It’s hard to remember an early spring when local orchards have produced blossoms as colorful as this one.

They are bringing oohs and ahhs from many local residents. The only complainers are those with allergies – and who can blame them.

And just think … they have an extra day of suffering this February.


Just about every year, Pattersonites need a reminder on the spelling of one of our roadways – El Circulo.

It is neither a street nor an avenue. It is simply El Circulo but often gets an Avenue added in advertisements, on business cards and stationery, and even on calendars.

Just remember that El Circulo alone means street or avenue. No need for a repeat.


A downtown change is underway this week with the demolition of two physicians’ buildings that housed the medical offices of the late Dr. John Lanfranki and Dr. Frank Reimer.

The side-by-side buildings are just across Salado Avenue from the post office. They’ve been vacant for years except for a short spell.

The site will house a new bank, giving Patterson just about as many banks as pizza parlors.

And downtown on the corner of South Third and El Circulo, remodeling work is well underway for a new Patterson retail business.

This is the empty structure that last housed Napa Auto Parts, and before that a longtime General Motors dealership that ended when the late Chuck Thompson put up a new building on Highway 33 nearly 50 years ago.


Over the past 57 years, it has been the intention of this column to provide educational information for our readers.

That purpose hasn’t changed, so here’s the latest:

A group of jellyfish is called a smack.

A group of whales is called a gam.

Three or more goats is called a trip. Also a herd or a tribe.

And a group of ferrets is called a business. Now you know.


It was 100 years ago at this time of year when the Patterson area was in the midst of a serious influenza epidemic.

Over 150 cases of the flu were being treated by local Dr. A.M. Field, the count going up from four to eight cases a day. Some entire families were ill, and school classes were being repeatedly cancelled. No other gatherings including church services and activities were allowed. Fortunately, no local deaths had been reported as of late February.


Our Persons of Maturity surely remember our school days many years ago.

The boys all wore blue jeans with the cuffs rolled up. That allowed for leg growth. When the knees of the jeans wore out, moms sewed on patches.

At the same time, the girls all wore white anklets, mostly with dresses.


Some items on the sports pages lean toward the unbelievable.

Take, for instance, the revelation that former Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner has been participating in rodeo events under an assumed name. He, who signed an $85 million contract to pitch for Arizona, is competing in a sport guaranteed to earn one lumps and bruises.

Bumgarner reported earned over $26,000 in a ream-roping event in December.


Longtime readers of this column know of my disdain for the cell phone. Here’s still another reason.

Just the other day son Mike and his wife Ericka were driving up from San Luis Obispo for a short visit. When about 30 miles to the south of us, they called ahead to Round Table and ordered a pizza.

But when they arrived, no pizza. Their order had been transferred to Round Table in Los Banos.

That’s Reason No. 2,476 I won’t ever have a cell phone. Guaranteed.

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

PI editor/publisher emeritus

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