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  • jonnynativeseed

June 25, 2018

Take care of each other

"When a train was arriving he would walk the platform announcing when the train was arriving and where it was going."

Happy Summer,  

I took an unexpected break from seed collecting for almost 3 weeks but I am now back at it. The afternoon that I sent you the last JNS update I got a call from one of my brothers. My 89 year old father is in poor health with his heart functioning at 20% of normal. My brother was calling to say Dad had just been taken to the emergency room. That was his second time in less than a week. Later my brother called again. He was pretty broken up with news that Dad was being sent home to begin hospice care. My siblings all live closer to my parents than I do but for various reasons were not able to help out as much as they would have liked.

Two days later I began the drive down to the family date ranch in Thermal, California to help out. I was there for 2 1/2 weeks and each of those days there was at least one time it was very evident my presence was important. It was good to be there even with the temperature hitting 112° some days.

Dad's mind is sharp and his spirits are good. He is not afraid of death but he is glad to still be on this side of the divide. My mom is wearing out caring for Dad so part of what I did was to help her out as much as possible and get her taking naps and getting appointments made for some of her needs. She is still resisting outside help but with me now back in Oregon, hopefully she will begin to use some of the help that is now available upon request. A limited use of that help will keep you from wearing out and creating the need for 24 hour help for both of you. (Could you tell that last sentence was written specifically for Mom.)

It was a sweet gift to me that no one placed any large orders for any of the early herbaceous species I mentioned in the last update. Without any orders I was able to concentrate on helping out my parents. When the situation started to stabilize I realized I should stay through Father's Day. All six of us siblings were able to be together with my parents that day. We all got to watch a fun slide show of long ago days. In my spare time I had spent hours scanning old slides and getting them somewhat organized. Lots of fun memories.

I started back home last Tuesday morning. I am the oldest child and I was born the day after Father's Day, 67 years ago. My birthday this year was again the day after Father's Day. It was good being able to spend part of it helping to care and love on my parents after all the love and care they gave me as a child. I also got away that day while my dad was taking a nap to harvest some Prosopis glandulosa (honey mesquite) and some Parkinsonia florida (palo verde).

On the way home I stopped along the Klamath River in northern California and got a little Allium acuminatum (tapertip onion), Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (a yellow version of arrowleaf buckwheat), Fritilleria recurva (scarlet fritillary) and some other species. I also did some scouting and found a site in another location with some Lilium bolanderi (Bolander's lily) blooming. I got home late as I stopped again near Wilbur, OR and harvested Camassia leichtlinii ssp. leichtlinii (cream colored great camas) and Camassia quamash (common camas). A very tense and exciting College World Series elimination game between OSU and North Carolina kept me awake getting home. Go Beavers!

It is too late now for harvesting some of the species mentioned in my last update but please contact me if you intend to place an order and haven't yet. I have a helper harvesting some Tellima grandiflora (fringecup) today even though no large orders were placed for it because I am sold out and it often gets ordered late. Let me know ASAP if you will need it in quantity. I will be harvesting Vancouveria hexandra (inside-out flower) Wednesday. Last year I had numerous orders come in for it too late. It doesn't store well so if you'll be wanting some and haven't told me yet it is time to let me know. Also, the Osmorhiza berteroi (sweetcicily) is ready to harvest but without an order for it, it won't get harvested. Next week it will be time to harvest Hydrophyllum tenuipes (Pacific waterleaf) but, having been gone almost 3 weeks, I am way behind in cleaning so let me know if you think you might be needing some or otherwise it won't get harvested. My current list is attached.

I started out telling about caring for my parents. I will close with a caring story recently sent to me by Jerry Henderson, my ranger boss from years ago. Jerry is a Vietnam vet. When he returned from a visit to Vietnam with his wife, Pat, a couple years ago there was something wrong with his body. Jerry has been diagnosed with several ailments but when he gets new treatment and starts to feel better the symptoms seem to come back. I read the story to Dad one evening as he sat in his wheelchair. The story left him in tears. Good ones.

I have a story of caring and compassion to tell. Several weeks ago we went with a friend to a baseball game in Oakland. I'm  not a baseball fan. However, my friend said we'd take the train which stops right at the stadium. That sounded like fun. Once at the stadium this old cyclical disease that I have begun to raise it's ugly head again. Fatigue returned and a headache roared up. By the end of the game I was so debilitated that I couldn't walk without assistance. At the entrance to the stadium I laid down on a table. A staff member, seeing my situation, brought up a golf cart to take me to train platform about 200 yards away.

At the platform there was a homeless guy who acted like he was the station master. When a train was arriving he would walk the platform announcing when the train was arriving and where it was going. He noticed me and saw that I wasn't well. He came over to chat with me. Said I reminded him of his Papa.

I couldn't sit any longer and told Pat (Jerry's wife) that I had to lay down. As I went to lie on the concrete, the homeless man rushed over to his sleeping area and brought back his sleeping bag and pillow. He made me comfortable and kept me company with banter till the train came in. He took my hand. Helped me to the train and said "I love you."" 

Care for the land and care for each other,


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