The Cactus Patch
June 2015

A Farewell to Alice Mary
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

On the 25th of April, Polly, John and I woke up to rain in Fresno! As we proceeded north the rain became a real downpour about Madera. Fortunately, by the time we reached Ceres, where Alice was born, the rain had stopped. Our clan met at my Greatgrandfather's house and by eleven everyone was there. We proceeded to dig a hole and when we were told to make it deep and wide Daniel started us on the old Sunday School song "Deep and Wide". (He also played a bit of harmonica.) When the hole was big enough, I was given mother's ashes and we took turns sprinkling them in it. We then planted a black walnut tree in the hole and sang "Will the Circle be Unbroken". We added rose petals and mother's cousin, Janet laid a bouquet of blooming statice.

We then proceeded next door to another cousin, Patricia Cousin's, house. There we were greeted by a sunbow in the sky! We dined in the grape arbor with Chinese take out. This was in memory of the times the family had gathered at my Grandfather's in Stockton to harvest walnuts (the annual gathering of the nuts). After working we would gather for lunch which was often Chinese because that was the fast food available. After lunch Patricia led us on a tour of Great-grandfather's house. (Her grandfather even though she is slightly younger than I am.) The children then got to feed lambs with bottles, visit with Llora the llama etc. It was a fitting farewell to Alice Mary.

We did not go to the Fresno Potluck on 7th May, but did go to the Bakersfield one on the 12th. The weather and the food were good.

The end of the Cruise:

On 6th November we had breakfast in the dining room for the first (and only) time. The waiter looked at my blazer and beard and greeted me as "professor". We then docked and we were off the boat by 11. We checked our luggage and got discount tickets for the Florida Aquarium which was right across the street. Lunch there was rather disappointing, but the exhibits were great. In addition to the fish (both salt and fresh water) there was a special exhibit on Madagascar with land animals (including ring-tailed lemurs), and there was a Madagascar reef full of fish.

We then took the trolley and a bus to the airport and had dinner at Burger King. Customs was nightmarishly thorough, but then the airline offered to check our luggage for free. Our night-time flight over the gulf with all the glowing oil platforms was exciting. We had three seats for the two of us and were able to streach out and get a little sleep. We landed in LA at 9:24 pm. and were met by Anne and Lora. The drive home was an anticlimax.


Florida Aquarium

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