The Cactus Patch
April 2019

For Beauty I’d Not Take a Prize
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

For Beauty I’d not take a prize.
There are others more beautiful far.
My face I don’t mind it for I am behind it.
The folks out in front get the jar.
Anonymous? *

I apologize for anyone who was startled by my appearance at the last meeting. I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my nose by a dermatologist and then had reconstructive surgery by a plastic surgeon.  I shall recover, but I will never be as handsome as I wished to be.  What causes such problems?  A major cause would be 27 years of African sun.  (California sun will also do.  My mother had the same problem.)

We have had a few more positive experiences.  John helped us clear a path in the garage and we have a new water heater.  He also had a huge box delivered to our house.  We helped him unpack it and he is now riding around on an all electric motorcycle.

On the 3rd of March we went to our son John’s and watched the film “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.”  It is a moving tale of a school boy in Malawi who uses the school library to make a wind mill to pump water during a drought.  Having taught school while in the Peace Corps in Malawi, I found it especially nostalgic.

On the 7th of March we did get to Fresno and heard Ernesto Sandoval from Davis speak on the inside and outside of succulents.  He explained the purpose of some of the common structures such as spines (which in some cases protect against too much sun. Maybe I need some?)

We managed to hit a pot hole (of which there are many on the 99) but the bubbled tire came under warranty, so we managed to get it replaced.

On the 12th, of course, we heard Woody Minnich speak on the Atacama.  I realize the minute variations in Copiapoas are important, but they made for a very long talk. But when did Woody ever give a short talk?

We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with brunch at Hodel’s.  My nephew Leo was in town with his family, so it was quite a turnout.  That afternoon we went to a concert by four young pianists at the 1st Congregational Church.  It was quite a remarkable feat.


*I failed to find a source for this song which I have known since I was a kid.  The tune, however, is well known as that of the hymn “Bless be the Tie That Binds” (words John Fawcett 1782 and tune Johann G. Nageli [1768-1836]).

Ernesto Sandoval

PREVIOUS LETTER               Bruce's Letters               NEXT LETTER