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.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I drove home in 15 hours!

Yesterday I drove from Louisville, Kentucky to my home in Ruston, Louisiana. It was 800 miles and took me 15 hours. From 4 in the morning to 7 in the evening. It did not seem any harder then when I was doing such things in the oilfields and in recent years after my darling wife, Jackie, passed away. But several years ago I had a slight stroke caused by blow induced brain bleeding. I had the idea that I could not drive long distances any more. Om my trip up to Louisville last week I broke the trip into two days. I stayed overnight in Mountain View, Arkansas. The first day was five hours. But due to slow driving in the mountains of north Arkansas the second day was a 12 hour drive. The 12 hours did not seem so much of a strain so I thought I could drive the 800 miles home in one day. I was right.  At 92 years old that is good.

I am planning a trip to Washington, DC next year and was planning to fly. I might drive.

I stop a lot to pee and gas up. On one of my stops driving to Louisville I left my $40 Hurrycane. I ordered a new one and it was at the house when I got home last night. I changed from LSU purple to Louisiana Tech blue. I feel better and more patriotic now.

Here is a pic from one of my rest stops. It made my think about Jackie's Choctaw ancestors.

I found an aid to staying awake on a long drive. I turned on the Doctor channel on Sirius Radio. For two hours I listened to three lady doctors answer and discuss questions about sex. It was fascinating and brought back memories. Then an hour on dementia and alzheimers. Then broken bones. I was exposed in a big way to broken bones. My eldest son Chris had a terrible motorcycle accident at a young age. He had broken bones in both arms and both legs. He went through many casts and years of problems.

A fifteen hour drive gives you a lot of time for memories.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Thomas Munson Foundation.

Hey! I have been telling you all along that I was going to Louisville for a Munson family reunion. It turns out that I was going to a bi-annual membership meeting of the Thomas Munson Foundation. I am a life member with a vote. It is good that I attended because a quorum for a legal meeting is 25 and I was number 25. They usually have more at the meeting but this is the first time they had a meeting in the mid central US. It is a nation wide organization with large representation on both coasts.

However, it really was a family reunion. All members must be a direct descendent from Captain Thomas Munson. We are all cousins! The Captain was a Puritan citizen of New England. He earned the office of Captain from serving in the militia. Like most able bodied men of that time he served in the militia all his adult life. The Munson/Monsons are nice cousins and I enjoyed being with them. I only have a couple of pictures from facebook but I will post more when I get home.

Here is a pic of my banquet table. Picture of my prime rib will be in a later blog.

Here is a group pic that I am barely in. I am almost behind the flag. Always hiding behind the flag. I attached a blow up of my part of the pic.

I would not want you to miss seeing a pic of the old prunepicker.

I had a good time and got in some enjoyable sight seeing. I was glad to get some faces to go with names I see in the newsletter. I am looking forward to the next meeting two years from now.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The old prunepicker is going to go visit a lot of cousins!

Tomorrow I am going to Mountain View, Arkansas, and spend an evening in the picking and grinning park. The next day I am heading for Louisville, Kentucky and a Munson Family reunion. The Munson Family dates their reunions from 1637 when my 8th great grandfather Thomas Munson was listed as a soldier in the New England Indian Wars. (His first substantiated appearance in America)

In 1887 they held a 250th Reunion.

Then in 1987 they held a 350th Reunion. This last was quite a reunion! 1500 attendees and a letter from President Ronald Reagan.

I was completely unaware of the 1987 meeting. Jackie and I were on the East Coast in our RV and could have attended. I am so sorry that we missed the reunion. The reunion was held at Yale University. But I did not have any knowledge of the meeting or of Munson/Monson genealogy. From all the years I spent with my Dad I only knew that he was from Kentucky. I thought that our folks had recently immigrated from Sweden in a turnip boat. (Wrong century and wrong country and wrong boat. The country was actually England and turnips were not involved).

When Jackie passed away in 2007 I started digging into Jackie's and my genealogy. I was amazed and thrilled by what I found. My 8th great grandfather came to America in the Puritan Migration of the 17th century. He was one of the signers for the founding of New Haven, Connecticut. I have grandfathers buried in Connecticut, New Jersey, (one was born in North Carolina), and five grandfathers are buried in Kentucky. (My Dad was actually raised in Kansas).

The Munson Family is holding their 380th Reunion in Louisville next weekend. I will be there and hope to meet a cousin!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

38th Annual Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival

I attended the 38th Annual Louisiana Folk Festival today in Natchitoches. Mr and Mrs Michael Ray went with me, in fact Mrs Ray drove the car. Good driver.

Below is a photo of the Delta Bluegrass Band. Good players!

We went downtown for lunch and ate at the famous meat pie restaurant, Lasyones. I have heard about the restaurant and the wonderful meat pies for years. I am glad to say that all I heard was true.

Mr and Mrs Ray. Michael and Rhonda. Sweet company. They made my day!

I had eaten a portion of my meat pie and red beans and rice before I remembered to take this picture.

Here is a video of Cajun dancers enjoying the music of Goldman Thibodeaux and the Lawtell Playboys. There is a view of the Craft Area. And Rhonda and Michael are in the last shot.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Time-lapse video at Jefferson Corner.

Jefferson Corner is a busy place. Following is a time-lapse video that compresses about 30 minuets of cashier traffic to 12 seconds.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Ten year battery and 92 year old prunepicker.

I replaced my wrist watch the other day.

I have a problem. The watch has a ten year battery. I will be 92 next week. I do not think that I will out live the battery. I am going to try but there are no guarantees in the this business of life. I may have to leave it with my estate.

Sunday afternoon my North Louisiana family is having a birthday party for me. Bless them!

On Wednesday July 19th I am driving to Mountain View, Arkansas. I will spend the night there. I will spend the evening in the picking and grinning park downtown by the courthouse. Mountain View must be the picking and grinning capitol of the world. The next day, Thursday the 20th of July, is my birthday. I will spend that day driving to Louisville, Kentucky to attend a Munson/Monson family reunion. I wonder if they pick and grin.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Pie crust and Evan Ward at the Ruston Farmers Market.

I had a front row set at the stage area of the Ruston Farmers Market yesterday. I saw a demonstration of pie crust making by Lauren Giddings and heard some great music made by Evan Ward.

I like pie crust.

Evan is on his way to Nashville. You can see why if you listen to the minute video at the end of this blog post. Evan is very talented.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Umbrella Man. Dizzy and Louis.

Here is a video of The Umbrella Man. A slightly different arrangement from the one I used!

Thursday, July 6, 2017


These are the first lyrics in the chorus of that famous song "The Umbrella Man". Here are some more lyrics.

Does the song come back to you now? I am sure that you are humming the tune right now. This song played a big role in my life. When I was a student at  John C Fremont Junior High School in Pomona, California I entered an amateur hour program (put on by the school) and played this song on my ocarina. The ocarina is a flute made out of clay and has a very pleasant sound. (Amazon has them listed for $12.95)

Mine was red. I must have been a good ocarina player because I got third prize!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Flowers, bees, squirrels, cats, and fish around the Koi Pond.

Lots going on around the pond. Here are some photos of miscellaneous subjects.

This is a dramatic flower.

Two gold fish and one koi.

John has placed squirrel houses around his property. This one has been taken over by a bunch of bees. This pic taken during the day when most of the bees were out working.

This pic taken in the evening when the bees were home/

 Patches the cat.

More pics of fish and lily.

 Distance shot of the converted squirrel house.

This shot shows the location of the bee hive with respect to the gazebo. It is high on the second large tree from the right of the pic.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The old prunepicker went for a walk on the Chautauqua Run.

I bought a combination cane/seat. I tried it out this morning on the Rock Island Greenway. The first mile of the greenway was dedicated last Friday and is called the Chautauqua Run. My new cane is pictured below. When folded it is used as a cane.

This is a photo of the cane unfolded and it is now a seat. I tire easy, but can walk good distances if I can rest and catch my breath. Also, I can not stand still for very long as a portion of my upper leg goes to sleep and hurts. (I hate pain)

Look at the greenway in this photo. That is an ideal path that the Rock Island Railroad left to Ruston. Beautiful, mostly shaded path. I wonder if there are some photos of when the train was going through here?

My cane/seat worked great. Unfold and sit down. I think that we are going to spend some time together. The pic below shows a father and son biking on the new Rock Island Greenway. I predict that the greenway will be well used and much appreciated,

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Vital Signs. June 2017.

My blood pressure is in good shape. My dose of heart medicine (atenolol} has been increased and I take it half in the morning and half in the evening. I think this is working good. Thanks to Dr Carter.

An important vital sign is my weight. In recent months my weight had increased. This is probably why it was necessary to increase my heart medicine. I went on a diet a week or so ago and in eight days I have lost ten pounds. From 241 to 231. That is good. Maybe if I stick with it I will be able to reduce my daily dose of heart medicine.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Breakfast with Rosa at Cracker Barrel.

What a lucky guy! I had a visit and breakfast with Rosa Lee Blakley this morning.

Rosa is such good company. We are old friends now. We really hit it off with each other.

Rosa has slowed down a little bit since retirement but is still a lovely and vivacious lady. I love her.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Rock Island Greenway. Cut the ribbon.

Years ago the tracks of the Rock Island Railroad Company ran across Ruston. The company is long gone and so are the tracks. But the right away is still here and mostly owned by the city. There has long been a dream to convert the right away to a walking biking greenway. The city has just completed one mile of the Rock Island Greenway. Isn't that nice? Within one year another several miles will added. There are are long range plans for 20 or 30 miles of greenway in Ruston.

I lived in The Woodlands, Texas for several years. That city has around a hundred miles of greenway. You could ride your bike to the civic center and not use a normal street. The greenways added a great plus to living in The Woodlands.

Yesterday I attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Rock Island Greenway. Here are some photos and a nine minute video of the program.

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