The Cactus Patch
January 2016

On Giving Thanks
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

Pumpkins in the morning
Pumpkins at noon
If it were not for pumpkins
We’d all be undoon.
~attributed to Pilgrim children

It seems Thanksgiving gets squeezed out between Halloween and Christmas.  But this year, at least, there were two TV spectaculars which gave it recognition.  National Geographic produced the two part “Saints and Strangers” and PBS came up with “The American Experience: The Pilgrims.”  I much preferred the Former as it was a dramatization.  The PBS show was drier history.  Both were based primarily on William Bradford’s book “On Plimouth Plantation”. It is a slog to read through the book as it is Elizabethan English, but I have done so as we have a copy.  (He is a direct ancestor on my mother’s side.)

Did you know that turkeys are not mentioned by Bradford?  He lists fowl but does not specify any.  Venison was the main course and pumpkins were certainly available, but not as the present day pie.  Cranberries would have been too sour as there was no sugar and even honey came later as our present honey bees came from Europe. On the day we feasted at Anne’s.  Our family included a new member as Lora’s husband Dave is now taking care of his father John who came out from Michigan after his wife died. After dinner we watched a movie on Lesotho, “The forgotten Kingdom” which John got on Amazon. It made me homesick.

On the 2nd Polly and I went to a service to remember those who died this year.  It was put on by Optimal Hospice and we were there to remember my mother, Alice, my brother, Robert and Lora’s mother in law Virginia as well as Larry Hundsdorfer who was briefly with us in the BCSS.  The names were read out as we held lighted candles.  Then lights were lit on the tree.

On 3rd December we were in Fresno for the annual Christmas potluck and silent auction. 

Next day we were back in Bakersfield to watch “Timbuktu” on the big screen.  It was even better that way. On the 6th we went to Parkside Church to see two plays.  Anne, Lora and Daniel performed well.  The first was about trying to ban music and the second was a revised version of Sleeping Beauty.  Rather unusual for church plays.  On the 8th, of course we were at the BCSS potluck and silent auction.

On the 13th we saw the start of the new Downton Abbey series on the big screen at the Fox..Some of us even dressed appropriately.  It will be a comedown to go back to watching it at home. Finally, on the 17th our Goldenaires choir sang the last of nine presentations this Christmas season.  Soon it will actually be Christmas, but I’m exhausted already.

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