The Knights of the Square Table, known to many as KOST, has of necessity folded up its books, put away its dice cups and gone into retirement.
It was on July 24, 1984, that KOST made its official debut.
A group of Del Puerto Avenue businessmen, sitting at the counter at Thee Bakery for their 10 a.m. coffee, had a short time earlier begun rolling the dice to see who would buy their brew. They then moved over to the square tables, and thus obtained their group name.
On the above date, the late Charles Lindner III began recording who was paying and how much.
When the facility became a restaurant, the KOSTers moved to an adjacent dining room. After the business closed for good, it was on to the Del Puerto Hotel where proprietor Vee Hooper, assisted by waitress Sharon Craven, made them welcome.
Then, when the hotel burned in June of 1996, the men moved to Mil’s Bar & Grill, where for more than 16 years waitress Patti Dunn has put up with their nonsense.
But KOST became more than just a social gathering. Politics were argued. The problems of government were not only debated but often solved (if only the advice had been taken by those in power), right up to the international level. Jokes were not only enjoyed but judged, with the Nardy Tie Award going for the worst attempt at humor.
(By the way, one KOST member dashed into the Del Puerto Hotel at the time of the fire and salvaged not only the dice boxes but the nardy ties, too. He has never been appropriately recognized for his bravery, which is a trait of the organization: Never compliment anyone for doing a good deed.)
At one time, KOST members numbered about 10 regulars, but often as many as 12 or even 14 showed. With that many rolling the dice, they figured they couldn’t possibly lose.
But membership began to skid several years ago. Death, advanced age and illness, and departure of members to greener pastures took their toll.
After Lindner’s death several years ago, Ron Roos became the secretary. When he moved to Newman three years ago, this scribe inherited the position.
Therefore it is with great sadness that I give the community the final financial report, through the end of 2012, of the Knights of the Square Table.
•Total coffee expenditure since 1984 — $46,533.75, not counting tips.
•Total expenditure in 2012 — $948.
•Honorary president in 2012 — Peter Rookard, $259.
•Honorary vice president in 2012 — Ron Swift, $238.75.
Early members included Lindner, Allister Allen (the last active charter member), Ken Nordell, Art Stangeland, Jack Stewart Jr., Bill White, Domingos Farinha and Sverre Osnes.
Others were Roland Lopes, Mark Kuhn, Joe Jacobs, Wade Bingham, Paul Verschelden, Ray Henson, police Chief Bill Middleton, Brent Bruce, Mike Petrie, Bob and Art Lorentz, Johnny Farinha, Stanley Farinha, John Ielmini, George Klopping and the above mentioned Rookard and yours truly. (Forgive me for those my suffering memory has omitted.)
One honorary member who dropped by when in Patterson was the late retired county sheriff, Dan Kelsay. He added legitimacy to the group, as well as a certain amount of dignity that otherwise was somewhat lacking.
For a number of years, KOST held a “wake” on the anniversary of the Del Puerto Hotel fire — June 13. Its members hope another local organization takes on this responsibility.
Just what we need
Californians have every reason to be pleased as punch by action taken this past year by our state Legislature.
One of the notable bills passed in 2012 was the selection of a state marine reptile. The lucky reptile is the Pacific leatherback sea turtle, obtaining this notable distinction as of Jan. 1.
Remember this fact. It might someday appear on a test.
Back to school
For our regular students who are choosing to improve their education, we this week offer a lesson about the kingdom of wild animals — or, more specifically, groups of said animals.
We’ll start simple. A group of lions is called a pride.
How about a group of crows, rooks and ravens? They are called a murder. Really.
Then there’s an exaltation of doves and a parliament of owls. Cheetahs in a group are called a coalition, cobras a quiver, flamingoes a stand, giraffes a tower (logical), and hyenas a cackle.
Then there’s a leap of leopards, a romp of otters, a husk of jackrabbits, a rhumba of rattlesnakes and a shiver of sharks.
My favorite? A bloat of hippopotamuses.
For the sports fan
The Crimson Tide left no doubt in my mind.
Remember Patterson’s Apricot Lady, Joyce Barfuss? Joyce, now living in Castro Valley, forwarded me some of her delicious chocolate-dipped dried apricots over the holidays.
At age 90, Joyce hasn’t lost her touch. The goodies didn’t last long.
Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.