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16 April 2006 - Sunday

††† Soon after we awoke this morning Chance knocked on the door of the van to invite us into the house for coffee.We immediately dressed and headed for the house.†† Subsequently Chance returned from the store and started in on making and serving us a tasty breakfast of scrambled egg omelets with bacon, mushrooms, and green onions along with toast, and fried potatoes.Before we departed Cameo played us a solo on the piano and Chance showed us his fine collection of 9 guitars several of which he had earned the money to purchase them.Around 9:30 am with hugs all around we departed the Rhodes family home.

†††† We had now completed the first half of our trip, and as we headed out through the hills toward Tulare County and the great San Joaquin Valley, our compass surely registered east.†† Upon arrival in the vast Valley we were immediately impressed with the impact agri-business had on the local economy.After passing mile upon mile of almond groves we stopped and purchased some to bring back home.At the store we read newspaper clippings about the automobile accident that killed actor James Dean in 1955.Apparently he perished near here on California Route 46.

†††† Just before we arrived in Porterville we called our cousin Bill Scruggs to let him know that we would be arriving at their home around 4:00 pm.We actually hit town around 2:30 pm so we thought it a good idea to go in search of the local cemeteries where we could take pictures of our ancestorís headstones.After some difficulty we found the cemeteries with the aid of a local police officer.At the Old Porterville Cemetery we were able to find the Albea Scruggs family plot.Albea, our great great-grandfather was a native of Virginia who came to California around 1867 after serving in the Confederate Cavalry during the War

Between the States.Eventually he located in Tulare County around 1875 where he married Julia Rhodes and together they raised their family of nine children.

Scruggs family plot, Old Porterville Cemetery

††††† After taking several photographs we found Bill and Deloresís beautiful home perched on a hillside overlooking the town of Porterville.Upon arrival we were introduced to their daughter-in-law Vicki and granddaughter Chelsea.Chelsea, age 22, had just finished her undergraduate studies at UCLA and was beginning to work on a certificate to teach English.Shortly thereafter we all went out for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant.†† That evening we were treated to several photo albums that had been put together over the years by Billís mother, our Aunt Audrey.It was fun to see some pictures of Fred during his visit in 1951 and Tom when he visited in 1967.Bill and Delores would be our closest relatives that we would visit on the trip, as Bill is our first cousin once removed.It didnít take us long to see that we were in the home of very gracious people.Delores set up separate bedrooms for us with a bathroom to share.We were certainly ready for a night of sleeping between sheets and not out in the van in sleeping bags.As neither of us had been able to take a shower the day before we committed ourselves to this luxury prior to retiring for the evening.

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