The Cactus Patch
Volume 15       August 2012      Number 08

48 Years Married
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

I’ve got the plum-plucking blues, boo hoo hoo hoo;
I’ve got the plum-plucking blues, boo hoo hoo hoo;
I’m tired of picking plums,
I’m glad when evening comes,
I’ve got the plum-plucking blues.
-“Professor” (for tune & more verses consult himself)

The 18th was our 48th wedding anniversary. We had dinner with family at Chuy’s and phoned Lora’s husband Dave who was out of the country since it was also his birthday. (It is also “Juneteenth”, a holiday which celebrates the emancipation of slaves. We had not known this.)

Ditching the rest, Polly and I went to the Fox Theater for a program sponsored by the UFW. They were celebrating 50 years. This means I just missed getting organized. To earn what little money I needed for BC in 1961, I picked plums out at DiGiorgio for $1.08 per hour. Almost anyone could do it, although one of my friends was fired because he was color blind. It was hot work, but at least the trees provided shade and we were given salt and water. I became known as the “Professor” because I did peculiar things like collect birds’ nests and eggs and bracket fungi and photograph bee colonies. I quit when they switched us to crawling through grape vines to clear a tunnel so the grapes could hang down. The vines had been sprayed with sulfur and even the strongest men were crying at day’s end.

The concert began with Los Lobos, a group from LA. They sang in Spanish so we didn’t understand much, but it was great music. I especially liked it when they broke out an accordion. It reminded me of the Afrikaans singers of South Africa (which I also couldn’t really understand.) (Even at DiGiorgio they separated Spanish speakers from the English speakers, although we all joined in when the cry “Oh Yeayah” went down the line. It broke the monotony.)

After the intermission a lone figure strode onto the stage and calmly began tuning a guitar. It wasn’t until he started singing that we realized that this was Kris Kristofferson, the star of the evening. Despite his age (he’s 6 years older than I am) he stayed on his feet playing and singing for an hour and a half! We knew about half the songs. He also tried playing harmonica, but seemed to have trouble with the mechanics of the rig that was supposed to hold it up for his mouth.

We’ve also seen a few movies recently. One good one was the Disney “Chimpanzee” which had fantastic footage of chimps using stone and wood to crack nuts. My only objection is that, as usual, they played around with the facts to make a good story. They had a chimp start with wood and work up to stone. According to Susan Millius in the June 16th Science News, the chimps begin with stones when the nuts are hard and switch to wood as they ripen.

Another good movie was “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, the story of a rundown hotel in India which tries to cater to the elderly from England. Lora and Anne, who have been to India, were impressed by the realistic portrayal of local culture. Polly and I were impressed by how well the film portrayed the English reactions.

On the 23rd my brother Robert had a yard sale at our house since he lives out beyond Rosedale, not the best location for one. As usual, people were looking through things before we were set up. Polly and I joined Anne at Goose Loonies for lunch (surprisingly good) as well as visiting an antique store going out of business. We returned in time to close down the yard sale. Arrangements had not been made to clean up and it took us a week to get it hauled away.

On the 4th of July we had a BBQ and fireworks at my nephew Leo’s in La Mirada. I’m not sure about regulations there, but we were surrounded by displays that would be illegal in Bakersfield! I noticed a very twisted Aeonium in the backyard and ended up carrying it back to Bakersfield. Next day we drove up to Fresno for the annual potluck there. There was the usual silent auction and cross pollination orgy with Adeniums.

On the 7th we joined a vast crowd at the memorial service for Wendy Wayne at the Fox. We had only met her when she hosted a 50th Peace Corps celebration. In addition I have learned we also shared a degree in Public Health. An unexpected life to find in Bakersfield.

On the 10th, of course, we heard Gary Duke speak on cactus definitions in Bakersfield. Quite technical, I thought. I have a talk on cacti which is much simpler since it is not my specialty.

Yard Sale on Pryor

Fireworks @ Leo's

Polly & Twisting Aeonium

Cross Pollination

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