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.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Jana Jae, My favorite fiddler!

Jana is the lady who played fiddle with Buck Owens on Hee Haw. She is conducting her yearly fiddle camp in Grove, Oklahoma. I am there and having a wonderful time.

The evening sessions are at an RV park on a lake. These folks are a few steps from their motor home.

The young girl is the Oklahoma junior champ. These girls sing!

I am a fan of Jana.

Youngest student. Three years old.

Bunching up for the class picture.

Teacher at work.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Walmart has built a beautiful art museum in Bentonville, Arkansas. I visited it today while on my trip from Ruston, Louisiana to Grove, Oklahoma. Fully endowed, the admission is free. The hamburgers are $10.50, however. It is really quite nice. Striking architecture and grounds. Lots of walking trails with art along the way. It takes 120 people to keep it going.

Model of the museum.

The lunch room. Called "eleven"

He looks like a boss, huh? He started a war without consulting congress. Commanded a general to get an army together and go fight the Indians who were harassing settlers in the West. All in all, I really admire the man very much.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

1940 Census. Black Sheep David Rufus.

The 1940 Census was released last year. The government does not release census data until the census is 72 years old. You can access the data on the internet. I was looking forward to see where my Dad and I were living in 1940. I was 15 then. Shucks, all my searches do not bring anything up. I believe that we were not counted in the 1940 census. I have worked part time for the government on the census of 2000 and 2010. I can understand how people can be missed.

The 1930 census of my family was really goofed up. Wrong names and a child that did not exist. But the census is an invaluable aid in genealogy research.

I discovered several years ago that David Rufus Ireton, the grandfather of my wife Jackie and the great grandfather of my children was in Leavenworth Prison in 1900 at the age of 19 for larceny. After that he was in the Albuquerque New Mexico County jail and the federal prison at MeNeil Island in Washington. I knew that he died in 1950 in Bakersfield, California. I looked him up in the 1940 census and he was an inmate at Folsom Prison in California. Poor guy. Four prisons in forty years. Jackie's father never mentioned him once. I would like to know more about him. Black sheep are more interesting. Below is a head shot of Rufus from Leavenworth in 1900 at age 19.

I am going to visit the town in the Oklahoma where Rufus was born and where his father is buried, It is the town of Alex.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kona, Hawaii Sunset.

My granddaughter Corrie recently moved from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Kona, Hawaii. She thinks that sunsets in Hawaii are a tiny bit prettier than sunsets in the Tetons. This is one of Corrie's latest photos. Between my granddaughter Corrie and my daughter in law Rebecca, I really get some great pictures of Hawaii.

Notice my Ruston sunset posted yesterday.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

129 days or 18 1/2 weeks since my last TIA.

I think that I am not going to have another. I am so fortunate. My surgeon must have fixed the bleeding from my brain. I have planned a short trip (1500 miles) to Oklahoma and back. I think that I will be gone for five days.

I will be visiting the following places.

Crystal Bridge Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Jana Jae Fiddle Camp in Grove, Oklahoma.
Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Museum in Chikasha, Oklahoma.
Ireton Cemetery in Alex, Oklahoma.
Birthplace of Michael Ray in Ringling, Oklahoma.
Headquarters of the American Choctaw Nation in Durant, Oklahoma.

Exciting trip, huh?

Here are some sunset pictures. Taken the other evening on the way to Ruston from Monroe, Louisiana.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Lunch at the Jade Garden for Deanne's latest class in Life Story Writing.

The proud graduates met for lunch after the end of their eighth and last class at the Jade Garden in Monroe.

The graduates and teacher are. Back row and front row, left to right. Miles, Lionel, Betty, Jeanne, Teacher Deanne, John, Chuck, Alice, Billie Jean, Beth, Vivian, Dana, and Kramer Dale. We thank John for picking up the check. He is a rich oil man. And a nice guy.

There were bike riders, poets, geologists, and many talented people in the class. It was a pleasure listening to their writing. What a fun eight weeks.

Lady Techster Soccer. First home game and first game under the new lights.

I went over to the soccer field last night to see the Techsters play the University of Central Arkansas. They came ready to play. I am sorry about the score. I went home early and we were behind two goals.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, David.

David Newberry just turned 42. He has been blessed with a wonderful family.

The house did not burn down.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Munsons in antebellum Louisiana?

You mean that I have been studying Munson/Monson genealogy for six years and just today discovered that Munsons from Connecticut had four sugar plantations in a row along the Bayou Lafourche before the Civil War? I believe that they are all long gone for some time now, but still---no one told me.

There is a Munson Church in Napoleonville in use today.

Munson/Monsons hold a yearly reunion in the church every All Saints Day. Maybe I will attend this year.

Forrest fire near Yosemite.

I think that this is a striking and timely photograph. Courtesy of a Facebook posting by Rebecca Monson. It is from downtown Groveland. Groveland is a town outside an entrance to Yosemite. Look at the smoke!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Knott's Berry Farm before the fence.

I can remember Knot's Berry Farm from the 1930s. It was a small fried chicken restaurant way out in the country. It was on the way to visiting my Dad. He lived at Rancho Los Amigos south of Los Angeles as an invalid for the last 18 years of his life.

Later on Jackie and I moved our family to within a few miles of the farm. We would drive over for dinner and walk around the Knott's Berry Ghost Town. Jackie and I and our kids have lots of good memories of the Ghost Town. Walter Knott over the years moved buildings from the ghost towns of Southern California to the farm. Walter kept adding attractions to entertain people waiting for their chicken dinner. It was a fun place. I remember seeing Steve Martin in the Bird Cage Theatre.

Parking was free. Entrance was free. No fence. Then they built a fence.

Now it is a 160 acre theme park much like Disneyland which is just a few miles away. Knott's claims that they were the first theme park in the US.

A specialty of the restaurant is boysenberry pie. Walter Knott was the first commercial grower of the boysenberry in 1932. It is a combination of raspberry, loganberry, and blackberry. It was grafted by Rudolph Boysen. If I get to California again I plan to have another dinner at Knott's Berry Farm!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Machine gunner and demolition man.

While in the army in the combat engineers I was trained in the operation of machine guns and the use of explosives.

One assignment I had with the 30 caliber water cooled machine gun was firing it on the obstacle course while soldiers slithered on their backs under the bullets. Kinda fun. There was a mechanism that kept the bullets above the troops.

I was a squad leader for carrying a 50 caliber air cooled machine gun ashore on Okinawa on Easter Sunday 1945. It was heavy. We broke it into three parts. Once on shore we set up on the Okinawa Japanese airfield.

 An anti aircraft unit pulled up beside us with a turret mounted quad 50 caliber machine gun. Boy! did we feel under powered.  While at this place I saw an American airplane shot down by friendly fire. It broke my heart.

I was also trained in the use of explosives and was rated as a demolition man. I was carrying a satchel charge on my back and approaching a enemy pill box when I was shot on Peleliu in 1944.  '  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Spiritually is defined differently by different sources. So I will present my definition. Here is my definition; spirituality is the part of a person that makes a person tremble, cry, laugh, and view things and events with awe and compassion.

Spirituality makes a person a human being. Oprah (the famous philosopher) said, “I am a spiritual person.  I know that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience.”  Does that make sense to you? It does not to me. There are an infinite number of types in the human family. We know that there are people who are very spiritual, and some who do not have an ounce of spirituality. The word spirit inside the word spirituality infers to of the spirit as opposed to of the physical.

I believe that I am very spiritual. I tremble when I hear a heart-warming story. I cry in movies and real life at the drop of a hat. I laugh at jokes, even jokes that are not funny. I regard the progress of human history with awe and compassion. I can even choke up at an athletic contest. You can see that I believe that a spiritual person is an emotional person.

According to my definition I believe that I am spiritual.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dancing to the music of Glenn Miller.

In 1941 the mother of a girl I knew, who liked to dance, drove her and I to the Hollywood Palladium. We danced to the music of Glenn Miller. We had a good time. I wonder where the girl is now? I can not remember her name. I also do not remember how to dance.

The Hollywood Palladium was built on Sunset Boulevard in 1940. It is still going strong. Dwight Yoakum will play there in a couple of weeks.

Glenn only lived three more years. He was flying from England to France to entertain troops when his plane went down in the English Channel.

There is a headstone for him in the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut. When I went to visit the grave of Captain Thomas Munson, my 8th great grandfather, a couple of years ago I took this photo.

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