Len & Kit's Missionary Adventures in California

Monday, October 10, 2016

On the Move in Farm Country

Moving guys with their truck

The theme of this week was traveling around in the mission pickup!  We left at eight Wednesday morning heading to Porterville to sign a rental contract. The elders planned to move with the help of ward people, but then the man with the pickup and trailer had a grandson in the hospital in Fresno so the fellows needed our help instead.  It took an hour to sign the contract - the second time that’s happened. I signed my name or initials about sixty times!  Like buying a house! Anyway Brother Grant from the ward showed up and was crucial since he had a trailer, which we required to move the refrigerator, since it belongs to the church.  (Most apts have them but that one didn't.) We had no idea what do with the fridge and were trying to come up with contingency plans. It turned out that the new apartment had a generous, locked storage space behind the covered parking spot! Enough room for the fridge in case it is needed in that area again, plus plenty of space for the bikes. Many missionaries have to take their bikes inside the apt and keep them on a tarp so they won’t get stolen.

I saw a blue bird. Not like bluebirds we have seen other places. This one was larger, long-tailed, and white-breasted.  I have seen some around Fresno too. I looked them up and they are called Scrub Jays.  Also saw a couple of nice big pomegranate bushes/trees with beautiful fruit on them.  It’s great to drive through the farmlands.  They grow so many different things here — lots of kinds of fruit and nut trees, plus olives, so many grapes, cotton.  There are orchards of all ages.  I guess when the trees get old, workers go along with a rig and put a big chain around the trunk and yank each one out of the ground. There were also lots of large dairy operations, some with Jersey cows and others with Holsteins. Len noticed a “Land O Lakes” sign on one farm.

It’s fun to see new country.  We had to drop a bike off to an elder in Visalia so that took us through a couple more towns even though it was generally on our way back to the mission office.  We saw a truck full of newly picked oranges.  Then at the grocery store they already had clementines and they are big and sweet. That means we may be eating them for almost six months of the year!  It seems the season for clementines gets longer every year.  AZ stores had really small, tart clementines in November to start their season. The green grapes are also remarkably delicious right now.

Thursday we went north to Merced again, to empty an apartment that had had no missionaries for a few months and was being closed.  It was a smaller apartment (above a double garage) with some definite deficiencies.  The “stove” consisted of a hard-used double hot plate and a small microwave.  The bath was marginal with an undersize shower.  The entry was very cluttered with the member owners’ belongings. The stairway was narrow and steep. There was some charm to the old furnishings, and the windows looked out to nice views and big trees. One of the Merced elders who used to live there came to help.  Later I asked him if his new apartment was better.  He said, “Well, since we’re zone leaders, we need more room.  We sometimes have elders staying over night with us so we have two bedrooms.” I asked if his new kitchen was better.  He said it was.  The bathroom?  It was. What about the entry?  “Yes,” he allowed, “but I feel this place in my heart.” He put his hand over his heart. “And every elder who ever lived here would say the same thing!”  That was when I learned the value of living with kind members who help missionaries feel the love and encouragement of people who share their beliefs.  On the way home we passed a pair of white wading birds near the road in a lush green field. Ibis? Or possibly cranes/egrets, though I think the bill and neck were a little too short for those.  They were beautiful like the albino squirrels we used to see scurrying through the sun dappled deep green trees when we lived at Twin Oaks in Rochester.

Our Friday trip was to a place in Fresno to move furnishings to a new apartment.  Our faithful moving companion did not go Thursday or Friday.  We were able to get those moves done without the trailer and we had missionaries to do the carrying. Brother Bradshaw went with us on Wednesday but then his wife passed a kidney stone (her first).  They were up nearly all night, spending several hours at the hospital. We have known a couple of people who have gone through that and it always reminds me of the time Chad was listening to someone recount the experience over the radio when he was driving.  He said it got so intense he finally had to pull over.  Hopefully Sister Bradshaw is done with kidney stones. They sound awful.

On Saturday’s neighborhood walk, we passed a laden persimmon tree. There are many rose bushes here and they are still in bloom.  A canna lily beside our front door surprised and favored us with an orange bloom.

Perhaps the ‘sweetest’ of our duties is restocking the candy cart, which is always there for missionaries who stop by the mission office.  It has a few kinds of crackers and dried fruits, but mostly it’s candy.  There are peanut and plain M&Ms, jelly beans, Swedish fish, etc., but a few choices are truly yucky and sit untouched for weeks until some missionary or other stops by and takes half a jar.  Rare ones reach for the wheat thins or dried apples.        

Lots of love from Len and Kit