Fast Talk: Brush with death doesn't stop parade announcer
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Jun 07, 2012 | 1239 views | 1 1 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Those downtown on Saturday morning watching the 42nd annual Apricot Fiesta parade heard the familiar — and golden — voice of Jerry Musson, back for another year as parade announcer.

It’s a task Jerry has ably handled numerous times in the past, and yet this year might well have been special.

Let me digress.

Jerry was one of half a dozen Pattersonites who got their heads together back in the spring of 1971 to organize a business promotion. Their efforts founded the Apricot Fiesta, and Jerry volunteered to become the first parade chairman.

The next year, he became the Fiesta’s first general chairman (no one held that position in the founding year), and he’s maintained a long association with the celebration ever since.

For Patterson’s newer residents, let me note that Jerry was a longtime local businessman, married and raised a family in Patterson, worked in advertising sales for this newspaper, served as a truant officer for the school district and most recently was working a part-time shift at Lowe’s.

Then on March 18 came his birthday. After a dinner out with wife Connie, he returned home and went to bed, only to suffer a major heart attack in the wee hours. He claims he came face to face with the Grim Reaper not once but twice, but he was revived twice by paramedics on the trip to the hospital.

Then came surgery, with two stents inserted to correct plugged arteries. After regaining strength, he underwent a six-way bypass surgery a few days later. That’s five fingers and a toe.

And there he was Saturday, 10 weeks later, a number of pounds lighter and looking great, calling the parade like a pro.

You can’t keep a good man down.

.Lots of traffic

Patterson’s museum in the Center Building drew steady traffic throughout the fiesta.

The official count at both entrances was 515 for the weekend. Visitors were recorded from as far away as Texas, Hawaii, New Mexico and Toronto in Ontario, Canada.

He’s a walker

I received a report the other day of a man walking from Florida to California. He was being interviewed on TV, having reached Monroe, La.

Now here’s where I need help. My informant says the man gave his hometown as Patterson, Calif.

Can anyone help me with this one?

Also, can anyone tell me what the alligator special tasted like on fiesta weekend? I was full by the time I got to that booth.

Final exam

After several months of rigorous study in which readers of this column were afforded an opportunity to expand their previous level of education, it is now time for the final exam.

The following test, short but pointed at those who frequently make errors in local nomenclature, is to be self-graded. If you miss any of the three questions, please plan on repeating the course, which will resume in the fall. Here goes:

Which is correct, 1 or 2?

n 1) Crows Landing or 2) Crow’s Landing?

n 1) El Circulo or 2) El Circulo Avenue?

n 1) Lions Club or 2) Lion’s Club?

Answers are at the end of this column.

Sign of the week

Yes, another sign, this one in a taxidermist’s window:

“We really know our stuff.”

For the sports fan

Stay out of the scrum.

That’s good advice for athletes accustomed to the ritual of dog-piling after winning a championship or a thrilling game, or even scoring a meaningful point.

Do athletes ever get hurt in that massive pile of bodies? You bet they do. It happens in the pros, and it happened to a star on Patterson’s girls championship soccer team this spring.

Just hold it to high-fives.

And finally …

Remember that time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a ripe tomato.

Correct answers: all No. 1. Give yourself a pat on the back if you scored 100 percent. Otherwise, you might consider summer school.

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

Comments-icon Post a Comment
June 09, 2012
Great Article Ron! I tried the Deep Fried Alligator...& it was Delicious. Although I was disappointed with the serving size versus the price. Have a Great Day ☺

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