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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Life's Work.

My life’s work has been doing what I could to make my wife, Jackie, happy. Before going in the Army and meeting Jackie my life’s work was going to dances and finding something to eat. After our marriage and the birth of our children it was earning enough money to keep a family of six going.

After I retired from Mobil Oil in 1985 I devoted myself to trying to make Jackie happy. We came and went much as Jackie wanted and planned. Most of our activities I enjoyed too. Especially our travels around the United States and Canada. I like trips.

Jackie enjoyed playing slot machines and bingo. For a dozen years we spent 1 to 4 weeks in the winter in Las Vegas. For 5 or 6 years straight we had Thanksgiving Day Dinner at the buffet at Samstown on the Boulder Strip. Friends from our RV Park in Chimacum, Washington would join us. One year we had a dozen people around the table.

We lived full time in a 35 foot fifth wheel. We spent the summer months in a coop RV Park on the Olympic Peninsula. In the winter we would make trips.

We made two trips to Florida. We were Disneyworld fans. We rode out to Key West on our first trip. Jackie loved the 9 pm lighted parade at Disneyworld.  The last trip we bought tickets for five days. Jackie and I went to five lighted parades. Once was enough for me but not for Jackie.

We made two trips to Maine and even went over to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. On our second trip we worked as volunteers at the Acadia National Park for 3 ½ months. Jackie worked in the Reception Center and I worked in the Sign Shop.

We drove almost across Canada. We got as far North as Jasper. We drove south down the top of the Rocky Mountains over the Athabasca Ice Fields.  Melt water from these ice fields flow into four oceans.

We went to the four corners of the United States in Maine, Florida, California and Washington. We must have driven across the United States 3 ½ times.  

We lived, at least in the summers, at a coop park on the Olympic Peninsula. Jackie and I worked on the establishment and construction of the park. The park is about 8 miles south of Port Townsend in Chimacum. We loved that part of the world. Very scenic. Lots of Indian Casinos with slot machines and bingo. These held Jackie over until our yearly trip to Las Vegas.

Jackie could and did play slot machines all day; I mean 10 of 12 hours at a time. She would do this day after day.  I would go to the nearest library or read books in our trailer. We would meet for meals, usually in the buffet. We often played bingo together. Often we parked our trailer in an RV Park right next to or across a parking lot from a casino.

On our last trip to Vegas I had to rush Jackie home due to a heart problem. She had fibrillation. She soon started having severe medical problems. Her kidneys failed and she had to go on dialysis. Her lungs did not work right and she was on oxygen. Her bones started breaking. She fell and broke a hip. We moved our trailer to Ruston so my daughter could help take care of her. The picture below was taken just before we left the Olympic Peninsula

Unfortunately Jackie passed away six months after we moved to Louisiana. Five weeks before she passed away we went to Samstown in Shreveport. Jackie made a $1000 royal flush on a slot machine. That made her happy. 

The day before her last trip to the hospital, for dialysis and admittance my son in law and I built a ramp for Jackie’s wheel chair. When she saw the ramp she said "Oh My!". She was impressed with the ramp and the ride down to the ground.  She died in the hospital and I never did get to push her up the ramp. It was a one way ramp.

Jackie passed away six years ago. I have not been in a casino in those six years. When Jackie passed away I was startled. I thought that she would live as long as I was there to care for her. I felt completely useless. My life’s work was ended.

I fight depression and loneliness with activity and trips.


  1. I enjoyed that so much and I love you. Now your life's work is to educate all of us about our roots.

    1. Thank you Nancy. You have a great idea.

  2. What a beautiful story Chuck. You and your wife were so lucky to have each other. Deanne Groves


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