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.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Storm on Thursday. 5/30/13



John and I were watching start of O'Reily when he was informed that 3000 customers were without power in the Ruston area. We only had rain and wind for a few minutes, but there was strong weather nearby. Power poles broken, etc.  I watched and listened while John called and dispatched equipment to restore service. A radio in one hand and a cell phone in the other.  It was tense and interesting. It was the start of many hours of work for John and Entergy.

John had a lot of sympathy on his shoulder but John still looks tense. John went to bed early tonight.

Tonight O'Reilly was knocked off the air for live coverage of tornados in Oklahoma City.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My poop pump burned up!

My macerator pump motor burned out. The pump should not be run dry more than 15 seconds. You have to be careful. I was not careful enough.



A new pump came tonight. I have to install it tomorrow. I have done it before.




Wednesday, May 29, 2013

22 Hour Honeymoon.

I want to enter the contest for the shortest honeymoon. Jackie and I were married on June 3, 1944 in San Luis Obispo, California. We were married at 3 pm on June 3. On June 4 at 1 pm I boarded a train to return to Camp Beale, which is near Marysville, California. That is a short 22 hour honeymoon. It was 18 months before I saw Jackie again.

I met Jackie on a blind date while stationed at Camp San Luis Obispo. My Army unit was taking amphibious training at Morro Bay. I remember boarding landing craft in Morro Bay Harbor and sailing out into the ocean around Morro Rock. Dozens of landing craft would circle for hours and then land on the beach north of Morro Bay. We would send scouts over to Highway One to buy candy bars to help pass the time in our foxholes.

After six months my unit was sent to Camp Beale on the way to Seattle to prepare our equipment for battle. We were to ship to Honolulu and then to the Palau Islands. At Camp Beale I learned that I might become a father. I remember borrowing $10 for trip expenses to our wedding in San Luis Obispo..



I hitch hiked from Marysville to San Luis Obispo. I must have bummed money from Jackie for the train back. Jackie paid for the marriage License.


At that time girls could marry without parental consent at age 18. However. boys needed parental consent until they were 21. I had to forge my father's name. I went to the courthouse restroom and wrote my dad's name with my left hand. Notice the sentence in the middle of the license that the written, verified consent of my father is had and filed.  I wonder if our marriage is legal.

I have to admit that Jackie and I started our honeymoon early.

Monday, June 3 will be the 67th anniversary of our wedding. Jackie has been gone for six years. I talk to her every day.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Johnny Lynn Miller. Dancer.

How can a three year old girl be so poised and talented? She only takes dance lessons one day a week.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Full Memorial Day.

For breakfast son in law John Adams, great grandsons Ethan, Christian and I went for doughnuts at Jefferson Corner. Rosa, Rhonda, Dot, and Cookie were there. It was like a party!

At 11:38 John, Ethan, and I went to Cook Baptist for their annual Memorial Day fish fry for veterans. They have had it for 7 or 8 years. I have been to 3 or 4. It is really very nice. Church volunteers cook and serve a state of the art Southern fish fry. Free of charge to all veterans and their spouse. John and Ethan filled in for my spouse.


Mickey Fitzgerald said smiling is a sign of weakness.





A big happy crowd.

Then at 2:00 I attended "Raising the Roof". A benefit Memorial Day program at the Dixie Theater. It was a benefit for the building fund for  a new building for the VFW Post. Several organizations use the building.


Presentation of the Flag.


The Dixie Dancers put on a show.


The Piney Hills Chorus sang pretty.

 To top the day off John Adams did his usual great Bar B Que. Plus cavorting in the hot tub with his three grandsons.





When it came time to eat I was told to go first as I was the only veteran. What an honor!

I had a wonderful Memorial Day. Thanks to my wonderful family and many Ruston friends. They make it very difficult to be blue.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Barrel racing. Fun and beautiful.

I spent some hours out at the Lincoln Parish Exhibition Grounds yesterday and today. I was watching a very scenic and dramatic sport. Barrel Racing. Beautiful talented horses and people racing around barrels and racing against the clock. Most races were around 18 to 19 seconds.




17.501 seconds. Very good time.


Beautiful horse.


These folks brought their corral with them.


Many participants bring the comforts of home with them. Here is a deluxe combination RV and horse trailer.




Printing up custom tee shirts to go on site.




The grounds looked like a large RV park. Barrel racers hang close.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Drew Monson, High School Graduate.



We are all proud of Drew and wish him the best and congratulate him on his accomplishment. Here he is with his Dad Mike Monson who is proudly holding his diploma.

A couple of great Prune Pickers.

For several years Drew has been producing youtube shorts.  mytoe cold  There must several hundred of them. He gets lots of hits. Be prepared for some R rated stuff if you look it up. He has also done some standup. He is talented and creative.

Friday, May 24, 2013

TIA Report.

I was operated on March 25 to stop bleeding from my brain. The bleeding was caused by a fall on January 25. Two months later on March 24 I had a light stroke (TIA). Any stroke is very serious, however. A head x-ray indicated that my brain was bleeding. When I went into the operating room my right hand was semi-functional and I was not talking in my normal lucid manner. I was having a TIA. Thank goodness I have been recovering ever since the operation. I had a great surgeon. She visited me once in intensive care. I obtained this picture of her from the internet.


I think that Dr Notarianni is a pleasant looking brain surgeon.

In the first 26 days after the operation I had three TIAs. The last one was on April 20. I am making progress. I have gone from 3 TIAs in 26 days to none in 35 days! I am thankful for every day without a TIA.

I do not feel like I ever had a stroke, other than being weak and an occasional unsteadiness. I try to move very carefully. I sometimes use a cane.




Thursday, May 23, 2013

The last canvas covered Schlumberger logging truck.

Present day Schlumberger logging truck.


Pretty fancy. Spacious air conditioned work room behind winch and winch controls.

In 1950 I started to work for Schlumberger in Bakersfield, California. I was a logging engineer on the last Schlumberger truck which had the winch out in the elements covered with a tarp. I was on jobs where the winch operator was being snowed on. There was a window between me and the operator. When the window was open snow would get on me and the log recorder. Pretty cool job, huh?


I believe that the number of the truck was 321. Do you suppose that is the right number? And I remember it after 63 years?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

First oil well in Nevada.

I was a logging engineer working for Schlumberger  in Sacramento, California in 1954. The state of Nevada had posted a large sum of money to give to the first company to complete an oil producing well in Nevada.

Shell Oil was drilling Eagle Springs 1-35 in Railroad Valley, Nye County near Ely, Nevada. My logging crew was sent to log the well. The crew consisted of two men in a logging truck and the old prune picker in a car.


It was a 12 hour drive. I remember that when we drove up to well that Shell had the drill pipe out of the hole and were waiting for us to start several hours of logging. After a 12 hour dive I was ready for a nap, not for 12 hours of work!

I was the first person to see the electric well log of the oil zone in the first commercial oil well in Nevada.  I was operating the log recorder.

Does that make me famous? I finally did get a nap.

Later on in my 15 years with Schlumberger I logged other discovery wells, but for oil fields within a state. I tried a couple of times in the state of Washington but the geology did not cooperate.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Koi Watching.

I have always enjoyed bird watching. Now I have added koi watching to my daily activities. I find it to be very enjoyable. My neighbors, John and Kerry Adams, have a koi pond. This picture shows most of the gold fish and the two koi. They are Whitey and Big Joe.


This picture is from the gazebo where I spend some serious hours koi watching.


Here are a few pictures of Big Joe and Whitey.





If I shift my eyes I can bird watch and/or squirrel watch,








Monday, May 20, 2013

66 miles down the freeway to the VA Eye Clinic in Shreveport.

The old prune picker drove both ways. Trip went smooth. My first trip on the freeway since my brain surgery. I felt very comfortable. Nolan Coleman rode with me to keep an eye on me. Thank you very much, Nolan.

My eye pressure was good. The doctor thought that a new prescription might help. They are sending a new pair of glasses.

Nolan and I stopped for lunch at Gap Farms in Arcadia. Almost as good as Jefferson Corner.




Sunday, May 19, 2013

Class of 1950.

I graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1950. Times were hard in 1950. I was hired by Air Reduction (now AIRCO). After training for a month in Los Angeles I was made Manager of the Air Reduction store in Bakersfield, California. I was a big shot, I had a staff of one. He drove a welding gas delivery truck and was gone all day. I did paper work and sold welding rod.

There was only one problem. My salary was $250 per month. I received $112 every two weeks.That did not go very far. I had a wife, two children, and a dog. In my spare time I cleaned and delivered turkeys,  swabbed out oilfield trucks, and sold mens clothes at Sears.

After six months of white collar work (not too white).I got a job as a roustabout at the Golden Bear Oil Refinery in Oildale. Some Mechanical Engineer! But I made a hundred dollars a month more.

In a few months I got a job with Schlumberger where I stayed for 15 years.

I will always remember the Class of 1950.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Jackie and Chris had a visitor.

The ashes of my dear wife Jackie and beloved son Chris share a gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery. My ashes will join theirs. I think about this place now and then.

I was touched to learn that my nephew Mark Wright visited the grave last week. Thanks, Mark.


This is a view of the grave. There is a temporary card with the data about Chris in front of the monument. The data is now engraved on the back of the monument.


This is a view in the other direction from the grave.

The text above is the data about Jackie that is now engraved on the front of the monument. And the data about Christopher that is on the back, When my ashes are added a new monument will be installed with my data on the front and Jackie and Chris's data on the back. Rank has its privileges. I was a CPL, you know.





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