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, March 31, 2017

Vital Signs and a Tale from the Great Depression.

My weight was fairly steady during the month. Around 235. I reached a weight of 219 for one day on my diet of last fall. Blood pressure not bad. Around 130/60 with a pulse rate of 63. Last night I was fighting a cold. Notice that my temperature was 98.3 yesterday. That is the highest temperature of the month.
A Tale from the Great Depression.

I attended a lecture at the library last night. It was about the role of the government and the church during the great depression. The lecture covered some sad stories of hardship. The roles of the government and the church were different in the deep south compared to the rest of the US. The lecture reminded me about the many adventures that I had during the depression. Here is one.

I was about eight living alone with my Dad. At one time my Dad was fairly well off. I can remember good sized houses and lots of siblings and my Mom around a big table. My Dad had a contracting business with a team of horses. (named Bert and Beck) But the depression and the mechanization of contracting work put my Dad into very hard times. (broke and hungry) My Dad and I lived in a small house (a one bedroom duplex) on the estate of a Rich Lady. She lived close by in a mansion with a maid. (I assume that she was a widow) I can remember being in her living room with my Dad and several adults. She wrote leaflets on the bad effects of smoking. (They knew that smoking was bad for you even in the old days) The Rich Lady's brother lived in the other half of the duplex that we lived in. He was old and scrawny and smoked all the time. When he opened his door the smell of tobacco smoke would fill the porch.

The lady had an automobile (a STAR). My Dad would use the car sometimes, when he could get it started. We would go visit Dad's lady friends.

My Dad raised rabbits in the Rich Lady's barn area. It was my job to feed and water the rabbits. Oh, I hated that and felt so abused! What a poor baby. I can remember Dad and I going to grocery stores where my Dad would sell the rabbits. All dressed out they looked like babies.

During this time in the morning I would go over to the Rich Lady's house (in the dark) and knock on the kitchen window. The maid would let me in and give me me a bowl of hot oatmeal with brown sugar and whole milk. I remember that I sat at a counter facing the window that I had just knocked on. I ate every bit of that oatmeal. I still love oatmeal.

The Rich Lady thought that the little boy of her tenant (Dad) needed a hot breakfast before going to school. She did something about it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Annual Joe Woods Express 2017

Saturday night I was once again in downtown Ruston in the "Theatre District"

The annual tribute to Joe Woods was playing at the Dixie.

Joe Woods was a beloved musical figure in these parts and every year a benefit program for the Dixie is held in his memory. The program featured local singers and performers. I enjoyed it very much and also contributed to the Dixie. The program closes with "Will the circle ever be broken". See the following video clip.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A crawfish, shrimp, and crab boil on John's deck.

This is what dinner looked like. Delicious!

Friday, March 24, 2017

An Evening with the Equinox Jazz Band.

I attended an Equinox concert last night at the Trinity Methodist Church in Ruston. Jackie and I were married in a Methodist Church but they did not play music like I heard last night. This is my third concert by Equinox that I have attended. I like them better every time. I will go again. Be sure to attend an Equinox concert if you can. Equinox was founded by two friends (Jeremy Davis and Clay Johnson) from West Monroe, who also went to Louisiana Tech. They are now housed in Savannah, Georgia but play everywhere. From Bullhead City, Arizona to New Hampshire. Even Texas.

Here are four videos. First is Clay singing the opening number.

Jeremy plays and sings.

Clay and Jeremy team up.


The whole Band ham up the final number.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dog, Cat, and Prunepicker in the Gazebo.

On a recent morning I was reading the paper in the gazebo. It was a beautiful spring morning.
I was soon joined by a dog and cat. You have previously met the cat, Patches. She is semi tame. She moved in out of the woods and has semi moved in with me. She spends half of her nights outside. She does not require a cat box. I leave the door ajar and she comes and goes as she pleases.

The dog is new in my life. She is a very old, very sweet, very good looking yellow lab who lives across the street. She spends hours every day visiting John and I. At our place she has the name Sparkles. She goes into John's house and sits and stares at the refrigerator. He gives her treats and lots of comradeship. She goes home in the evening after we have all retired. It is like having a nice dog. I get to scratch her ears all I want. I took a bunch of pictures the other morning. I had Sparkle the dog on my left and Patches the cat on my right. I shot a couple dozen pictures in the hope a few would be good.

I hope these pictures convey what a good time I have with Patches and Sparkle.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lawrence Gibbs and the "Little Big Band"

Last night I wandered down to the theatre district of Ruston, Louisiana to listen to a program of soft jazz. I was an avid big band fan in the thirties and forties. Lawrence Gibbs got a great band together and put on a benefit show (for the Dixie) at the Dixie Theatre. The show was great and I enjoyed the evening.

The heart of the Ruston "theatre district".

The Little Big Band plays a tune.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

That beautiful girl is Rhonda Michelle Blakley Ray.

The picture was taken when Rhonda was a little younger. Here are some recent pictures.
The day in 2012 when she married Michael Ray.
A recent picture.

Notice that the great smile is the same. She is such a sweet loving soul. I am so thankful that she adopted me.

Everyone who has met her are thankful and glad that they did.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Do you recognize this girl?

100 points for every correct answer. Girl's name will be posted tomorrow.

Monday, March 13, 2017

WARNING! to Woodenville and Chimacum, Washington.

The old Prunepicker has finalized his plans and is going to invade your country. I am posting this blog about my schedule so that friends and relatives can know when and where I will be. My time is limited, but I hope to see as many of you as possible. I plan to spend five days in Woodenville and five days in Chimacum.

I will fly from Monroe, Louisiana and arrive in Seattle on Saturday evening, April 29. My oldest grandson Matt and family will pick me up at the airport. (American Flight 1696. Scheduled arrival at Seatac 5:14 PM)
I do not think that they will bring Santa Claus. I just like this picture of the Wrock family. The birth of Matt 48 years ago made me a grandfather. Just think, I have been a grandfather for 48 years. It has been two years since I saw the Wrocks. See my beautiful great grand daughters and their Mom? I will have five days to check them out.

On Thursday, May 4 the Wrocks will take me to the ferry boat and drop me off. I love ferry boat rides! 
I believe that the closest ferry to Woodenville is the Kingston/Edmonds ferry. I will arrive at Kingston mid day. Good old Herm Schilling will meet me.
Herm and his lovely wife Kathy
are going to lend me the use of their motor home to stay in the five nights that I will stay at the Evergreen Coho Resort in Chimacum.

Jackie and I lived down the street from the Schilling's lot in this lot for 17 years.
That is the longest that we ever lived in one place in our lives. Notice the lovely gravel and the cement slab. And ten foot square shed. Our lot was on the edge of the park so that we had a lawn and trees behind. Below is a view of the park clubhouse. The clubhouse was just a cement slab when we first saw it in 1990.
I well spend Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday visiting as much as I can. Hope to get some pie at the Chimacum Cafe (world famous). a piece of Chimacum Cowboy pizza, some pancakes at the Oak Table. and an andouille kraut dog at the Dogs a Foot. (also world famous)
On my last two days my grand daughter Corrie is going to visit me. (Picture taken at Jackson Hole)
She visited m on my last trip two years ago. We had a grand time. On Tuesday Corrie is going to take me to Seatac. (American Flight 2413, Scheduled departure 1:31 PM) Corrie and I will have a ferry boat ride from Bainbridge Island to downtown Seattle. It is a very scenic ride. We will go by Fort Lawton. I was shipped out of there in 1944 to take a tour of the Palau Islands. (Peleliu)

My famous (I am hung up on famous, huh?) grandson Mark lives an hour away in Port Orchard. I will see him for sure. I am really looking forward to talking about politics with Mark.
Corrie and Mark

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rhonda, Rosa, and Prunepicker visit Bella.

What a nice visit. Rhonda and Rosa joined me for the monthly VFW Meeting and Lunch. After lunch we visited Bella and her puppies. On my first visit on Tuesday it was lunch time. Today it was nap time. Notice Bella's beautiful eyes. She did not mind our visit at all.

Grand Pyrenees dogs end up white. Look at the markings on the puppies. I have been told that by the time they are a year old their fur will be all white. The markings stay on the skin. I plan to get pics as they grow.

Here is a short video of our visit.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bella, Mother of 12!

Skip Russell is the local King of little horses. (Also little goats, laundromats, houses to rent, and automobile insurance.) He now controls the market on Grand Pyrenees puppies. He had four mature dogs and one gave birth to 12 puppies last week. All 12 puppies have been spoken for.

Here are some pictures of the happy family at lunch time today.

Here is a short video.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Vets Lunch at Barksdale Air Force Base

Tommy I, Tommy II, Susie, and Sue drove me over to Shreveport yesterday where we attended a Veterans Honor Lunch. I want to thank them for the nice ride. It is a yearly affair. Several hundred Vets and guests attend. The Vets march under an arch of swords. The Shreveport Concert Bands plays. Generals give speeches. This is the third time that I have attended. It is very nice. I may go again next year.

Tommy II, Tommy I, Susie, and Sue.

See the swords?

Tommy I and the old Prunepicker getting handshakes after marching through the arch of swords.

 I was given a new Purple Heart cap.

Here is a short video.

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