A long dismal day
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Nov 14, 2013 | 979 views | 0 0 comments | 178 178 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
Many readers – at least five or six – have inquired about the status of our stolen auto, as reported in last week’s column.

Taken from in front of our house, the vehicle was found five days later in rural Fairfield – unfortunately crashed into a bridge. Two Fairfield men were arrested about a mile away and booked on a long list of charges. They were uninjured and had replaced the rear license plate with another stolen right here in Patterson. (Check your plates.)

But that’s not the end of my turmoil.

The dismal day the theft was discovered started with a broken shoe lace. It was the first broken shoe lace I’ve experienced in this country in over 25 years. (One broke two years ago in Canada.)

The local break has yet to be replaced. I don’t know where to go shopping for such a small item. Walking into our nearly 160,000-square-foot Wal-Mart building and finding something so minuscule as a shoe string might require days or even weeks of wandering. And besides, I need only one and not a package of two. The second one would undoubtedly get lost.

Thus, circumstances required that I examine my other well-worn shoes for a replacement. That meant cleaning out an entire closest, which was both time-consuming and somewhat uncleanly. It also resulted in throwing out six well-worn shirts, two pair of slacks that depressingly no longer fit, and two unmatched shoes. (The location of their mates left me perplexed.) The closet experience was a real bummer, if you know what I mean.

But no shoe string of the proper length was found. Now I’ve decided to check out the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store for a replacement of the one presently being held together, in the best Boy Scout tradition, by a square knot.

Oh yes, the car. Its future has been terminated by the insurance company.

The broken shoe lace was uninsured.


Coming up in the next few days (drum roll) is National Memory Screening Day. Unfortunately, I forget which day.

Frank Alberta and Bob Vizzolini well remember Bob Mears, a 1963 PHS grad who was the first local to be killed in Vietnam. A good athlete, an Eagle Scout, and a “great guy,” Bob was mentioned in last week’s Fast Talk. His photo is needed by a woman putting together a Vietnam memorial for Stanislaus County. Thanks to Frank and Bob V., she’ll get it from the Patterson High yearbook.

Boy Scout Troop 82 visited the Oakland Zoo the other day, and there I enjoyed viewing a few camels. I point this out to Bob “Spokie” Kimball, our bike-riding fanatic who occasionally ribs me about my 15-day, 140-mile camel ride five years ago across the desert in western China.

However, I prefer two-humpers, and the zoo displayed only camels with one hump. Two-humpers are far more comfortable, and I suggest that Spokie consider adding a wheel, making his machine a tricycle.

Bob, we are at the age when comfort matters.

Aren’t our street trees gorgeous as fall finally arrives? Nature at its magnificence.


I was planning to help Virginia Usadel celebrate her 90th birthday this coming year when she told me the other day that she already had it – on June 30, 2013, to be exact.

So we belatedly add Virginia to our growing list of 90-plussers and apologize for being tardy.


The Tigers gave the defending state champion Central Catholic Raiders all they could handle last Friday night and should be proud of their effort. The outcome was reminiscent of the 1975 clash, also played on Central’s field, in which the Raiders scored late to post a 17-10 victory and hand the Tigers their only loss of the season.

That 1975 season, Patterson had one of its strongest teams ever. The defensive-minded Tigers shut out six of their nine opponents at a time when only league champs went on to the playoffs. Central ended its season by losing to playoff opponent Mariposa.

But this year’s Tigers, who put together a school-record nine-game winning streak, have to rank right up there with the best over. No room for argument.

Knaut so gooda weekend for Nor-Cal football teams. Not only did our two Patterson High teams suffer their first losses of the season, but the Niners and Raiders, MJC and Cal all came out on the short end of the score.

I hesitate to continually give advice to Cal, but someone has to do it. Having two punts returned for TDs and another blocked and taken in for a USC score leads to the obvious suggestion that the Bears give up punting the ball.

Now to gridiron fans who have been holding their breaths: Linfield knocked off Puget Sound 79-3 in a game that was close until the opening kickoff.


Readers send me questions on a variety of topics, assuming I have all the answers. I don’t.

Here are a couple of samples:

“How come you never hear any father-in-law jokes?” Obviously sent by a woman.

“Is there ever a day when mattresses aren’t on sale?”

“If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?”

See what I mean.

Ron Swift is the editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at ronkay@gvni.com.

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