The Cactus Patch
June 2018

Farewell to Susanville
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

On the 15th the family went to Chuy’s on Rosedale to celebrate my birthday. Afterward Polly and I went to the 1st Congregational Church and heard the BHS Chorale sing songs from around the world. They ended with a Zulu number. It was well sung, but lacked the emotion intrinsic in African music. On the 18th (my actual birthday) I was greeted by lawn flamingos and we went to Denny’s with John and I had a free slam. That evening we had a birthday dinner at Anne’s.

On the 21st we went to the Garden Fest at BC. There were even more booths this year and I had a chat at one pushing new varieties of fruit. One fellow there knew about Malawi and he said they have a great potential for undeveloped ones. I hope to hear more. Back at the BCSS booth I took home some cuttings of the myrtle spurge. This has been labeled a noxious weed! (James had some in the yard at his first house in Susanville, but not at his present one.)

On the 24th we drove up to Susanville one last time. It seems government funding of health and education has been cut back and this is what James’ IT job at the Susanville Rancheria was based on. Rather than take a cut in salary, he found a job in Reno and is busy arranging everything for moving. We arrived in time for dinner at the Happy Garden Chinese restaurant which treated us like royalty. There are some advantages to small towns where everyone knows everyone. Next day James had the day off and we got reacquainted with the family (Alice is a real talker – and not yet three) and had a BBQ on the back porch. They then opened Christmas presents which had been waiting in Bakersfield. This was followed by birthday presents for me (including three different flamingos). On the 26th we went to the opening of a branch of Marshall followed by lunch at Taco Bell and on the 27th I photographed the few wild flowers blooming early (mostly greasewood). On the 28th we went to the Home and Garden Show at the fairgrounds, but it had few garden exhibits. There was one seller with succulents, however.

In the afternoon we watched a TV series called The Good Place which has a strange view of the afterlife and gets more confusing with each episode. That evening we went to a local show called Hollywood Vibe which had a lot of Hollywood songs I never heard of (plus two I actually knew). Emily’s brother was one of the soloists. He will be staying in Susanville, but Emily’s mother has already bought a house in Taft. (Moving can be difficult with extended families!)

On the 29th we had brunch at the Copper Kettle and it hailed. In the afternoon we watched “Newsies” , a show which was filmed from its Broadway production. James had sung in a local show which featured Broadway numbers. Polly and I sang a version in the spring Goldenaires show in Bakersfield. Next day we watched more of the Good Place and on May 1st we drove back to Bakersfield.

On the 3rd of May we heard Rob Skillin speak on Kenya in Fresno. He showed a number of caudiciforms, ending with Pyrenacantha malvifolia, an odd plant in the family Icacinaceae. I knew the genus from Malawi, but, unfortunately the species there has a smaller underground tuber, quite unlike the huge aboveground caudex of the one in Kenya. Terry was also there as a plant seller.

On the 5th we celebrated at Anne’s with a feast prepared by her son Daniel in honor of her birthday. There were flamingos and other birds in a heart shape on the lawn lit by tiki torches. Next morning we had breakfast at Denny’s (with Anne getting the free slam). For lunch we went to the new Texas Roadhouse Grill and had a two hour wait. (Contrary to the review in the Californian the next Sunday, they would not take reservations!) Polly and I left as we were being seated as we were at three different tables and we were lied to as to one of these being available. It turns out the music was loud, the orders were scrambled and the protest was loud enough that they got compted! We should have stayed.

We had a much better time on Tuesday at the BCSS potluck, although the number of people was noticeably lower than in previous years. The garden is looking good and a few things were in bloom.

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