Bring out the rain dancers
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Jan 22, 2014 | 1071 views | 0 0 comments | 169 169 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Governor Jerry Brown has never been at the top of my “favorite public officials” list. In fact, I’ve never much cared for Jerr since the days of the Med-fly, which endangered our tree crops. He was in his first round as guv and his arm had to be twisted hard to get him to recognize the tragedy this would create. It was about the time he picked up the nickname Moonbeam, which some agriculturalists use to this day.

But I suddenly find myself in total agreement with Gov. Brown on a topic of major importance to this state. We are in a state of drought. He admits it.

Some readers may remember my long-ago spat with HM (Housemate). She objected to me leaving the water running while I brush my teeth. We solved the issue by building on a second bathroom for me to use.

But over time, I corrected this grave fault of wasting water while brushing. Thus I consider myself to be deeply into aqua conservation.

Jerry has it right – we are in a drought. Bring out the rain dancers.


Remember early in the year when I promised the readers an annual report on the amount of solicited mail I received in 2013? What, you don’t remember?

Regardless, here are the figures.

No fewer than 71 non-profit organizations of all types sent no fewer than 204 pieces of mail to our address in the past year. The figures amaze me too.

They came from environmental groups, health research, veteran, college, women’s, children’s, and human rights organizations — a seemingly endless number of non-profits. Many of them enclosed gifts which I didn’t want, including mailing labels, note pads, calendars, pens and cards with envelopes. And of course, a return envelope for my requested donation.

Topping the list was the American Cancer Society with 18 solicited mail pieces. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center added 12 more, and the National Breast Cancer Association still another, giving cancer the top score of 31.

Alzheimer’s Disease Research was next with 16, with the Alzheimer’s Association sending an additional three. Then came the U.S. Olympic Committee with no fewer than 15.

Wow! The U.S. Postal Service was strongly supported by these 71 organizations, which must use a sizable chunk of the donations they receive to send out additional mail pieces. Many arriving at our house ended up in the trash unopened, as there was no blood left in the proverbial turnip.


Many citizens of our fair land are in agreement that Congress is a conflicted, do-nothing institution. It is full of Chiefs who don’t lead and Indians who don’t follow.

Our elected leaders should follow the example set many years ago by the officers of the Patterson Lions Club. They hold a board meeting one evening a month, and I’m told that years ago they had a major disagreement over the meeting time.

That’s why their decision was a compromise – 7:15 – and that time remains so to this day.

But I’m sure Congress wouldn’t make it that simple.


Those 2014 Patterson event calendars are still available. Sales by the Boy Scouts remain slow but steady.

Actually, the calendars are inappropriately named. It’s really a list of nearly 200 Patterson events given by date. Certainly not just a calendar.

Volunteers assisting the Scouts with sales are Chris Bingham, Betty Eberwein and the American Heritage Girls under the leadership of Helen Hoxie. Their efforts are much appreciated.

And the other day, a local real estate agent bought several calendars to hand out to new homeowners moving into our community. Classy.

I’m sure some of the local organizations and schools whose activities are listed in the calendar haven’t yet had the opportunity to make the $7 purchase, so again, my number is 892-6355 (e-mail at end of this column). We’ll be happy to deliver to your door, and we’ll bring change with us. (No deliveries between midnight and 5 a.m., but you probably know that.)

No credit cards either, but checks to Troop 82 are as good as your honest face.


I was recently asked about my most memorable experience as a Boy Scout leader.

That’s a tough question to answer, as there have been many. But here’s one that won’t leave my mind.

We went camping overnight in a nearby state park. It was hot, so we didn’t put up tents. However, the mosquitos were vicious – about the size of sparrows. We suffered.

At about midnight I could take it no longer and headed for my station wagon. But it was already filled with the pesky insects, so I had to roll up the windows and get to work as an exterminator.

The battle went on for a couple of hours. I would turn on the interior light and whack away whenever I heard buzzing, and then turn it off. I finally got the count down to one pesky little guy and I was determined to end his buzzing days with a mighty whack. Finally, I was successful.

Early the next morning a young Scout rapped on my door and asked: “Mr. Swift, what broke your windshield?” I had smashed it from the inside out.


There have not been any sporting events in the past week that warrant a comment.

Besides the dismal West Coast action, both the Iowa State men’s and women’s basketball teams are in three-game losing streaks. Each now has a 14-3 record.


Here’s a note that arrived by e-mail.

“Dear Algebra: Please stop asking us to find your X. She’s never coming back and don’t ask Y.”

Ahhh …

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

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