World makes no sense sometimes
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Jul 11, 2012 | 777 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fast Talk

Ron Swift

Some occurrences just don’t make any sense to me. And never will.

This world of ours has plenty of death and destruction, famine and natural disaster tragedy, the mindless carnage in the Middle East, and countless murders here at home.

So is there any conceivable reason why Pamplona, Spain, stages the running of the bulls every day for a full week?

If you are not familiar with the event, let be summarize. Runners on foot line up in Pamplona’s very narrow streets, each wearing a white shirt and a red neckerchief. Six bulls are then released each day to chase the runners through the streets to the city’s bull ring.

As you can imagine, injuries are numerous. The event has killed 15 people since its inception in 1924. Last Saturday, on the first day of the running, the most seriously injured was a 73-year-old man who was gored. What on earth did he think he was doing?

Anyone defending the event is invited to contact me, for I must be missing something here.

Unintentionally omitted

Last week’s Patterson Irrigator ran a short obituary of Claude Delphia, who died July 2. I was asked to prepare information for the short obit, but because of early deadlines created by the mid-week holiday, the newspaper needed the information from me in less than an hour.

Having known Claude as a friend, a talented employee on the Irrigator staff and a co-volunteer on numerous community projects, I willingly accepted the sorrowful task of writing a short story of his life, realizing that I would undoubtedly leave out something near and dear to him.

Sure enough, I did just that.

Claude was among no more than a dozen Pattersonites who founded the community’s Apricot Fiesta in 1971. He came up with numerous ideas for Fiesta activities, some of which are held annually to this day.

At the time, he was the photographer and printing designer on the Irrigator staff, and it was Claude who drew the “Apricot Capital of the World” logo that so widely advertises Patterson to this day. He also designed the logos for the community’s Bicentennial, Diamond Jubilee and Centennial celebrations and was deeply involved in each as a volunteer.

It is primarily through his efforts that the Patterson Township Historical Society has more than 5,000 local photographs in its massive collection. In addition, he was a community columnist for both the Modesto Bee and this newspaper for a number of years and for more than 40 years provided the detailed rainfall statistics for the Irrigator, using measurements kept by the Yancey Lumber Co.

A more detailed obituary will be published later, when a memorial service is planned.

A flag is a flag

A friend called the other day with a question about flag etiquette.

Now I don’t profess to be an expert on the rules of honoring the flag of our country, despite having attending hundreds of Old Glory ceremonies over the years, including flag “retirement” ceremonies. But I am familiar with the basic rules — what is appropriate and what is not. And some of these rules are actually written into law.

One — and my friend strongly agreed with me on this one — is that our flag should not be used in any way as an article of clothing. And yet we see it daily: T-shirts, baseball caps, jackets and even (gulp!) trousers.

Not appropriate, as well as illegal. Red, white and blue stripes are OK, but throw in white stars on a field of blue and it’s unacceptable.

Both wearers and manufacturers should be cited, as well as ashamed of themselves.

Cut the cake

Another who I consider a good friend is the Apricot Lady, Joyce Barfuss. The longtime Patterson resident now resides in Castro Valley and will be added to our 90-plus list next Monday, July 16, when she fills out her ninth decade of life.

Joyce still retains an avid interest in just about anything happening in Patterson and ups our list count to 65.

For the sports fan

Isn’t it amazing what computers have done for Major League Baseball. The sportscasters can give us an unlimited number of stats, including one last week that was Derek Jeter’s lifetime batting average on the Fourth of July.

I’ve always enjoyed the diamond sport since playing the game in high school, but I must admit to one glaring shortcoming: I was deficient at the plate in hitting both the fastball and the curve and was a sucker for the rare knuckleball.

By the way, have you noticed that all bike riders in the Tour de France wear helmets, even when not legally required? Hint, hint….

And during the tour, we probably won’t see much of Bob “Spokie” Kimball. The local rider is glued to the tube.

And finally….

As a youth, George Washington reportedly chopped down his father’s cherry tree, an offense which he then admitted. So why wasn’t he punished?

Because George still had the axe in his hands. A true fact.

Enjoy July, because August is usually hotter.

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

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