Camping out keeps the clouds rolling in
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Jun 27, 2013 | 849 views | 0 0 comments | 229 229 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
Don’t you sometimes feel you’ve been left out? I do.

One of those times was last Friday, which was “Take Your Dog to Work Day.”

I felt down-in-the-dumps; excluded. For one thing, I was out of town that day. Secondly, I don’t have a job and thus, don’t go to work.

And to top it off, I don’t have a dog. Three strikes and I was out.

But all was not lost. I spent last week at Boy Scout summer camp in the Sierra. With the exception of one early morning, when the temperature dropped to 35 degrees, the weather was beautiful.

And I felt exhilarated all week, one reason being I wasn’t the oldest human in camp. No-sir-ee. One guy was a year older than I am, but I aim on catching him before he turns 80.

While our small troop had only six boys away at camp, Patterson Troop 81 will be taking over a dozen next week to a camp up near Willits. So … quiet times ahead.

Upon returning last weekend, storm clouds rolled in. Late Sunday I suggested to HM (Housemate) that she water the plants in the front yard before it started raining. Her reply was a blank look.

Fortunately, no one from Patterson was murdered when we were away having fun. Just a kidnapping case to keep our officers in blue on their toes. And upon returning home, I learned that Patterson’s chief of police, Tori Hughes, has become a candidate for the office of county sheriff. That rumor had persisted for some time, and of course I missed the announcement.


With time on my hands at camp, I got to thinking of times past. You also may remember:

• Learning to drive with a stick shift.

• When an auto’s back windows only rolled half-way down.

• When we learned Palmer penmanship.

• When we put mud on bee stings.

• When watermelons tasted better when pilfered.

• Croquet was a good summer game.

• When CPR was called artificial respiration.

• When we pushed reel-type lawnmowers.

• Putting limburger cheese on car manifolds.

• When the cuffs of blue jeans were turned up at least a couple of rolls.

• Shining shoes.

• Using a ruler in class, as well as a fountain pen and ink well.

• When we rode bikes with no hands, and even backwards.

• We watched Esther Williams towel off in movies.

• Learning about anatomy from National Geographic magazines.

• When Studebaker came out with its two-way design.

• Reading Burma Shave signs.

• Every kid owned a small pencil sharpener.

• When gym class began with numerous calisthenics.

• When razor blades were resharpened.

• When youngsters repaired flat tires on their bikes and even replaced broken spokes.

• Using a spinner (steering knob) when driving.

If you can’t remember the above, those of us who can consider you to be a “young sprout.”


Oh, there were so many. I received over 300 e-mails in my week away, but choose to pass along only these fabulous quotes.

“A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.” -- Emo Philips

“We are here on earth to do good unto others. What the others are here for, I have no idea.” – W.H. Auden

“If life were fair, Elvis would still be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.” – Johnny Carson


Relief pitching, that’s all the Giants and A’s need.

Well OK, the Giants could use some hitting as well.


Last week’s mention of the reduced width of toilet tissue rolls brought in another revolution.

Not only are the rolls narrower, but also are smaller around.

Would you call that a rip-off?

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

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