Housemate’s week of solitude comes to a close
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Jul 17, 2014 | 810 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When our Congress can’t stop quibbling (that’s the mild term) long enough to appoint all of our ambassadors to other countries, then it’s time to admit our nation’s ills have hit an all-time low.

In round figures, the United States has foreign delegations representing us in some 160 nations. But about 40 of those have no ambassador because just enough members of Congress are blocking the appointments being made by President Obama.

The reason, we are told, is that Obama is making political appointments. In other words, he’s paying back those who supported him for president, including the big buck fundraisers.

So what! All presidents have followed this practice. And besides, a few of his appointees are from the diplomatic corps and thus are not being returned a political favor.

How we must look around the world, where many expect the USA to be a leader. When we can’t even appoint an official to represent our interest on foreign soil, well … (censored; community newspaper, ya know).

Boy Scouts from both Patterson troops enjoyed last week at summer camp above the Beardsley Reservoir in the Sierra off Highway 108. I’m told it was quiet around town all week, which is understandable.

For me, it was my 25th week in the past 34 years sleeping in a tent at camp.

So what was I doing those other nine years? Home, of course. But HM (Housemate) forced me to return. Apparently she enjoys an occasional week of solitude.

Scout Calvin Langstaff didn’t make it to camp this year. He spent nine days in the hospital recovering from a serious infection and was released the day before we departed Patterson. Calvin may be acquainted with more Pattersonites than I am, and he’s lived here only 10 years. He knows hundreds of people of all ages who may appreciate this tale.

A couple of weeks ago our troop went on a one-night campout, and, on a lark, I bet Calvin he couldn’t stand at attention for an hour at full salute. Now Calvin possesses a personality streak that is a cross of both determination and stubbornness. I timed him and repeatedly asked this question: “How much longer?”

The bet was a steak sandwich. You may spot Calvin and I dining out before the week is over.

Speaking of Boy Scouts, there is one in Minnesota who just finished sleeping outside for a full year. And it gets very cold in Minnesota. The 17-year-old even slept in the open when accompanying his family on vacation.

The Patterson woman who wrote a letter last week noting the lack of Greyhound bus service here has a good point. But don’t look for such service anytime soon.

This community long had both bus and passenger train service until the late 1960s. That’s when the companies got approval from the California PUC to discontinue, citing a lack of business. It also was about the time the I-5 freeway opened, and that’s where those buses now speed by all the small communities.

Joaquin “Jack” Tabar was a longtime West Side resident and was on our 90-plus list when he recently died. And Willis “Bill” Boyarsky, longtime Patterson-area educator, was not on our list but should have been. He was 95, and a memorial service will be held Aug. 9 in Turlock.

A good friend of local seniors and a strong advocate for their causes, retired Navy chief Ken Bennett also will be missed, especially by those who enjoyed his Bingo calling on Friday mornings at the Hammon Senior Center.

One of our readers who professes to be a dietary expert sent me this info: Red meat is not bad for you. Fuzzy green meat is bad for you.

So Calvin and I will enjoy our steak sandwiches.

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

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