn’t trade Archie for anything. And I must admit that we are ashamed of our earlier bouts of disappointment. He’s growing into a beautiful and brilliant horse with an outgoing personality. Dianne has him already going through The Method, and you can easily see him progressing. We can’t wait to see how he continues to mature and develop.

More about Archie to come in future blogs and books. The second book of the series should be available early 2021!

Thanks, everyone, for your interest and support.

Archie with his surrogate mother, Charlene.

My Life, My Experiences

Author Wade N. Spruill, Jr.

My childhood was spectacular! We were dirt poor, my father a World War II veteran who never finished high school and my mother a stay-at-home housewife; both had lived through the Great Depression; so, we didn’t really think of ourselves as poor. I grew up going fishing with my dad on the river and learning to ski on brown water. . . Our people were just struggling to make it, and everybody else who lived on our street was in the same boat. We were all like one big family, with every one of us kids having multiple moms and dads.

I spent a lot of time with my Bigdaddy and grandmother. Born in 1886 in Grenada County, he was a big, robust man. The years of being a farmer and in the timber business, until the Great Depression, made his physique noticeable. During World War II, when Dad and his next oldest brother Pershing were serving in the Army in Europe, Bigdaddy became moderately successful in the used furniture business in Greenwood. His success had pleased but surprised both sons when they returned in 1946. As a small child in the early 1950s, I spent most of my time when visiting him and my grandmother roaming about in that store on Carrolton Avenue in Greenwood.

On most weekends, after the store closed at 5 p.m., he rented the building out to two black men who were his friends and patrons as well. Willie and Seme, as he called them, would rearrange the furniture to clear an ample space in front of the checkout counter to serve as a dance floor. With Bigdaddy supervising as a bouncer of sorts, they charged for entrance into this temporary blues hall from eight until one p.m. most Friday and Saturday nights. On rare occasions, all black blues bands would provide the music, but most of the time tunes came from a small forty-five record player sitting on the counter with me. When I got older, I would change records for the crowd and learn to dance from many of the women who would pull me onto the little dance floor. Although beer drinking was allowed, hard liquor wasn’t permitted by my grandfather. Without any unruly crowd, these events continued until the death of my grandmother. After her death, my Bigdaddy sold the store, moved in with us, and never was the same fun-loving man he had always been.

Wade and Archie
Wade with Archie, subject of his first children’s book, Archie’s Tale: Life as I Saw It

Looking back at my life as a youngster, at the determination my parents had that I would go to college so that I could do “something better” than they had been able to do. . . I am grateful. My dad would not allow me even to learn the basics of anything less. When he ran the tractor and truck business, he told the men who worked for him to not teach me how to be a mechanic. Eventually, he would let me help sell and demonstrate the equipment – I was about ten years old when we sold a combine, and he let me drive it all the way from Highway 82 to Clarksdale – that’s about 75 miles at no more than six miles an hour through the Delta!

These are some of my stories. . .

Raising the Star: Mississippi Milestones in EMS and a Few Related Stories

Raising the Star: Mississippi Milestones in EMS and A Few Related Stories is a creative non-fiction/memoir written by Wade N. Spruill, Jr., the first and longest-serving director of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Trauma Care for the public health agency of his home state. This book highlights some of the significant developmental milestones of these programs and reveals a few of his personal/never told stories about each.

From his early childhood in Greenwood, the cotton capital of the Mississippi Delta, Wade dreamed of becoming a physician. His weak grades ended his plan with graduation in 1970 from the University of Mississippi. Desperate for a career path that might eventually fund his secondary goal of becoming a Clinical Psychologist, he took a temporary job with the county health department in his home town. However, a personal tragedy delayed the beginning of his new career and founded his life’s purpose.

In late June of 1970, a drunk driver, traveling on the wrong side of a two-lane road in a rural Mississippi county, crashed head-on into an unsuspecting driver and died instantly. A passer-by discovered the tragic scene and, without aiding the victims, drove on to find a telephone and summon help. When the help arrived, from a funeral home, the driver had no training and the funeral coach/hearse no life-saving equipment on board. The “help” delivered the surviving victim to a small hospital with no staff capable of caring for his traumatic injuries and without resources to transfer him to an appropriate facility; Jim Spruill also died. In 1970, EMS and Trauma systems did not exist in Mississippi, nor most of America.

Life would never be the same for the young man that had taken what he thought would be short-termed work. Once within the central offices of the Mississippi State Board of Health, Wade N. Spruill, Jr., envisioned a place beyond funeral coaches for ambulances, beyond morticians for emergency medical care, beyond unequipped and unstaffed rural hospitals. Motivated by the death of his grandfather, Spruill channeled his inquisitive nature into a determined quest that has lasted fifty years. With facts, patience, persistence, and respect earned at local, state, and national levels, he discovered ways to build and direct Mississippi’s first-ever emergency medical services and trauma care systems.

This book is an accounting of his Star of Life journey, which has solidly ensconced him in Mississippi health care history and affected the lives of thousands.

Raising the Star by Wade Spruill, back cover
Read a free excerpt of Raising the Star: Mississippi Milestones in EMS and a Few Related Stories

Raising the Star: Mississippi Milestones in EMS and a Few Related Stories
is available through these online retailers (in paper and digital formats):

Paperback: 242 pages
Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc. (June 15, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-paperback: 978-1647184667
ISBN-hardcover: 978-1647184674
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches

Archie’s Tale: Life as I Saw It

Archie's Tale by Wade Spruill

Archie’s Tale, a series, is an educational story about the birth and the life of a Quarter Horse colt. Told from the perspective of the main character, the story follows Archie from his earlier than expected birth through his development into a competitive mount for his owners.

Archie, a son of the rising star in the competitive world of reining, Epic Titan, was rejected at birth by his mother, a beautiful buckskin Quarter Horse mare. His owners were shocked by his early arrival and his plainness of color as they had hoped for markings similar to those remarkable to his father. Additionally, his physical condition and survival, due to his early birth and rejection, were of concern to his owners, their veterinarian, and friends. Without a loving mother, Archie’s owners solicited help from managers of a Thoroughbred stud farm in Lousiana. There they find a Haflinger mare, used as a surrogate mother for Thoroughbreds, that accepts Archie and they bring her back home to Mississippi to help raise him. Their matchup is perfect and Archie begins to exhibit signs of recovery immediately. As his health progresses, Archie’s owners discover that underneath his commonness, is a very different personality emerging and they embrace him. They register him with the American Quarter Horse Asociation as Titan Up and begin planning his pathway to competitiveness.

Archie has many barn mates and finds his first friend in one of them. Betty Sue, a Mini, shares her knowledge with him. Her support, combined with the wisdom of his portly surrogate mother Charlene, encourages and excites him; he becomes hungry to learn and excel.

Archie's Tale--back cover

Hardback, paperback, and ebook formats are available
through these retailers:

Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Booklocker.com (March 25, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-13 (hardcover): 978-1644389669
ISBN-13 (paperback): 978-1644389652
Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.1 x 8.5 inches