Ron Swift

First it was bewildering.

Then it became an annoying subject. Hard to believe.

Finally it started to get frightening.

And now it hurts. Badly.

The subject, of course, is the coronavirus. Now it has struck at home – right here in Patterson – and has claimed its first life here.

I’ve known the victim and her longtime Patterson family for over 40 years. I even camped with them when she was a young girl. And in recent years she and her young family have lived across the street from us.

She was employed at a local business, where many knew her. Then she was hospitalized where she died last Sunday evening. Her husband and teenage son have been diagnosed with the virus and are recovering at home.

The news hurt – and will do so for some time. She had many friends and her sudden departure from their lives will leave a major gap.


Now that the Stanislaus County Fair has joined the Patterson Apricot Fiesta in canceling its summer celebration, we can add one more to the list.

That would be the annual Memorial Day gathering at the Patterson District Cemetery. Sponsored for years by American Legion Post #168, the gathering on Memorial Day has for several decades been organized by the local Boy Scout organization, with assistance from other local youth groups and the Legion. But with large gatherings being frowned upon, you can scratch Memorial Day off your list. Not even are burial gatherings of any size being currently allowed at the cemetery.

Us stay-at-homes have been entertained early the past two Saturday evenings by some thoughtful folks First it was a slow drive-up of emergency vehicles with sirens sounding, and this last Saturday it was a sizable parade of unusual motor vehicles that made two passes in our block. Thanks to those who organized their two entertainments.

And then in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle came a 64-page section (with very little advertising). It was full of puzzles for all ages, coloring pages, mazes, quizzes, crosswords, cryptoquips and sudokus, with the solutions in the back.


Our Persons of Maturity, sometimes called Senior Citizens, will certainly remember this.

Almost every family had a small hand-held pencil sharpener around the house. I needed one just the other day and can’t find mine.


Will the current pandemic set the sports world results back a decade or two? We’ll find out.


Someone sent me this great truth about growing old:

Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.

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

PI editor/publisher emeritus

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