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17 April 2006 - Monday

†††† Around 8:00 am cousin Bill took us out to one of the many orange groves near town where we filled several bags.It is indeed a rare treat to eat such fruit fresh right off the tree.The bounty of this harvest was to be shared by us with others along the remainder of our journey.†† Following this we visited the Vandalia Cemetery where we found the graves of our 2nd great-grandparents John R. and Mary Ella (Johnson) McVicker.John, a veteran of the American Civil War, was born in Ohio and had brought his family to Tulare County, California around 1890.

††††† We were back at the house before 9:00 am where we picked up Delores and headed out for breakfast.As Tom had a habit of mentioning his pleasure at eating biscuits and gravy to our hosts we were taken to the best place in town that served this kind of meal.Feeling ready to sample this locales fare we again ordered them.They were really great as the platter included two large biscuits each with a sausage patty with two scrambled eggs placed on top. This was all finally topped with about a quart of sausage gravy.We should be ashamed because such food is not the healthiest of meals but we are indeed weak when it comes to ignoring these types of cuisine.We vowed not to mention such things again and to maintain a diet of cereals and yogurt for the remainder of the trip.

†††† After breakfast we headed out of town for a visit to the Tulare County Courthouse located in Visalia.The office containing deed records was a new experience for us. All land records back to 1987 were on a computer system any other records and indexes prior to then had been converted to microfilm housed in several large metal cabinets.As we did not have access to any books or ledgers we spent much time cranking through hard to read film.We took digital images of our discoveries with varying success.The images on one machine gave us so much trouble we had to give up and submit a request for copies.Our order of a mere three pages to be copied cost us $7.00!It seemed that the County of Tulare had a good thing going with their copying service. Weíll just have to work harder to perfect our ability to take digital images from antiquated microfilm machines.We were pretty tired and dispirited when we left the courthouse and headed back to Porterville.

†††† Since it was only mid-afternoon we proceeded back to the Porterville cemeteries.Fortunately for us all the local cemeteries are in one location.A very nice person in the cemetery office looked up the surnames we were interested in on her computer and printed out the location of each ancestorís grave.††† Supplied with the computerized listings and the appropriate maps we headed out to search.We were armed with cameras, 2-way radios, and a brush to clean off the stones, many of which lay flat on the ground.In a short time we had taken photos of them all.With our success at this project the frustration we felt earlier in the day had gone away.

†††† We arrived back at the house around 4:30 pm where cousin Bill was waiting to take us out for a visit to the Porterville Museum.Both Bill and Delores are active in the museumís efforts to collect maintain, and display the many artifacts significant to the history of Porterville.The museum is located in the old railroad depot built in 1913 in the Spanish style architecture of the day.It was really great to have our own tour guide as Bill patiently showed us every room and answered our many questions.We were especially impressed with the many beautiful wooden cabinets he had constructed over the years to house the large collection.Soon after returning to the house we discovered that the day would get even better where Tom found Bill grilling ribs for our dinner!


Eventually we settled down to a wonderful meal of ribs, rice and asparagus.Before we began we raised our glasses to toast Bill and Deloresís 52nd wedding anniversary for which we were so fortunate to share with them.

Bill and Delores Scruggs


††††† The remainder of the evening was spent sitting on their deck, which overlooked the city.We talked of many things and just relaxed and enjoyed each otherís company.We topped the evening off with a piece of Deloresís lemon cake for which Tom obtained the recipe.

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