prune picker

This is the blog of a prune picker. (Native born Californian) Retired oilfield. I am an old man. (91) I blog a lot about my body and getting old. As I approach death life gets more interesting. More interesting is not good. I still drive. I attend sports, music, and civic events. I am writing my memoirs. I attend swim class three times a week. Some of my blogs might be interesting. A lot of my blogs are silly and trivial. None are very long.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Peach Festival Rodeo. 2016

I went. The Rodeo opened with a girl on horseback carrying an American Flag. Then 30 minutes of girls riding horses fast and carrying banners, the Star Spangled  Banner, and a prayer. I was constantly entertained watching young families with future rodeo stars, always moving.







Russ-Town Band plays America


Traditional Peach Ice Cream and 10th Annual Peach Festival Concert.

I always buy a bowl of peach ice cream at the festival. It is a tradition. A sweet one!


I was so impressed by the Free Concert at the Dixie Theater. Led by Lawrence Gibbs, the band is made up local talent. And they are so good.




Traditional Peach Ice Cream and 10th Annual Peach Festival Concert.

I always buy a bowl of peach ice cream at the festival. It is a tradition. A sweet one!


I was so impressed by the Free Concert at the Dixie Theater. Led by Lawrence Gibbs, the band is made up local talent. And they are so good.




2016 Ruston Peach Festival Parade.

We went. John and Kerry Adams, Katie and Johnny Lynn Miller, and the old prunepicker. John found us a spot in the shade on a lawn. Pretty rough parade watching, huh?


I love that little girl!




The driver of the car bearing the Grand Marshall lookd familiar. Could it be John Jeffcoat? I got s good shot of his left ear.







These little black motor bikes are to be assembled at a new plant in Ruston. Look like fun.







Tech cheer leaders.



Ross John Newberry (great grandson) is an artist.

On Father's Day he presented me with one of his latest works of art. It is a still life of prunes.



Picture of prunes for the old prunepicker.  Est. 1925.

I am proud of my present. I am sure that the value of this work of art will increase over the years. Thank you Ross for your thoughtful gift.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Romance on the Plains.

It was quiet and peaceful on the plains around Sterling, Kansas. It was in the spring of 1906.  However, a romance was brewing that would end that peace and quiet. The culmination of that romance would drastically change the lives of many people. A large established family and a new family (started by the romance) would move a half continent away to California. The romance helped settle the State of California.

The romance was between my Father (25) and my Mother (16).

My Dad was born in 1881 in Covington, Kentucky, which is located across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio. Billy the Kid was killed that year and George Custer had been killed five years earlier. Evidently, Dad’s first family was dysfunctional and an uncle who had previously settled in Kansas adopted him. That Uncle’s name was Charles Morton Monson. He had a large prosperous farm in Alden, Kansas. He had moved to the farm in 1878. Alden is a few miles out of Sterling. I have visited his (my grandfather by adoption) grave in Alden. His grave has a large impressive tombstone.

I have spent several days in the Alden area trying to get the feel of where my Dad was raised. And where my Mom and Dad had fallen in love. Dad hired out as a cowboy and farm hand. He told me that he can recall working six-day weeks for a month and his pay was one coin, a twenty dollar gold piece. He was working for Mom’s father as a farmhand in 1906. He lived with them.

My Mother was born in 1889 in Sterling, Kansas. Her Father was a well to do gentleman farmer. He lived in town and rode a fine horse out to his farm when his presence was required. His name was Edwin John Knowlton. He was born in 1854 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This picture of the Knowlton family was taken around 1905.


Look at the ties and the sailor suit. That indicates well to do. The girl on the left is my Mother. The girl on the right is my Aunt Margery.

Sterling was and still is a very straitlaced town. Two years before the birth of my Mother a Christian college (Sterling College) was founded. The college is still there and is still a Christian college.


This is in a small town of about 2000 people. A flavor of the times is this item. When the train station was built it had two waiting rooms. One for male and one for female. No telling what might happen if both sexes used the same waiting room.

I can imagine the alarm, consternation, and shock when it was discovered that my Mother was pregnant. I do know that the baby (my sister Nita) was born in a different city about eight months later in 1907. The city was Elk City, Oklahoma. About 250 miles south of Sterling. Another Uncle in Dad’s Kentucky family lived there.

Dad and Mom went from Elk City, Oklahoma to Holtville, California. Dad worked for years in that area on farms. He was a skilled teamster who could work horses. Later he had a team of horses and would do contract work in the orange orchards in the Pomona area. The horses were named Bert and Beck. I remember chewing on some of their oats. He could excavate a basement with a team of horses and a Fresno.

My folks had eight more children after they moved to California. They were born in Long Beach, Redlands, Riverside, Chino, and Pomona. Here is the romantic couple. Charles Abner Monson and Olive Knowlton. My Dad and Mom.


Within a year or two the whole Knowlton family had moved to California. They were a short time in Long Beach but settled in the San Francisco area. After my Mother passed away I would visit Aunt Margery. (Once to visit the Golden Gate Fair) Later during the war I lived at her house while I worked in Emeryville.

I could have been born in Kansas, except for the romance. The romance worked out, however. It resulted in nine children. I was the ninth.

It all started with a romance on the plains of Kansas.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Nice Saturday morning. Unionville Breakfast and Music at Farmers Market

This morning at 5 am I went to the Jefferson Corner Liar's Club meeting. Then to Unionville for breakfast followed by music at the Ruston Farmer's Market. Bought some peaches.

Walter Abbott, the Chef at the Unionville Saturday breakfast, is proud of his new Chef hat. It was a Father's Day present. Walter cooks a great breakfast. I really enjoy the breakfast.


At the Ruston Farmer's Market Evan Ward does a great job singing and playing the guitar. I spent an enjoyable hour listening to Evan.





Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Flag Disposal Day. 2016.

Thanks to the leadership of JD Harper every Flag Day is also Flag Honoring and Disposal Day in Ruston, Louisiana. I refer to JD as Mr Flag. He is the Chairman of the local VFW Post. He and the post rents, furnishes, and leads in Flag displays for patriotic occasions in Ruston. He conducts the Flag Disposal Program. JD deserves our praise and thanks for all his good patriotic work.


The program today was not blessed with good weather. See following pictures. In the first photos the Boy Scouts demonstrate flag folding. It has started to rain hard and we are under a shelter.







Notice the stream of water running under the Scouts.




Our stalwart Scouts.


It really rained. These folks hung in there. I slunk away and went home like the summer soldier mentioned in the Thomas Paine pamphlet of 1776.

These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
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