The Cactus Patch
Volume 13       January 2010      Number 01

Too Much Celebrating!
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

Holidays etc. seem to blur into each other. We began on the 21st of Nov. with a celebration of Compact Day at Hodelís with the Mayflower Society. (Alice is the local Governor.) The local group is rather small in attendance, even though the list is long. I guess they were saving their appetites for the following Thursday.

On the 22 we drove up to Ceres to celebrate the 100th birthday of great aunt Dora, my grandfatherís baby sister. The party was held in the house built by my great grandfather. The house has been painted and the upstairs bedrooms are arranged museum-style. Downstairs is used as a law office by Patricia Cousins, Doraís daughter and my motherís cousin. Out front there is a row of Agave americana. Presumably this is the same clone which my grandfather had at his house in Stockton and which I have planted at my motherís house in Bakersfield. There are also two palm trees which now tower over the two story house. Mother was impressed by the size of the black walnut out back. She remembers it from her youth (when, presumably, it was smaller).

Ceres has always brought me nostalgic memories of summers spent there. Not only were there orchards and livestock, there was a greenhouse of exotic plants and an attic of South American insects. A paradise for kids.

Interestingly, there were two cakes, one labeled Dora Alice and the other Alice Dora. My great-grandparents could not agree on the order! We always knew her as Aunt Dora, which caused less confusion as mother is also Alice. The place was packed with relatives. Unfortunately, we have just received news that Dora died in the 10th of Dec. She did better than her husband, John, who died a month before his hundredth birthday!

From Ceres, Polly and I went further north to Sacramento for Thanksgiving with relatives there. In Sacramento we learned that our friend Ellen Drake, who had moved back to Kansas from Botswana had lost her battle with cancer. I never did get her to autograph her book on Baobabs which came out just after she left Botswana. Mother, Anne etc. went back to Bakersfield and then to the LA area for Thanksgiving with relatives there. I think we have too many relatives.

Michael brought his parents down from Greenville for Thanksgiving, but John, who lives in Sacramento was absent with a cold. We went to a couple of thrift shops on Friday with James and Emily and bought too much as everything was half price. On Saturday John was better and we all went out for breakfast. Michael took his parents back to Greenville and we went to an antique store and a movie with John.

We returned to Bakersfield via Fresno on the 29th and had lunch with Pollyís sisters there. We returned to Fresno on the 3rd of Dec. for the annual Cactus & Succulent pot luck. Our ďfriendĒ Herb Thorn stole the beautiful pot I got in the gift exchange. I ended up with a funny vase. Oh well, the food was good. I also got a couple of nice pots in the silent auction, even if I did drop one and break it next morning. (A little gorilla glue put it back together.)

Of course, there was also the Bakersfield pot luck on the 8th. I didnít get anything on the silent auction! But, again, the food was great. How can I lose weight at this rate?

In addition, Polly & I have joined a senior choir, the Goldenaires, and we have performed ten times from the 2nd to the 17th of December. Most of our audiences are elderly. It really brings home the population aging that I have read about!

We have decorated with cactus lights, chili lights and various artificial cacti for Christmas. I wish they made equal items featuring Euphorbias.

Great Aunt Dora

Too Much Cake

Merry Cactus Christmas

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