During summers in the early 60's, I'd visit my uncle who worked at Stern Grove as a gardener.
It was almost a ritual that I would show up on Thursdays and pitch in as he drained and cleaned out he pond in front of the house at The Grove.
The ritual was consistent. Drain the pond by pulling a plug to the drain. My uncle would wear his waders as he entered the pond to get the plug. It would take time for the pond to drain.
By the time I got there, the pond was usually drained. I'd sweep the muck at the bottom of the pond toward the drain as my uncle would use high-powered stream to move clean the bottom of the pond.
In later years, I would visit the Grove on St Pat's Day where a corned beef and cabbage lunch was a popular event for folks in the Rec and Park Dept.
Unfortunately, on December 22, 1982, Aloysius I O'Brien, Jr, was struck down and killed by a falling Eucalyptus tree.
As a boy, visiting my uncle was sanctuary from anything wrong with the world. He was warm, accepting, understanding and he'd challenge me to be better while respecting me for who I was.
He was respected by his peers; admired by his family; and his death left a hole unfilled ever since.