After the first trip, someone was ready to write a book; on a second trip, an article; on a third trip, a paragraph, and so on.
Likewise, as I come to the end of my second stint here in Patterson, it’s almost impossible to summarize my experience as editor of the Irrigator during the past three years. Yet I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity, even as I was blessed to have worked here as a managing and assistant editor from 2003 to 2008.
After spending nearly eight years writing about local matters here, I will spend the next eight weeks in Arabic school unable to speak, read, write or listen to English at all. Learning Arabic has been a personal goal since I lived in East Jerusalem 10 years ago, and I’m looking forward to the doors God may open in the weeks ahead.
At the same time, I will miss the people of Patterson, and I am grateful for a second chance to have served at the Irrigator at the invitation of former staff members.
Patterson is a unique community, and as we were all reminded during the Apricot Fiesta this past weekend, it’s also one that deserves celebration.
It’s hard to explain to outsiders how a festival can take on the weight of a national holiday — or how taking a bite out of the West Side’s famed stone fruit almost feels patriotic.
It’s difficult to describe the sense of community forged in times of tragedy, such as during the kidnapping-death of 4-year-old Juliani Cardenas in 2011, or the passion that is stoked when residents feel their way of life is being threatened, such as when the original 7.5-square-mile West Park plan was proposed for the Crows Landing Air Facility.
In both the good times and the bad, it’s been a blessing to share life with you, our readers. Thank you for allowing the Irrigator to be a part of your life and for contributing to ours.
The feedback we have received from the public has been invaluable in making us aware of breaking news and in giving us a breadth of perspectives on local and regional matters. With more than 3,200 “likes” from faithful followers, it’s been fun to see how the Irrigator’s Facebook site now feels like a community of its own.
Likewise, the phone calls, emails and drop-ins we receive on a daily basis have been helpful, as we seek to keep an open dialogue about matters of public interest.
In these days when articles about Kim Kardashian’s pants are considered “news,” it’s essential that issues of local importance are not swept to the wayside.
My hope is that we’ve been able to foster discourse about local topics that matter. I’d like to think we’ve succeeded at times in comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable and serving as a catalyst for the common good. When tempers have flared locally, we’ve sought to rise above the fray to provide readers with an objective perspective.
Though people may have varying opinions about how successful we’ve been in those endeavors, I’m thankful for the grace and kindness shown by many of our readers and for those who have been willing to engage in dialogue with us. I’m also incredibly grateful for the wonderful family here at the Irrigator that I’m leaving behind.
The people of this community have become special to me, and it will be exciting to see what lies ahead both for Patterson and for the Irrigator in the years to come.
In the meantime, thanks for the smiles and the memories — and here’s to keeping the conversation going. God bless you all.
• Jonathan Partridge is the departing editor of the Patterson Irrigator.