Dear Readers:

This will come as no surprise to many of you, but I am no professional columnist.

In other words, I don’t get paid for this weekly scribbling.

Just like you, I submit it to the newspaper each week just as you would submit a Letter to the Editor. The Irrigator is under no obligation to print it. The opinions expressed here are certainly not those of the newspaper but are mine alone.

Admittedly, you might say I once got paid. That started in 1962 when I became co-owner of the Irrigator. And it continued for over 40 years when I retired and sold the business in 2003.

Thus the past 17 years have been what you might call a labor of love. Or a bad habit.

It all started with Fast Talk being published every other week. My then-partner, Ed Sternberg, filled the space in the off-weeks with a column of his own. But after he left the business in 1968, Fast Talk has run somewhat continuously – with a break here and there for vacations, mind-refueling, etc.

Thus it has smeared over 57 years – something like Heinz catsup.

Over those years, my opinions have altered, just as many of yours have changed course. I admit to mistakes in judgment, have undoubtedly become more liberal, and also more forgiving of mankind in general.

This current pandemic shut-down is most difficult for those in my position. While I attempt to somewhat entertain you weekly, my subject material is shut down as well. I no longer visit personally with friends, hob-nob with local officials, chat with business owners, and catch the gist of what is happening in our community. I’m simply out-of-touch.

Instead, I’m just like many of you – watching the daily horror on the telly, scanning the newspapers for bits of life’s pleasantries, waiting for the daily mail, and looking forward to nap-time or the next doctor’s appointment when I get to leave the house.

So, you ask, is Fast Talk nearing its end?

Well, of course, everything has an ending. The column is on a path, and it is narrowing. When the end is reached, we’ll simply say, “goodbye.”


Our Persons of Maturity surely remember decades back when a popular boxed candy contained delicious chocolate-covered cherries that floated around in an equally-delicious sauce.

Whatever happened to that treat, which was extremely popular around the holidays?


OK, so there’s not much in the way of sports to either rave or complain about, so readers will have to wait. Blame it on whomever you point to about the virus.


It may be rushing the season, but I received my first 2021 calendar in the mail just a week ago. It was from the Nature Conservancy.

Unfortunately, I don’t yet have anything to enter on the new calendar. I still have plenty of projects that keep me busy in 2020.

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

PI editor/publisher emeritus

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