Swift

To paraphrase entertainer Kenny Rogers:

You have to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

I was never a good card player. But after 57 years of writing this column, I have come to the realization that its time to “fold ‘em.” Consider this to be the final FT.

After 57 years, it’s a hard habit to break. Sometimes the words were there, with the intention being to make you chuckle or even wince. But when the words weren’t there, it was torture for the both of us.

The subject material certainly varied – from local to national politics; to the Patterson Boy Scouts going camping, sure to bring needed rain for our farmers; to family tragedies and championship sports teams; to the cycling exploits of Bob “Spokie” Kimball.

In our first 25 years of married life, HM (Housemate) who some of you know as Kay, and I seldom ventured out of the state. But with the family grown and gone, we enjoyed some traveling adventures that took us out of the country no fewer than 14 times.

That forced you to learn about Tibet, the Soviet Union, Antarctica, and tent camping three times in the deserts of western China. You learned of my adventures of spending two weeks on a camel. You were very brave and polite after absorbing the realities of these adventures.

But the time has come to say goodbye, adios and whatever. It’s been a long journey and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.

AND FINALLY …

You thought you were rid of me, didn’t you!

I would be remiss not to mention the Knights of the Square Table (KOST) who regularly filled space in this column for almost 30 years.

These coffee-slurping guys met weekdays -- first at Thee Bakery, then at the Del Puerto Hotel before its disastrous fire in 1996, and finally at Mil’s. They used the roll of dice cups to determine the daily payee, and spent over $46,000 on coffee, with exact records kept on who paid what.

If you want to examine the dice cups, they are in the possession of the Patterson Township Historical Society. I remember them well, for it was I who dashed into the front of the burning hotel and hauled them to safety.

And the KOSTers set a record that may never be broken. Over those three decades, they never told a true story at the table.

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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