Back-to-school rekindles old memories
by Ron Swift
Aug 15, 2013 | 735 views | 0 0 comments | 216 216 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OK, so you got the little troopers off to school Monday morning. (If you took a kindergartener to his/her first day, you may have shed a tear or two. That’s perfectly OK.)

Then after your house emptied, you sat down and enjoyed an hour of solitude for the first time since late May. Maybe also a second hour.

But by the third hour, didn’t you miss ’em just a little? Now admit it!

Around the newspaper office, where I spent my time going round and round for 40 years, back-to-school week was always exciting. The pace of the community quickened. Not only did school resume, but with vacations over and the weather starting to cool a bit, it seemed that everyone had more zip in their step and an additional zest for life.

Certainly commercial business picked up around Patterson when classes resumed in the fall. Our service clubs got on with their community projects, and church attendance picked up. Footballs filled the air and life switched into high gear – headed at rapid pace for the holidays.

Of course these thoughts are recalling the week after Labor Day – the original back-to-school time here and across the country. Heck, as you read this, Labor Day is still a ways down the road.

When back-to-school fell just after Labor Day, the Irrigator always moved into Panic Mode for the first time since Apricot Fiesta week. The reason was that the week started with the Monday holiday. And when we came in Tuesday morning, we were immediately a day behind schedule with only two days to catch up before press deadline. But we always made it, thanks to the likes of staffer Maddy Houk who relishes telling people she started on the original Irrigator staff in 1911.

She didn’t, believe me. And I wasn’t on that original staff either, although I’ve been accused of it from time to time. But we have memories that take us back a ways.


I’ve been pleased at the number of readers who have inquired about the new canine addition to our household – Henry.

Henry likes to move. HM (Housemate) takes him for morning and evening walks, and I’m about to pull duty in the afternoon. To those who have insomnia, the 2 a.m. shift is open. Our number is in the book, but don’t call at 2 a.m.

By the way, Henry hasn’t yet watched channel 354, the new dog channel. Too busy walking.


The above blurb about our new dog Henry was written first thing last Saturday morning. But before noon, the situation turned darker.

You see, our two indoor cats, Plum and Lucy, have had the house to themselves for quite some time. They regretted Henry’s intrusion into their lives – and didn’t hesitate showing it.

A mid-week scuffle – no fault of Henry’s – was broken up before resulting in bloodshed. Then late-morning Saturday, our 16-pound Plum took him on again in the family room. He zigged and zagged, dodged and yelped, and avoided the claws and jaws of the attaching feline, primarily because of the intervention of HM.

However, HM didn’t fare as well. Her injuries resulted in treatment for infection at Emmanuel Hospital in Turlock. She’s recovering but still hospitalized at the Tuesday deadline for this column.

And then it turned even sadder. After just a week’s stay with us, it was decided that Henry had to return to the local shelter, Westside Animals for Adoption. He’s a lively, loving, extremely handsome shorthair who, until last Saturday at least, likes cats.

We miss him, and he was only with us a week.


Someone said this, I know not who.

“I love this country. It’s the government I’m afraid of.”


Bike rider extraordinaire Don Huston, who recently turned 70, seems to be well on the way to a full recovery after being sidelined for some time with a very, very serious illness.

Word has been received that he completed a 100km ride last weekend. Shall we name him Spokie II?


Readers may recall my recent monolog about my several lonely one-of-a-pair socks. Their mates were nowhere to be found.

Obviously, the problem is universal. Reader Phyllis Breves – bless her – forwarded me a clipped advertisement that solves the problem.

It’s for a package of 16 clips to be used to hold the pair together before they go into the laundry. The 16, priced at only $14.99, are divided into four colors, each to be used by different members of the family. Thus, no sorting either.

A truly great idea! Only the manufacturer has not met our washer and dryer. Until I see the clips actually work, I’m not counting my chickens.
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