The Cactus Patch
January 2018

Thanking Thrice & Potluck Twice
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

On 16th Nov. we headed north once again (over my objection!) to visit the grandkids. There was predicted snow for Donner Summit, so I suggested going up 395. Our first stop was at Pearsonville with its Subway. Then it was on to Spellbinder Books in Bishop with the Pupfish Café behind it. It started to rain and we ran into gusts of wind. At Cowley Gate Summit and Devil’s Gate Summit there were snow flurries. From then on the road was clear and we had dinner at Jack in the Box in Carson City at 7:36. We finally reached James’ at 10:42, only to be greeted with, “Why didn’t you come over Donner Summit?”

Next day we all went out to supper at El Quatrero and then went to the Sacred Heart Church for a bizarre run by a number of churches in town (mostly Protestant!) On the 18th we went to a tree- lighting by “Light up a Life”. We weren’t there to honor anyone in particular, but Margaret Villanueva, James’ Mother in Law, was playing in a group of bell ringers. (And they had cookies and hot cider- necessary after standing out in the cold.) On the 19th we all went to see Wonder, a wonderful movie. It made me feel that I was lucky. I only got picked on because I was always the littlest kid in school. (I was picked up by the police when I was walking to Kindergarten!) I now know my problem was nothing!

After a relaxing day on the 20th, we all went out to breakfast at the Copper Kettle on the 21st. We then ended our Thanksgiving visit and headed home – over Donner Summit! The holiday traffic on 99 was thick – a lot of stop/go driving.

That evening we had pizza in Fresno with Polly’s sisters. The traffic was even worse the next day, but the distance was shorter. On the 23rd, the real Thanksgiving Day, we celebrated with a meal at Anne’s house

On the 7th of December we went back up to Fresno for the annual potluck supper at the FCSS. As usual the auction items were underbid, but a set of The Succulent Euphorbieae signed by the artist Cythna Letty fetched a reasonable price. (I didn’t bid on it as I have a set in better condition which is also signed.) And, of course, we were at the BCSS potluck on the 12th. I was happily outbid on the plants I wanted – much better bidding than in Fresno!

On the 9th of December we went to Harvey Auditorium to hear A “Merry Tuba Christmas.” This brought back memories as we had heard one of the first such concerts at Radio City Music Hall back in the 70’s! It is always fun to hear Euphoniums, Tubas and Sousaphones play melodies for a change.

The November issue of Natural History had an interesting article on Dinosaurs. I was surprised to see a long-neck sauropod named Shingopana songwensis. The species name implies it is from the Songwe, a river which we knew as the boundary between Malawi and Tanzania. (Our Peace Corps posting was 10 miles south of this!) Sure enough, it was collected in southwestern Tanzania. I wish I had found it on the Malawian side – there are some dinosaurs known from Malawi, but this would have been a new one.

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