Nothing new about the hood
by Ron Swift for the Patterson Irrigator
Apr 18, 2012 | 383 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
view image
The current rage seems to be the “hoodie.”

The tragic shooting death of a Florida teenager who was wearing a sweatshirt with a hood over his head created a wave of protesters who use the symbol of the hood in support of justice.

But the hood isn’t new.

Back a few generations when I was a pup (some use the term “twerp”) growing up in Iowa, we wore hoods regularly for four to five months a year. Our moms bundled us up tightly before sending us out to play or off to school, and our teachers did the same at the other end. Those hoods were pulled tight. We looked like little penguins.

But no one called us “hoodies” during those Iowa winters, even though we were tough. We had to be — walking seven miles each way to school through waist-deep snow, uphill in both directions with snowflakes the size of baseballs. Seldom above 20 below.

Yeh, tough.

A theory of mine

I’ve long had a theory about why some people choose to ignore the law, while others wouldn’t think of it.

I believe it starts when we are young — quite young.

As kids, we witnessed others riding bicycles through stop signs, rarely wearing helmets and shoplifting small items from stores. They were seldom reprimanded by parents or lectured by law enforcement officials.

Even now, we spot kids and adults riding bikes and skateboards on the downtown sidewalk directly in front of our police department — with nary a worry in the world. No fear of apprehension. No recognition that they are breaking the law.

And then, with petty law-breaking behind them, it becomes easy to go on to more serious offenses — petty theft, breaking and entering, auto theft, etc.

I realize that law enforcement personnel have bigger fish to fry than stopping helmetless juvenile bike riders or stop sign violators on two wheels, but the law is the law and a violation is a violation. Enforcing some laws and not others sends a wrong signal that carries over into adulthood.

By the way, a very young boy with a red wagon was spotted the other day using the skate park. That’s right, a wagon. Not a good idea, even wearing a helmet — which he wasn’t.

Let’s all applaud

Patterson resident Raymond Graff, a member of our 90-plus Club, is a spry 91 and lives alone although he has family here. I met him the other night when he received a 60-year Masonic Lodge membership pin, having joined the organization way back when living in Florida.

Sixty years is a long time belonging to any organization.

Errors and omissions

First the error. Last week’s Fast Talk inadvertently listed Bette Perry as Betty. Sorry, Bette.

Now the omission. My spies let me down big time on this one.

It seems that back in late February, my buddy Bob “Spokie” Kimball took still another spill on his bicycle. He’s fallen off numerous times in the past, and we haven’t yet learned whether this time he fell off or simply crashed into something. He’s up and moving, but I noticed a slight limp just the other day.

But Spokie is still cranking along out there on the roadways. He’s now logged more than 56,000 miles on his two-wheeler in a little more than 20 years, and at only age 83 plans to log a few thousand more.

That is, if he doesn’t fall off again and hurt himself more seriously.

Far too much time

Whoever came up with these anagrams (words whose letters can be rearranged into other words) had far too much time on their hands:

Astronomer — moon starer.

Slot machines — cash lost in me.

George Bush — he bugs Gore.

The eyes — they see.

And maybe the best:

Eleven plus two — twelve plus one.

Back to school

The following selections are offered for your education for the week.

n A snail can sleep for three years.

n The cruise liner Queen Elizabeth II moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel it burns.

n Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

n Winston Churchill was born in the ladies’ room during a dance.

You’re very welcome.

For the sports fan

When you see someone other than Dave Klein raking the high school softball diamonds, as I did just the other day, it’s just another sign that “old” Patterson has moved on.

Not to imply that Dave is old, but the longtime coach is a very experienced raker.

And finally… Spring has finally arrived in its full glory, and let’s celebrate with our annual spring clean-up campaign.

First and foremost, let’s return all those shopping carts that were “borrowed” from local stores. Or at least push them down the block to the corner so that when the stores drive around town searching for their carts, they are easy to spot.

That done, have a good weekend.

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

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet

We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Readers may report such inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at