Time ripe for another spring clean
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
May 23, 2013 | 1190 views | 2 2 comments | 199 199 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
Back in the late 1960s, a worthwhile project was initiated in Patterson — one that over the years became so successful it had to be canceled.

That was our spring cleanup drive. Every spring on an announced schedule, local residents would haul their unwanted items to the curb for free pickup, and they would be hauled away to the landfill.

Couches, tables, tree prunings, clutter from the garage, refrigerators and other large appliances, trash from the alleys — we got rid of it in one energetic effort.

John V. Azevedo well remembers the effort. Edna Stewart was the president of the newly formed city Beautification Committee, of which John was an original member. He served as coordinator of the cleanup project, secured the approval of the City Council and went to the high school to seek volunteers. There was no shortage of help, with PHS students Kathy Barnes and Paul Draper coordinating the young people in a daylong effort that cleaned our alleys and hauled away many truckloads of unwanted debris.

The project grew over the years, just as Patterson grew in the number of households. By the time it ended, the city crew was kept busy for three full weeks loading the trucks. That labor expense, plus the charge at the county landfill, doomed the drive.

Now local residents have another option — calling Bertolotti Disposal and arranging for a free pickup. But without the former volunteerism and neighbors reminding neighbors that the cleanup drive was coming up, it just isn’t the same.

However, it’s that time again. With the Apricot Fiesta only a week away, we have guests coming. The least we can do is return those shopping carts to the appropriate stores, ridding neighborhoods of that ghetto appearance.

Life has changed

Back eons ago when I was a pup, we could go to the movies in my small town for a dime — until we turned 13, then it jumped to 40 cents. And we couldn’t cheat on our age since the couple who owned the theater knew what grade each of us was in school.

The theater didn’t have a snack bar, but an elderly couple ran a popcorn stand down the street in decent weather. A bag cost us a nickel.

Now, we were allowed to take popcorn into the show, but no drinks. Still, the popcorn would make us thirsty, so we first made a stop at the local soda fountain, and each of us bought a bottle of Pepsi, hiding it down our pants.

One time, going down the aisle, a buddy of mine had the bottle slip down and out of his pants, then roll all the way to the front of the theater. That gave away our trickery, and from that day forward, we were frisked every time we went to the movies. Just like common criminals.

“Illegal search and seizure,” we claimed at the time. To no avail. There was no such thing as illegal search in those days.

How life has changed.

It’s finals week

Yes, it’s time for final exams for those readers sucking up the weekly educational offering in this column. This is a self-graded test with the answers given below.

• How much dirt is in a hole that measures two feet by three feet by four feet?

• Which is correct to say: “The yolk of an egg are white” or “The yolk of an egg is white?”

• If a farmer has five haystacks in one field and four in another, how many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in a third field?

• Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was the tallest mountain in the world?

This brings us to our summer vacation break. Enjoy.

Making the news

A reporter was in town the other day working on a story for the Wall Street Journal.

Greg Bensinger, who works out of the newspaper’s San Francisco office, was here gathering information about our newest industry — Amazon.com. He stopped by the museum for a look around and sat down for a chat before moving on to an appointment with city officials.

Our 1 million-square foot Amazon fulfillment center, scheduled to open this summer, has already made local and area headlines and may soon hit the national news.

Ads for seniors

My emailing friends continue to keep me entertained. Here are some ads for seniors seeking mates that supposedly appeared in a Florida newspaper.

• SERENITY NOW — I am into solitude, long walks, the ocean, yoga and meditation. If you are the silent type, let’s get together, take out our hearing aids, and enjoy quiet times.

• MEMORIES — I can usually remember Monday through Thursday. If you can remember Friday, Saturday and Sunday, let’s put our two heads together.

• MINT CONDITION — Male, 1932 model. High mileage, good condition, some hair, many new parts including hip, knee, cornea, valves. Isn’t in running condition but walks well.

Test answers

• There is no dirt in a hole. (Duh.)

• Neither. The yolk of an egg is yellow. (Need to brush up?)

• If the farmer combines haystacks, he will have just one. (You’re not very good at this, are you.)

• Before Mount Everest was discovered, it was still the highest mountain. (Hope you knew that.)

If you answered all four correctly, let me know and your diploma will be in the mail. But if you feel the need to repeat this course, see you in the fall.

For the sports fan

Fans of the Golden State Warriors have no reason to be disappointed. Getting knocked out of the NBA playoffs in the second round, even giving the Spurs just about all they could handle, is no disgrace.

After all, the Warriors more than doubled their regular-season wins of a year ago, had the youngest team in the NBA and were thrilling to watch. Every time Stephen Curry launched a 3-pointer or drove the lane, Warrior fans readied to explode in exaltation.

Join with 49er fans in exclaiming, “Bring on next year.”

And finally…

A reader wrote that she considers this column to be humorous.

Hey, this is meant to be serious stuff. At least it is in the middle of the night when I have to meet a deadline with this chit-chat.

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

Comments-icon Post a Comment
May 23, 2013
Here's a story from the New York Times from a while back on the Amazon distribution center in Patterson:

May 23, 2013
Here's a better NY Times link:


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